Assemblymembers Low and Bloom Introduce Legislation to Reform Ballot Initiative Process

For immediate release:

AB 1100 will adjust fee to prepare title and summary

SACRAMENTO – In response to a proposed ballot measure that would legalize the murder of LGBT Californians, Assemblymembers Evan Low (D-Campbell) and Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced AB 1100 today, which would increase the fee required to process a ballot initiative.

“We live in California, the cradle of direct democracy, but we also need a threshold for reasonableness. Amending laws and making statewide policy is not something that should be taken lightly,” Assemblymember Low said. “It’s been 72 years since we updated this aspect of the initiative process, this proposal is long overdue,” he added.

The bill would increase the fee from $200 to $8,000.  The $200 fee was set in 1943 to cover the administrative costs by the Attorney General (AG) to analyze a proposal and prepare a title and summary.  $8000 would cover the current estimated cost of analysis and preparation of title and summary.  According to the Consumer Price Index, the value of $200 today is the equivalent of $14.80 in 1943 dollars.  Currently, there are nine initiatives that have been submitted to the AG for the 2016 ballot.

In late February, Matt McLaughlin, a Huntington Beach lawyer admitted to the bar in 1998, submitted a ballot measure titled the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” that states LGBTs “be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.” The Act further states that offenders be fined $1 million, serve up to ten years in prison, and/or expelled from the state.

While the proposal has been submitted to the AG, McLaughlin will still need to collect 365,880 signatures in order to get the initiative on the ballot. The number of signatures needed is determined by the number of voters who participated in the previous gubernatorial election.

“It’s disturbing to hear that a licensed member of the California State Bar is putting forward a measure that attacks lesbian and gay members in our community.  But Mr. McLaughlin’s immoral proposal is the just the latest – and most egregious – example of the need to further reform the initiative process. I’m proud that the Legislature’s LGBT caucus, led by Assemblymember Eggman filed a complaint last week with the State Bar asking for Mr. McLaughlin to be disbarred,” Low said.