Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill to modernize campaign disclosure website
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure Monday requiring California lobbyists and politicians to pay more to register with the state so that it can modernize its website for reporting campaign contributions and lobbying activity.
Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) authored the bill after the state's Cal-Access campaign website repeatedly crashed for days at a time, meaning the public did not have easy access to information on who is financing campaigns and hiring lobbyists.
The governor signed SB 1001, which doubles to $100 the registration fee paid every two years by the approximately 2,000 lobbyists in California. The bill also charges a new $50 annual fee to political campaign committees.
The estimated $600,000 that will be raised will help maintain, repair and modernize Cal-Access, Yee said.
"It is simply unacceptable to have such an outdated public disclosure system in our state," Yee said. "The crash of Cal-Access not only prevented public access, it meant government was not being transparent or being held accountable."
The bill was supported by California Common Cause, whose policy advocate, Phillip Ung, said it is fair to have lobbyists and campaigns pay for the upkeep of a system that sheds light on their activity.
"It's time California replaced a 21-year old computer with a 21st century system that increases transparency at no cost to the taxpayer," Ung said.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento