Government Finance and Operation update 2/7/2014
SB 963 (Torres) – Support
As Introduced on February 6, 2014
Senate Bill 963, by Senator Norma Torres, would put a provision in statute that the state would pay the costs of legislative and Congressional vacancy elections incurred after January 1, 2013.
Between 1993 and 2007, California law called for reimbursing counties for the costs necessarily incurred from holding special elections proclaimed by the Governor. This prior legislation recognized the difficulty counties face when trying to fund unanticipated special elections, and sought to provide relief to counties and local government service programs. That section of law, however, was repealed January 1, 2008.
This loss of funding is compounded by the even more recent loss of state reimbursements for mandated election programs. The most important of these programs is the one that allows any voter to sign up for permanent absentee voter status. Because the state has decided to stop funding that program, it is now technically optional. However, if some counties stopped providing it, the next statewide election would be held with voters in different counties having significantly different access to the ballot, raising serious constitutional issues.
CSAC supports SB 963, as well as efforts to restore funding for the election mandates. The bill will be eligible for hearing 30 days after its introduction.