Assemblywoman Bonilla’s Bill Increasing Campaign Transparency Approved by the Senate

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SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Bonilla’s AB 990, which increases campaign transparency and voter access to information, was approved by the Senate Wednesday with strong bipartisan support. This bill, sponsored by the Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters, will enable voters to easily distinguish whether campaign mailers are paid for by an independent expenditure or a candidate themselves.

“When voters are bombarded with mailers throughout an election cycle, they understandably assume that all of it is sent from a candidate, and become frustrated and disengaged in the voting process,” said Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord). “AB 990 ensures that voters can effortlessly differentiate a candidate’s message from the messages of various independent expenditures.”

In the 2014 California state elections, money spent by independent expenditures reached nearly $32 million. While outside interest groups play a critical role in the election process, it is not only important for voters to understand who the message is coming from, but just as important is who the message is not coming from. When voters receive an overwhelming influx of campaign mail, they barely glance at them, and rarely identify the sender. AB 990 will address this issue by requiring a more evident and clear disclosure statement on all independent expenditure advertisements. Specifically, this bill requires that the disclosure statement be outlined in a bold box, located near the recipient’s name, and in a larger font than what is currently required.

“Our office strives to help the electorate be informed and educated about who they vote for,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters. “By making the source of mailer ads more noticeable, registered voters will be more likely to participate and not driven away out of exasperation.”

If signed by the Governor, AB 990 will become effective immediately.

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) was elected in November 2010 and represents California’s 14th Assembly District, which includes Contra Costa County and Solano County.