BILL NUMBER: ACA 28 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT INTRODUCED BY Assembly Members Canciamilla and Richman JANUARY 25, 2006 A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by adding and repealing Article VIII thereof, relating to election reform. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST ACA 28, as introduced, Canciamilla Citizens Assembly on Electoral Systems Act of 2006. The California Constitution requires the Legislature to convene to consider, among other things, statutes, constitutional amendments, and bills, on subjects that may include electoral reform. The California Constitution also authorizes the exercise of legislative power by the electorate, through the initiative and referendum processes. Existing law, including the California Constitution, specifies the requirements for electing Members of the Legislature and state executive officers, including the Governor, and the campaign finance provisions applicable to elected public officials. This measure would enact the Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform Act of 2006, which would establish the Citizens Assembly to evaluate potential reforms of the laws governing the electoral and campaign process, including campaign finance reform, for the Legislature and statewide elected executive officers. The measure would also require, among other things, that the Citizens Assembly provide the public with the opportunity to make recommendations. The measure would authorize the Citizens Assembly to make interim reports to a legislative committee, as specified, and would require the Citizens Assembly to make a final report of its recommendations to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2008. The measure would require that any proposals adopted by the Citizens Assembly to amend or revise the California Constitution, and to make related statutory changes, be placed on the ballot at the November 4, 2008, statewide general election. The measure would provide that a proposal would take effect if approved by a majority of the voters voting on it. The measure would also provide for a specified selection task force that would select the members of the Citizens Assembly, consisting of 2 members from within each Assembly district and up to an additional 10 members as needed to be representative of California' s adult population. The measure would provide a selection procedure for the chair of the Citizens Assembly, who would be authorized to conduct the meetings of the Citizens Assembly, employ staff and contract for consultants, enter into contracts for the conduct of the business of the Citizens Assembly, and select up to 4 deputy chairs to assist the chair in carrying out his or her duties. The measure would also transfer $20,000,000 from the General Fund to the Citizens Assembly Fund to be established in the State Treasury, and would appropriate this money to the Controller without regard to fiscal year for the payment of expenses incurred by the Citizens Assembly, the Secretary of State, and the selection task force. The measure would require the Citizens Assembly to adopt and provide a budget to the Controller, and would provide that each member of the Citizens Assembly receive a stipend of $1,000 for each month of service and reimbursement for other specified expenses. The measure would repeal the above provisions on January 1, 2009. Vote: 2/3. Appropriation: yes. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no. WHEREAS, This measure shall be known and may be cited as the Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform Act of 2006; and WHEREAS, There is growing interest in improving the process for the election of state legislative and executive officers in California. In recent years, proposals to improve both the quality of political campaigns and the level of citizen participation have been defeated by those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and the divisive partisanship that ill serve the people of California; and WHEREAS, There is a wide variety of electoral processes in use throughout the world that are based upon different values and that produce different results. Among other things, electoral processes help to determine which officials are elected to run our governments, the variety of parties that voters have to choose from, how many citizens will turn out to vote, which citizens will or will not be represented, whether the majority will rule, the drawing of district lines, term limits, and campaign finance reform. Ultimately, the choice of electoral processes has a profound effect not only on the process of elections, but also on the degree to which a political system is fair, representative, and democratic; and WHEREAS, The people of California should be involved in any effort to improve the electoral process, including direct involvement in determining the foundational values of our voting systems and the needed improvements to those systems. The citizens of California must take the lead in resolving these key questions because politicians have a fundamental conflict of interest in determining the results; and WHEREAS, In consideration of these findings, the purpose of this measure is to provide for the establishment of a Citizens Assembly to study how California should elect the Members of the Legislature and its elected executive officers. The Citizens Assembly will be an independent and nonpartisan deliberative body comprised of ordinary Californians convened to study how the state should best translate votes into legislative seats and offices, and to place directly on the ballot any constitutional amendments or revisions, and any directly related statutory provisions, within its mandate, that serve the purposes of this act and are needed to best serve California; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2005-06 Regular Session commencing on the sixth day of December 2004, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows: That Article VIII is added thereto, to read: ARTICLE VIII CITIZENS ASSEMBLY ON ELECTORAL SYSTEMS ACT OF 2006 SECTION 1. (a) The Citizens Assembly established pursuant to Section 