Levine Bill to Close Loophole in Taxpayer Funded Communications and Increase Campaign Finance Transparency Signed Into Law

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

(Sacramento, CA) – Legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D – North Bay) to increase transparency in California’s campaign finance disclosure requirements has been signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 903 (Levine) is the latest success by Levine to bolster California’s progressive campaign finance laws by providing the public with important information and increasing public confidence in our election system. In 2017, Levine successfully authored AB 249, the Disclose Act, which increased donor disclosure requirements on campaign advertising, including campaign mailers, radio and television ads, telephone robocalls and electronic ads.

Among its provisions, AB 903 further restricts communications to the public regarding state or local ballot measures paid for with tax dollars. Previously, some local governments distributed questionable communications to the public in support or opposition to local ballot measures, claiming that these governmental communications did not qualify as a campaign expenditure. AB 903 affirms the appropriate use of governmental resources when communicating with the public and will prevent state or local governments from unduly influencing voters through tax payer financed communications. AB 903 also consolidates the timing of various campaign finance filing requirements to reduce confusion and increase disclosure compliance.

“Democracy works best when there is sunshine and transparency in our campaign finance system,” said Assemblymember Levine. “AB 903 is an important step to ensure that the public receives accurate, unbiased and appropriate communications from state or local governments and furthers California’s work to keep our elections credible, fair and transparent.”

Sponsored by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, AB 903 takes effect on January 1, 2020.