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California State Assembly. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Ballot Measures Proposed by the California Legislature

There are several forms of legislative referrals in California, including constitutional amendments, state statutes, and bond issues

By Chris Micheli, January 30, 2022 3:21 pm

The California Legislature may place measures before the electorate at statewide elections. Division 9, Chapter 1, Article 4 deals with Measures Proposed by the Legislature. Section 9040 requires every constitutional amendment, bond measure, or other legislative measure submitted to the People by the Legislature to appear on the ballot of the first statewide election occurring at least 131 days after the adoption of the proposal by the Legislature.

Section 9041 provides that, whenever the Legislature submits any measure to the voters of the state, the author of the legislative measure and no more than two persons appointed by the author may draft an argument for the adoption of the measure. As an alternative, the author of the measure may appoint no more than three persons to draft the argument. In no case are more than three persons permitted to write the argument and the argument cannot exceed 500 words in length.

Section 9042 specifies that, if a measure submitted to the voters by the Legislature was not adopted unanimously, one Member of the Senate who voted against the measure is to be appointed by the President pro Tempore of the Senate and one Member of the Assembly who voted against the measure is be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly for the purpose of writing an argument against the measure. The argument against cannot exceed 500 words.

Section 9043 provides that arguments prepared by legislators and their appointees must be submitted to the Secretary of State no later than a date to be designated by the Secretary of State and the arguments may not be amended or changed after they have been submitted.

Section 9044 states that, if an argument for or an argument against a measure submitted to the voters by the Legislature has not been filed by a Member of the Legislature, then any voter may request the Secretary of State’s permission to prepare and file an argument for either side.

The Secretary of State is required to grant permission unless two or more voters request permission to submit arguments on the same side of a measure, in which case the Secretary of State must designate one of the voters to write the argument. And, any argument prepared must be submitted to the Secretary of State by a date sufficient to meet ballot printing deadlines.

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