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CA Election Law Update


Senate Bill 1153 - Local Initiatives: Review.

In 2014, SB 1253 permitted proponents of statewide initiatives to withdraw an initiative up to the date of the initiative qualification deadline, even if the initiative has enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The purpose was to give the initiative proponents an extended opportunity to work within the legislative process to find a solution to the issues addressed in the initiative. The right to withdraw an initiative did not include local initiatives.

Now, SB 1153, signed by the Governor and chaptered by the Secretary of State on July 20, 2018, extends the initiative withdrawal option to the local government level. With the ability to withdraw local initiatives at any time prior to the initiative qualification deadline (88 days before the election), regardless of whether the initiative qualifies for the ballot, initiative proponents and local agencies have more time to resolve the issues sought to be addressed by the initiative. SB 1153 will help counties, municipalities, and special districts avoid expensive special elections, and situations like the one described in the SB 1153 Bill Analysis:

In 2017, there were two competing cannabis regulations on the ballot in the City of Los Angeles. The initial measure, Proposition N, was drafted and put on the ballot by the cannabis industry. After the measure qualified, the Los Angeles City Council and the cannabis industry came to an agreement and drafted a separate initiative, Proposition M. The cannabis industry was unable to remove Proposition N from the ballot, which lead to a costly and confusing campaign.

If you have questions about what SB 1153 means for your public agency, please contact Alvarez-Glasman & Colvin.

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