2 shall evaluate potential reforms of the laws that govern elections and political campaigns in this state. This mandate of the Citizens Assembly is limited to the electoral and campaign process, including campaign finance reform, for the Legislature and statewide elected executive officers. Only changes to this Constitution and related changes in statutory provisions that are consistent with this mandate may be considered by the Citizens Assembly. (b) In carrying out the evaluation described in subdivision (a), the Citizens Assembly shall do all of the following: (1) Provide the public with the opportunity to make recommendations to the Citizens Assembly, whether in writing, orally at public meetings, or by other means. (2) In adopting any proposal to change the method for electing Members of the Legislature and statewide executive officers that differs from the current system, the Citizens Assembly shall consider the potential impact of changes on the scheduling and conducting of campaigns and elections for all candidates for political office in this state, and the proposal shall be described fully, clearly, and in detail in the Citizens Assembly's final report. (c) The Citizens Assembly shall make its final report to the Legislature, setting forth any proposals adopted by the Citizens Assembly for the purposes of this section, no later than January 1, 2008. On presentation of the final report, the chair shall arrange for its publication, and the Legislature shall conduct a public hearing within 30 days to consider that report. Any recommendations from the Legislature as to the contents of the report are advisory only. (d) The Citizens Assembly may make interim reports to a joint legislative committee that is appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly and the President pro Tempore of the Senate for the purpose of receiving and considering interim reports from the Citizens Assembly. The Citizens Assembly may, in its sole discretion, incorporate any amendments offered by the Legislature into one or more proposals prior to the submission of those proposals to the Secretary of State pursuant to subdivision (e). (e) Notwithstanding Article XVIII or any other provision of this Constitution, the Citizens Assembly may submit one or more proposals for amendment or revision of the Constitution, together with any related statutory changes it deems appropriate, to the voters for approval. Each such proposal shall be placed on the ballot at the November 4, 2008, statewide general election. If a proposal is approved by a majority of the voters voting on it, the provisions of the proposal shall take effect the day after the election. Each proposal submitted to the voters for the amendment or revision of the Constitution, including any related statutory changes, shall embrace no more than one subject. Each proposal that is adopted by the Citizens Assembly to be submitted to the voters pursuant to this subdivision shall be provided to the Secretary of State no later than March 31, 2008. (f) Any constitutional or statutory change proposed by the Citizens Assembly and approved by the voters pursuant to subdivision (e) may be subsequently amended, revised, or repealed as follows: (1) A constitutional provision is subject to an amendment or revision, as the case may be, including repeal, that may be proposed by the Legislature pursuant to Section 1 or 2 of Article XVIII. In the case of a statutory provision, the Legislature may amend or repeal the provision by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the voters. (2) A constitutional or statutory provision is subject to amendment or repeal by initiative pursuant to Section 3 of Article XVIII, or Section 8 of Article II, as applicable. SEC. 2. (a) For purposes of performing the duties set forth in Section 1, there shall be established the Citizens Assembly, which shall be broadly representative of the adult population of California with respect to age, gender, socioeconomic status, and geographical distribution based on voter registration. A selection task force composed of six academic experts, two of which are appointed by the President of the University of California, two by the Chancellor of the California State University, and two by a president or chancellor of a private university in California, shall select the members of the Citizens Assembly. Upon request, the Secretary of State shall assist the task force in the performance of its duties under this section. The President of the University of California and the Chancellor of the California State University shall jointly designate the private university. (b) The members of the selection task force shall serve without compensation, but shall be entitled to the reimbursement of expenses pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 4. The selection task force shall select the members of the Citizens Assembly under the following procedure: (1) The selection task force shall cause a stratified random sample of 100 men and 100 women to be drawn from the registered voter rolls in each Assembly district. (2) Each eligible person whose name is drawn shall be given the opportunity to indicate his or her interest in becoming a member of the Citizens Assembly. The selection task force shall cause a stratified random sample of 10 men and 10 women to be drawn from the list of interested persons from each Assembly district. The selection task force may draw additional stratified random samples of 100 men and 100 women from the registered voter rolls in an Assembly district until a stratified random sample of 10 men and 10 women who are interested in serving as members of the Citizens Assembly is selected from that district. (3) Local selection meetings in each Assembly district, conducted by the selection task force, shall then be held in order to provide further information to prospective members and to randomly select two members, one man and one woman, from each district to serve on the Citizens Assembly. Each member shall serve a term that concludes upon the repeal of this article. All local selection meetings shall be open to the public. (4) The selection task