Good News: More Transparency Coming to Money in California Politics


Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed bipartisan legislation to bring greater transparency to money in California politics.

Senate Bill 1349, by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, will direct the Secretary of State to modernize Cal-Access, California’s online system for campaign finance filing and disclosure. California Common Cause was a sponsor of the bill, along with the California Business Roundtable.

“Californians soon will have better access than ever before to information about campaign financing,” said Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause. “SB 1349 will help voters to understand who’s trying to influence our elections and government, so they can make more informed choices.”

“Today’s Cal-Access is outdated, prone to outages, and just plain ugly,” said Gavin Baker, Open Government Program Manager for California Common Cause. “Thankfully, Secretary Padilla has started working to improve the system; SB 1349 will give him the resources he needs to get the job done.”

The bill received unanimous support in the Legislature and was endorsed by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the Fair Political Practices Commission, and more than 30 organizations, including AARP, CalChamber, California Forward, the California Labor Federation, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the League of Women Voters of California, and MapLight.
SB 1349 does not include funding; however, the budget bill signed by Gov. Brown in June included $1.8 million in initial funding for the Cal-Access modernization project. Under SB 1349, the new system is scheduled to be publicly available by 2019.

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