Legislation to Modernize California’s Campaign Database Passes Assembly
SB 1349 overhauls Cal-Access to make campaign and lobbying disclosures quick and easy to find online
SACRAMENTO – The Assembly today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, to modernize California’s online database of campaign and lobbying information.
SB 1349, which was approved on a bipartisan 72-0 vote, directs the state to overhaul the Secretary of State’s antiquated Cal-Access system for filing and accessing campaign finance and lobbying data. It establishes important guidelines for the project, including creating a system that is data driven, rather than form based, and adhering to prevailing standards for search and open data.
The bill is supported by a broad coalition that includes California Common Cause, the California Business Roundtable, the California League of Women Voters, the California Labor Federation and Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
“With all the money being spent in this year’s elections and on various ballot measures, disclosure is more important than ever,” Hertzberg said. “SB 1349 modernizes California’s database so campaign and lobbying disclosures are quick and easy for everyone to access online immediately.”
The legislation prescribes using cost-effective, streamlined and innovative information technology development processes to deliver an improved system faster. It calls for a system that permits future compatibility with local campaign finance data.
The bill is also backed by Jim Heerwagen, the main proponent of the Voters’ Right to Know Act, an initiative circulated earlier this year that sought to replace the current Cal-Access system as part of a package of reforms. Heerwagen announced in March that he would suspend signature gathering for the initiative and instead support SB 1349.
Under SB 1349, the new system would allow aggregating contributions from the same contributor through use of a unique ID system for donors, thereby providing the public with a fuller understanding of influence in state politics. The legislation recommends incorporating user-friendly features for filers, such as pre-populating data and electronic signature capability.
Robert Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, applauded passage of the measure.
“SB 1349 is a critically needed reform to empower the public with greater government transparency to campaign finance and lobbying data using 21st century innovation," Lapsley said.
The bill goes next to the Senate for concurrence.
SB 1349 has been endorsed by several newspapers. In June, the Los Angeles Times urged legislators to pass the bill and the governor to sign it “so that voters don’t have to wait until another presidential primary for a campaign finance database that has all the things they need to assess candidates and ballot measures in the era of big money.”
Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map at http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district. After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew LaMar
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814