Senate Bill 1360, California’s Clarity in Disclosure Act, co-drafted by Senators Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), cleared its first legislative hurdle this morning.
SB 1360 will give California the first law in the nation to require that images and online banner ads clearly and prominently show their primary funder on the ad itself. It will also require format changes to make TV and video ads more readable and prevent committees from deliberately using extremely long committee names to make it difficult for voters to read the top three funders in the five seconds the disclosure is on screen.
“People shouldn’t have to pause their TV or computer, squint, or run to the kitchen for their reading glasses to figure out who is funding political ads,” said Sen. Thomas J. Umberg ( D-Santa Ana). “Transparency in our political process is more important than ever and voters deserve to be treated with respect.”
Following an election in which more money was spent on ballot proposals than ever in California history, Senators Umberg and Allen authored the Disclosure Clarity Act to counter the flood of ads and initiatives, referenda and recall petitions that circumvent the historic California DISCLOSE Act in California. in order to hide from the voters who really paid for them.
SB 1360 will also ensure that voters approached to sign initiative, referendum and recall petitions receive an official list of the top three circulation funders. SB 47 (Allen), the Petitions Disclosure Act, signed into law in 2019, requires that if funders are listed on an official sheet separate from major funders, circulators must show it to voters, but many do not. do not.
SB 1360 is supported by lawmakers who led the passage of California’s DISCLOSE Act bills. Senators Umberg and Allen as well as the co-lead author, Senator Henry Stern (D-Calabasas), are all former chairs of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee. Lead co-authors also include Pro Tem Chairman Kevin Mullin, author of the 2017 California DISCLOSE Act, Assemblyman Sabrina Cervantes, author of the 2019 Text Message DISCLOSE Act, Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, author of the current Ballot DISCLOSE Act and Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi. .
“California has the strictest disclosure laws for political ads and initiative, referendum and recall campaigns in the country. But now some campaigns are flooding the Internet with online display ads and deliberately hiding the ball on other types of ads,” said Trent Lange, president of the California Clean Money Campaign, sponsor of SB 1360. “That’s why we We’re so thrilled that Senators Umberg and Allen introduced SB 1360 to ensure voters know who is actually campaign funding, regardless of the type of ad or petition.
SB 1360 was approved by the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee in a 4-1 party line vote. It will then be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.