Lawmakers Call for Immediate Hearing to Restore Fairness to the Initiative Process

Press Release

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SACRAMENTO – Today Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) and Senator Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) are calling on the Assembly Elections Committee to immediately hear Assembly Constitutional Amendment 7, their legislation that would strip the partisan Attorney General of the ability to write ballot titles and summaries and instead give that role to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst.

“Time and again, the Attorney General has misled voters and tipped the scales in favor of special interests,” Assemblyman Kiley said. “The Legislature must call an immediate hearing on ACA 7 to protect our democratic process.”

Today CalMatters reported that California set a “modern record” this year with Attorney General Xavier Becerra being sued six times for the way he has labeled and summarized some of this year’s most contentious ballot measures. “No election cycle has seen more proposition summary battles since at least 2008,” according to their review of court filings.

“The majority party in Sacramento is notorious for stalling legislative measures they don’t agree with,” said Senator Melendez. “ACA 7 deserves a hearing before the legislature to ensure that the voters of this state are given accurate, unbiased, ballot titles and summaries for upcoming ballot initiatives.  These misinformation tactics used to persuade or influence voters has been a tool used by the Attorney General’s office in past elections and it needs to stop.”

The following are excerpts from editorial boards across the state who have endorsed ACA 7 and called for an end to the biased ballot information put forward by the Attorney General:

Los Angeles Times

“In theory, California’s attorney general does just that, writing neutral, evenhanded summaries for ballot measures. In practice? The attorney general’s office often forsakes impartiality in favor of loaded and misleading language designed to sway voters.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“California’s attorney general is charged with providing a “true and impartial” title and summary for ballot propositions. Once again, the attorney general’s office is being legitimately accused of skewing the language in favor of one side of an issue.”

San Jose Mercury News

“Ballot measures propose significant changes to the law and ask voters to make important choices that cannot easily be reversed. Tricking the electorate into believing they’re voting for one thing when they’re really getting another is a formula for increased cynicism.”

San Diego Union-Tribune

“One of state government’s worst traditions is once again on display: the partisan slanting of ballot language by attorneys general to either promote or undercut measures going before California voters.”

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley represents the 6th Assembly District, which includes the Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado County communities of Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Loomis, Orangevale, Penryn, Rocklin, Roseville, and Sheridan.

Senator Melissa Melendez represents the 28th Senate District, which includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and Wildomar.

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