Oct. 2019 Update: Governor Newsom vetoed the bill, offering 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.”

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Paying signature-gatherers for state or local initiatives, referendums, or recall petitions may become a misdemeanor in California.

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Assembly Bill 1947 would make it against the law to pay people based on the number of signatures they collect. It would not prohibit payments if the signature-gathering isn’t based on the amount 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.

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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.

According to AB 1947, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-28th District), “The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.”

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AB 1947 was introduced in January 2018. It passed the Assembly in April with a 50-26 vote. It will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, June 25.

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Read the full bill HERE.