By Jon Coupal, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Today (22) the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a legal action seeking to remove Senate Bill 1272 from the statewide November ballot. SB 1272, which would appear on the ballot as Proposition 49, is yet another effort by the California Legislature to pervert the election process.
In a craven effort to manipulate voter turnout, SB 1272 was approved by the Legislature and, although he refused to sign it, Governor Brown took no action and allowed it to become law. Interestingly however, Governor Brown issued a statement saying that “this bill and the advisory vote it requires has no legal effect whatsoever . . . [and] we should not make it a habit to clutter our ballots with nonbinding measures as citizens rightfully assume that their votes are meant to have legal effect.”
SB 1272 would submit to California voters an “advisory” ballot proposition advocating a change to the U.S. Constitution that is intended to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which held that the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting political independent expenditures by associations, corporations and labor unions. That SB 1272 is poorly drafted is gross understatement. It dramatically oversimplifies a complex and nuanced area of constitutional law.
The shameless purpose of SB 1272 is readily apparent. The Sacramento Bee noted that “since it was pushed through the Legislature by Democrats over Republican objections, it’s not too much of a stretch to surmise that it’s designed to lure more Democrats to the polls when legislators are trying to keep their seats. That’s rather cynical. So is allowing Californians to assume that their votes have real meaning, as they do on other ballot measures.”
The legal action was filed today directly in the Court of Appeal based on the fact that the “advisory measure” sought by the Legislature is an illegitimate exercise of legislative power.
Previously, HJTA won another lawsuit against the Legislature regarding the manipulation of the ballot material in conjunction with the High Speed Rail bond. There, the Court of Appeal ruled the actions by the Legislature violated the Political Reform Act.
“It is very disappointing that the majority in the Legislature views the elections process as their personal plaything,” said Jon Coupal, President of HJTA and also a named petitioner.