Ballot initiative filing fees set to increase

voting - flickrOne strategy for pursuing policy changes through ballot initiatives may become victim of the new law to charge a larger fee to file an initiative for title and summary with the Attorney General’s office. The $200 filing fee, in place since 1943, will go up to $2,000 starting next year after Gov. Brown signed Assembly Bill 1100 last month. The strategic effect, however, will be less burdensome on those with deeper pockets.

Filing multiple initiatives on the same subject offers proponents the opportunity to refine their proposals by getting feedback from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance, which must review, summarize and affix a cost estimate to any initiative. The Attorney General then attaches a title and summary to the different proposals. Proponents can see what reaction is offered to varying proposals from these government agencies, test the different versions through polling, and see which edition attracts the best donor support before deciding the version to pursue.

About 100 initiatives have been filed this year to begin the process. Each came with the $200 price tag — money that will be refunded if a measure qualifies for the ballot. A number of the measures are multiple versions on the same theme.

Most strikingly, in the last week eight versions of “The Water Supply Reliability and Drought Protection Act of 2016” were filed and five versions of  “The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2016” also came in.

Former Natural Resources Agency official Jerry Meral is behind the water measures, an effort to seek more bond revenue to deal with the drought. Meanwhile the push for legalization of marijuana in California continues to heat up with different groups considering the best way to proceed.

The eight water bond proposals cost Meral $1,600 to file. Next year the price would be $16,000. When you consider ballot measure qualifying efforts cost in the millions, not to mention the expense of a campaign if an initiative makes the ballot, the increased cost of filing may seem like the proverbial gold dust that falls between the cracks of the barroom floor.

Those individuals and groups with large bank accounts will not blink at the change. Under new initiative process rules, a measure gets a legislative hearing after 25 percent of the signatures are gathered. It is possible that proponents with the wherewithal to do so could move a couple of initiatives forward so as to review the results of the feedback in the formal legislative hearings before deciding which measure to pursue.

Still, the filing fee increase is bound to change some individual and group strategies dealing with multiple filings. Those who don’t have vast resources will feel the greatest effect.


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  1. Dude
    Dude 25 October, 2015, 09:15

    Just a weak move by Moonbeam to reduce legislation by the people. He doesn’t like peasants interfering with his absolute rule over his kingdom.

    Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 26 October, 2015, 19:53

      There are 40 initiatives in circulation for signatures now, and another 40+ waiting at the AG’s office for processing before going into circulation. How many more would you like to see? It doesn’t really matter to proponents whether or not the fee to file is $200 or $2000. It takes more money to participate in the process, beginning with the filing and then the signature circulation phase, and on to the subsequent election campaign, than any peasant has.

      Reply this comment
      • bob
        bob 26 October, 2015, 19:56

        Sawhorse, where ya been, old girl?

        You will be happy to know that Desmond has filled in admirably during your absence.

        Reply this comment
  2. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 25 October, 2015, 15:11

    Oh yes the arrogant pompoius peacocks who snort and sneer at us birds who sit lower on the roost of authoity they realy need to get their tailfeathers yanked out becuase we lower birds are tired of being crapped on

    Reply this comment
  3. Mr. Whistle
    Mr. Whistle 25 October, 2015, 17:28

    Hmm. “VICTIM” is the correct word here to this Bill………
    Small Fry’s locked out due to radical cost increase. $200 bucks since 1943, without complaint.
    Now, as you can see from the ASSY & SEN votes, the Majority party in power voted for it, and minority party, did not support it for the most part. Another CASH GRAB of course, to keep the folks away from common sense suggestions to address solutions to legislation the current legislature won’t do, and same common sense which most in the legislature do not have…………………

    Reply this comment
  4. desmond
    desmond 26 October, 2015, 04:20

    It would be worth $2000 to file a ballot initiative to change the title of Governor to Big Asshole.
    Imagine Anderson Cooper drooling as he announces the winner of the Big Asshole election in California.

    Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 26 October, 2015, 19:57

      The fact that your disgusting comment is allowed on this web page is probably the reason why this site has gone down hill. If Mr. Seiler were here, he would have removed such.

      Reply this comment
      • bob
        bob 26 October, 2015, 21:46

        Mr. Seiler???

        I don’t believe he is here anymore.

        I don’t think he has posted an article or comment in years.

        I don’t know what happened to him. I am about to recommend someone put his picture on the back of a milk carton.

        Reply this comment
        • SeeSaw
          SeeSaw 27 October, 2015, 13:35

          That was my point. Mr. Seiler is not here–he would remove comments as disgusting and sick and what Desmond posts. No need to wonder why this site has gone downhill.

          Reply this comment
          • bob
            bob 27 October, 2015, 18:22

            And why isn’t he here?

            Because liberals like you have driven him out of the state, most likely.

            As I recall he was living in a small apartment in the OC.

            My guess is he found much better and lower cost options in Texas, or some place where they don’t tax the shiite outta ya and bureaucrats don’t make it incredibly expensive to live with all there hoo hah.

          • SeeSaw
            SeeSaw 28 October, 2015, 00:04

            No, I doubt he has gone to Texas. I think he is an editorial writer for the OCR. At least that is a crumb more credible than this site. Extreme as it is, the OCR would not publish the tripe that comes off the keyboards of posters like Desmond, et al.

  5. Desmond
    Desmond 27 October, 2015, 15:41

    Sounds like a political speech.

    Reply this comment
  6. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 27 October, 2015, 16:19

    Desi is just plain sick…..

    Reply this comment

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