State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) will introduce two constitutional amendment proposals to increase the number of signatures required to trigger a recall election and to have California’s lieutenant governor finish the governor’s term if a recall is successful. Senator Newman plans to introduce both bills on January 3, the first day of the 2022 legislative session.
“Now is the time to take a hard look at California’s recall provisions to see whether they still are serving their purpose,” said Newman. “For instance, the lieutenant governor is the No. 2 constitutional officer in California and to me seems to be the logical person to complete the term of a recalled governor. The recall process we have now invites partisan shenanigans that are costly for taxpayers.”
Changing the state Constitution requires a majority vote in both houses of the Legislature and, if passed, would have to be approved by California voters.
“Constitutional amendments are not everyday events and I don’t favor big changes for small matters,” said Newman. “But recall in California has become a partisan circus in the internet era and must be reformed to reflect the political challenges we face today and to serve the public better.”
Senator Newman won his seat in 2016, but was recalled in 2018. He won the seat again in the 2020 election. He since has been an advocate for recall reform.
Legislation sponsored by Newman to prohibit pay-per-signature collection of signatures in an effort to qualify a state or local initiative, referendum or recall for the ballot was approved by the California State Legislature last week, and awaits Governor Newsom’s signature. The measure would not prohibit payment for signature gathering, as long as payment is not based on the number of signatures obtained. Signature gatherers still could be paid an hourly wage or salary.
SB 660, Prohibiting Pay-Per-Signature Incentives, will help to eliminate the corrosive practice of paying per-signature bounties to professional signature gatherers who work for partisan organizations that seek to manipulate the state’s electoral process.
Surveys show that voters don’t want to eliminate recall, yet would like to make qualifying a recall election more difficult.