AB-249: California DISCLOSE Act

(Last updated February 12, 2018.)

Summary

This California bill would help improve disclosure of funding for ballot measure ads and independent ads supporting or opposing political candidates. It would require clear and prominent disclosure of the top three contributors to any such ads. It would also create new earmarking rules to make it clearer who the actual contributors are, in the event that contributions are passed through multiple layers of committees.

Ads paid for by candidate committees or political parties would not be required to comply with the new rules. 

Status

AB-249 was originally a health and safety bill related to the disposal of hazardous waste. That bill was introduced into the California Assembly on January 1, 2017 and passed the Assembly on April 24, 2017 on a vote of 71-0. On June 20, 2017, the original bill was amended to completely replace the text and implement a new bill. (This process is not uncommon in the California Legislature and is sometimes used to fast-track consideration of a topic or to allow a bill to be continue to be considered after certain legislative deadlines have passed.) The bill was rewritten to be a new version of the California DISCLOSE Act, originally submitted in this legislative session as AB-14. AB-14 had effectively died after missing the June 2 deadline for bills to be passed out of their houses of origin.

The full California Senate voted 29-9 to pass the bill on September 11, 2017. San Diego-area Senators Toni Atkins (D-39) and Ben Hueso (D-40) voted for the bill. Senators Patricia Bates (R-36) and Joel Anderson (R-38) voted against the bill.

The California Assembly voted 59-15 to concur in the Senate's amendments and pass the bill on September 15, 2017. In San Diego County, two Republican Assembly members (Voepel, Waldron) voted against the bill and one (Maienschein) voted for the bill. All Democratic Assembly members (Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Weber) voted for the bill.

The bill was signed into law on October 7, 2017.