force may select up to 10 additional members, from the lists of interested persons established pursuant to paragraph (2), as may be needed to cause the membership of the Citizens Assembly to approximate a representative sample of California's adult population with respect to age, gender, socioeconomic status, and geographical distribution based on voter registration. (c) The following persons are not eligible to be members of the Citizens Assembly: (1) A person who is not a registered voter in California. (2) An elected state executive officer or his or her appointee. (3) A Member or employee of the United States Congress. (4) A Member or employee of the California Legislature. (5) An elected official of a local governmental agency in this State, including, but not limited to, a city, county, city and county, board, commission, district, or special district. (6) A state or federal judge. (7) A current officer, elected member, or delegate, at the state or county level, of a registered political party. (8) Any person who, on or after January 1, 1987, has provided, for compensation, campaign-related advice or services to a candidate, ballot initiative committee, or independent expenditure committee. (9) A registered lobbyist. (10) An immediate family member of any person excluded under paragraphs (2) to (9), inclusive. (d) Based on the purposes of this article and the responsibilities of the Citizens Assembly, and pursuant to a nationwide search and consideration, the selection task force shall provide the Citizens Assembly with three candidates for the position of compensated, nonvoting chair, who shall be selected as the first order of business by a majority vote of the membership of the Citizens Assembly. In the event of a vacancy in the position of chair, the Citizens Assembly shall fill the vacancy, from either within or without its membership, by approval of a two-thirds vote of its membership. (e) The chair of the Citizens Assembly shall not be included for purposes of the calculation of any vote of the membership under this article. SEC. 3. (a) The chair shall organize the affairs of the Citizens Assembly and conduct its meetings, may employ staff and contract for consultants, including legal counsel, and may otherwise enter into contracts for the conduct of business of the Citizens Assembly. Persons employed to work for the Citizens Assembly are exempt from civil service. The chair has administrative responsibility for the Citizens Assembly which includes, within its budget and other resources provided for this purpose, ensuring that the members of the Citizens Assembly are provided with the resources required to carry out their duties. (b) In the event of a vacancy in the membership of the Citizens Assembly, the chair shall select a replacement of the same gender from the list of previously selected candidates that was drawn pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 2 from the same Assembly district, in a manner designed to maintain the representative composition of the Citizens Assembly. (c) The chair may select up to four deputy chairs to assist the chair in carrying out his or her duties, and shall prepare rules of procedure for the conduct of the business and operation of the Citizens Assembly and present these rules to the Citizens Assembly at its first scheduled meeting. The Citizens Assembly shall adopt rules, and may subsequently amend those rules, by majority vote of the membership. These rules shall be consistent with the constitutional duties of the chair and Robert's Rules of Order. In the absence of any rule to the contrary, Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the proceedings of the Citizens Assembly. (d) Any action of the Citizens Assembly, as described by this article, shall require approval by a majority vote of the membership. (e) The Citizens Assembly may expel any of its members, including the chair, for cause, by a two-thirds vote of the membership. As used in this subdivision, "for cause" means dishonesty, neglect of duty, willful violation of Citizens Assembly rules, or conviction of an offense involving moral turpitude. (f) Decisions on questions of procedure of the Citizens Assembly shall be made by the chair, or by a deputy chair in the chair's absence, in accordance with the rules adopted by the Citizens Assembly or Robert's Rules of Order, as applicable. Decisions of the chair on questions of procedure may not be appealed to the Citizens Assembly, but the chair, or a deputy chair in the absence of the chair, may request comment from members of the Citizens Assembly before making a decision. SEC. 4. (a) The sum of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) is hereby transferred from the General Fund to the Citizens Assembly Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury and is appropriated to the Controller without regard to fiscal year for the payment of expenses incurred by the Citizens Assembly, including expenses incurred by the Secretary of State and the selection task force under Section 2. (b) The Citizens Assembly shall adopt, and revise as needed, a budget to fund its own operations and communications with the residents of California regarding its activities, and shall provide a copy of that budget to the Controller. Expenditures from the fund shall be made in compliance with the procedures contained in the State Administrative Manual and the statutes, rules, and regulations that are generally applicable to state agencies in this regard. (c) Each member of the Citizens Assembly shall receive a stipend of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each month of service at a prorated rate for each day of service, and reimbursement of expenses of travel, meals, lodging, and other actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of official duties, at the rates established by the Department of General Services for state employees. SEC. 5. This article shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2009, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted measure that is approved by a majority vote of the voters before January 1, 2009, deletes or extends that date.