SACRAMENTO–SB 3 was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown today. The bill called for the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Fair Political Practices Commission, to look into the technological requirement and cost for a modern online database for campaign finance & lobbying disclosures.
In 2011, the Cal-Access system, which the LA Times recently referred to as “woefully outdated and inadequate,” went off line for a full month due to technical difficulties, removing the public's ability to track campaign spending and lobbyist activity. It was the only bill that addresses the campaign finance aspect of the Political Reform Act passed by the legislature this year.
However, in his veto message Brown conceded that the Cal-Access system requires updating and directed the Government Operations Agency to consult with the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Secretary of State and make recommendations on the best way to improve campaign disclosure.
“While I’m disappointed SB 3 hasn’t become law, I’m glad to share common ground with the Governor on the need to improve Cal-Access,” said bill author Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). “I look forward to working with the FPPC and the Secretary of State in finding the best means of making the system more effective. The end goal is for California to have an easily accessible and searchable system that ensures accountability in our elections.”
“Although we disagree with Governor Brown on the need for mandatory treasurer training based on the needs we have witnessed across the state, we nonetheless see Senate Bill 3 as a victory for campaign disclosure,” said Philip Ung, Policy Advocate for California Common Cause. “The Governor’s admission that Cal-Access is ‘outdated and cumbersome’ and the executive actions he has taken are a step forward to improving transparency in our elections. This action would not have been taken without the pressure from the Legislature, voters, and organizations like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of California.”
“Events of the last few years have shown how crucial campaign disclosure is. People can’t make informed choices at the ballot box unless they can follow the money and recognize the political forces at work,” said Jennifer A. Waggoner, president of the League of Women Voters of California. “Although the Governor’s veto of SB 3 is a disappointment, we’ll work with his administration to achieve well-trained campaign treasurers and more transparency overall. This problem isn’t going away, and neither will we.”
SB 3 also would have required campaign treasurers to take online training in campaign finance law to make sure elections are conducted fairly and legally.
Contact: Dan Lieberman
(916) 651-4008, (650) 773-9794
SB 3 called for modernized Cal-Access, improved transparency for campaigns