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LAO Prop 32 Analysis

LAO Prop 32 Analysis

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Published by jon_ortiz

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Published by: jon_ortiz on Jul 24, 2012
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Legislative Analyst’s Office
 7/18/2012 9 AMFINALPage 1 of 5
Proposition 32
Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction.Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.
 Political Reform Act.
California’s Political Reform Act of 1974, an initiative adopted by the
voters, established
the state’s campaign finance
and disclosure laws. The act applies to state andlocal candidates, ballot measures, and officials, but does not apply to federal candidates or
officials. The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)
(1) enforces the requirementsof the act, including investigating alleged violations, and (2) provides administrative guidance tothe public by issuing advice and opinions regardin
g FPPC’s interpretation of the act.
 Local Campaign Finance Laws.
In addition to the requirements established by the act, somelocal governments have campaign finance and disclosure requirements for local candidates,ballot measures, and officials. These ordinances are established and enforced by the localgovernment.
 Political Spending.
Many individuals, groups, and businesses spend money to support oroppose state and local candidates or ballot measures. This political spending can take differentforms, including contributing money to candidates or committees, donating services tocampaigns, and producing ads to communicate opinions. Under state campaign finance laws,there are three types of political spending:
 Political Contributions.
The term political
“contribution” generally includes g
ivingmoney, goods, or services (1) directly to a candidate, (2) at the request of a candidate,or (3) to a committee that uses these resources to support or oppose a candidate orballot measure. Current law limits the amount of political contributions that
Legislative Analyst’s Office
 7/18/2012 9 AMFINALPage 2 of 5individuals, groups, and businesses may give to a state candidate (or to committeesthat give money to a state candidate). In 2012, for example, an individual, group, orbusiness could contribute up to $26,000 to a candidate for Governor and up to $3,900to a candidate for a legislative office. In addition, current law requires politicalcontributions to be disclosed to state or local election officials.
 Independent Expenditures.
Money spent to communicate support or opposition of acandidate or ballot measure generally is considered an independent expenditure if thefunds are spent in a way that is not coordinated with (1) a candidate or (2) acommittee established to support or oppose a candidate or a ballot measure. Forexample, developing a television commercial urging
voters to “vote
” a
candidateis an independent expenditure if the commercial is made without coordination withthe candidate
s campaign. Current law does not limit the amount of moneyindividuals, groups, and businesses may spend on independent expenditures. Theseexpenditures, however, must be disclosed to election officials.
Other Political Spending.
Some political spending is not considered a politicalcontribution or an independent expenditure.
This broad category includes “member communications”— 
spending by an organization to communicate politicalendorsements to its members, employees, or shareholders. This spending is notlimited by state law and need not be disclosed to election officials.
  Payroll Deductions.
Under limited circumstances, employers may withhold money from an
employee’s paycheck.
The withheld funds
are called “payroll deductions.”
Some common
Legislative Analyst’s Office
 7/18/2012 9 AMFINALPage 3 of 5payroll deductions include deductions for Social Security, income taxes, medical plans, andvoluntary charitable contributions.
Union Dues and Fees.
Approximately 2.5 million workers in California are represented by alabor union. Unions represent employees in the collective bargaining process, by which theynegotiate terms and conditions of employment with employers. Generally, unions pay for theiractivities with money raised from (1) dues charged to union members and (2) fair share fees paidby non-union members who the union represents in the collective bargaining process. In many
cases, employers automatically deduct these dues and fees from their employees’ paychecks and
transfer the money to the unions.
 Payroll Deductions Used to Finance Political Spending.
Many unions use some of the fundsthat they receive from payroll deductions to support activities not directly related to thecollective bargaining process. These expenditures may include political contributions andindependent expenditures
as well as spending to communicate political views to unionmembers. Non-union members may opt out from having their fair share fees used to pay for thispolitical spending and other spending not related to collective bargaining. Other than unions,relatively few organizations currently use payroll deductions to finance political spending inCalifornia.
The measure changes state campaign finance laws to restrict state and local campaignspending by:
Public and private sector labor unions.

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Butch Martin added this note
This prop should also stipulate that the union, corporation or other hi-powered entity must be a legal resident within the jurisdiction of local elections if they intend to give money to local political candidates. This would be required for all three sources or types of contributions stated in the above prop.
Richard Karpinski added this note
The key to understanding the impact of this proposition has been completely missed in this analysis. What sources of funding to support or oppose candidates and propositions ARE NOT covered? That is WHOSE DOLLARS ARE NOT restricted? THEY are the ones who benefit. THEY are likely both the creators and the beneficiaries of this proposition. Ask the League of Women Voters or some other non-partisons.
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