SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that tried to make paying signature-gatherers for state or local initiatives, referendums, or recall petitions a misdemeanor in California.
Assembly Bill 1947 would have made it illegal to pay people based on the number of signatures they collect. It would not have prohibited payments if the signature-gathering isn’t based on the number of names collected.
All those wanting to put state or local initiatives, referendums, or recall petitions on a ballot must collect a certain number of signatures within a set amount of time.
The bill said if a person or organization is found guilty of paying a person money or any other thing of value, he or she could be punished with a fine up to $25,000, a jail sentence of up to a year, or both.
On Monday Governor Newsom vetoed the bill and issued the following message:
“This bill makes it a misdemeanor to pay signature gatherers based on the number of signatures they collect on a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition, and requires that at least 10% of signatures on a state initiative petition be collected by unpaid circulators.
While I appreciate the intent of this legislation to incentivize grassroots support for the initiative process, I believe this measure could make the qualification of many initiatives cost-prohibitive, thereby having the opposite effect. I am a strong supporter of California’s system of direct democracy and am reluctant to sign any bill that erects barriers to citizen participation in the electoral process.”