Assemblymember Marc Levine Introduces Legislative Package to Strengthen and Modernize California’s Political Reform Act

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblymember Marc Levine (D – San Rafael) today introduced a legislative package designed to strengthen and modernize California’s landmark Political Reform Act (Act). AB 902 (Levine) will codify into state law ten Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) regulations that have been adopted over the past several years, including limits and prohibitions of gifts to public officials, candidate filing and lobbyist registration requirements. AB 903 (Levine) would degender the Political Reform Act relating to candidates by replacing use of the words, “she, her, hers” and “he, him, his” with “the candidate” and make other clarifying changes to the Act. Both bills are sponsored by the FPPC.

The Political Reform Act, created by California voters in 1974 is the governing law for campaign finance, lobbying and conflict of interest reporting. The Act and its enforcement body, the FPPC, ensure candidate, campaign finance and lobbying transparency and compliance with reporting laws and regulations. As part of their work, the FPPC regularly adopt regulations to further clarify the Act. By codifying a number of existing FPPC regulations into AB 902, candidates, campaign committees, lobbying organizations and the public will have better access to transparent, timely and accurate information.

“We are always looking for ways to make the law easier to understand and follow,” said FPPC Chair Alice Germond. “We would much rather help people comply so the public has the information rather than have enforcement actions. We’d much rather play ‘help you’, than ‘gotcha’.”

California has taken a number of steps toward making the Golden State’s laws gender-neutral. Gender-neutral laws are not only more inclusive, they actually make our laws clearer, easier to understand and easier to comply with. AB 903 will bring important gender-neutrality to the state’s Political Reform Act and ensure greater compliance with the Act.

“California’s campaign finance, lobbying disclosure and conflict of interest laws are the centerpiece of our efforts to promote transparency, ethics and public accountability,” said Assemblymember Levine. “At a time when national politics are too often cloaked in dark money, AB 902 and AB 903 will modernize California’s Political Reform Act to make sure that candidates, elected officials, advocates and the public are provided with accurate and timely information.”

The Fair Political Practices Commission is California’s governmental ethics and campaign disclosure agency. These bills are part of the FPPC’s ongoing efforts to improve education and compliance of the Act, which is often complex and cumbersome.

AB 902 and AB 903 will be considered by the California State Assembly in the Spring of 2019.