FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
from the California Clean Money Campaign
April 10, 2023
Contact: Trent Lange (310) 428-1556
Bills Introduced to Allow Local Governments and California
to Have Public Financing of Elections.
SB 24 and AB 270 would put a measure on the November 2024
ballot to allow voters to decide the matter.
SACRAMENTO, CA -- At a time when voters are more concerned
than ever about the dominance of Big Money in politics,
Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and
Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose) have introduced
parallel bills, SB 24 and AB 270, to restore control to
local governments and the State by allowing them to enact
new options for election campaign funding.
Five California charter cities currently empower voters by
providing public financing matching funds or democracy
vouchers to help voters support qualified candidates, but
state law currently bans counties, districts, general law
cities, and the State from offering public funds for
campaigns. SB 24 and AB 270 would put a measure on the
November 2024 ballot to remove the ban.
In 2016, the Legislature passed SB 1107 (Allen), signed by
Governor Jerry Brown, which would have removed the
ban but the courts ruled that the question must be put
before the voters. SB 24 and AB 270 would do so by putting
a measure on the November 2024 ballot.
"In historic votes, overwhelming bipartisan majorities
in both Houses of the Legislature voted seven years ago to
give local governments and the State the option to enact
public financing laws," said SB 24 author Senator
Umberg, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"It's long past time for California voters to have their
say in the matter and SB 24 and AB 270 will do exactly that
on next year's ballot."
"Public financing of campaigns is the best way to
empower voters, increase diversity of candidates running
for office, and give voters confidence that Big Money can't
just buy their elections," said Assemblymember Alex
Lee (D-San Jose), author of AB 270.
Elected officials and those running for office spend a
significant amount of time soliciting donations. Public
financing of campaigns can reduce the influence of money in
elections and lead to more diverse candidates running for
office that better reflect the communities they seek to
"Voters across the political spectrum know that the
crushing expense of campaigning can prevent great
candidates from making it through the electoral process.
This bill creates a path by enabling public financing
systems that reduce reliance on special interests and
amplify the voices of grassroots communities," said
Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), the author of SB
1107 of 2016 and now a joint author of SB 24.
79% of likely California voters said that Big Money
campaign contributors have too much influence over elected
officials in California, and 68% said that ordinary voters
have too little influence, according to a 2019 poll by the
California Clean Money Campaign. That may be why
voters in charter cities have passed public financing
measures by large majorities when given the opportunity.
75% voted for Los Angeles' Measure H in 2011, 65% voted for
Berkeley's Measure X1 in 2016, and 74% voted for Oakland's
Measure W last year.
A broad coalition of state, local, and national
organizations supported SB 1107 in 2016, and over 57,000
Californians signed petitions urging the legislature to
pass it and Governor Brown to sign it.
"It was very disappointing for the courts to rule that
the legislature doesn't have power to give local
governments and the State the option to pass public
campaign financing laws," said Trent Lange,
President of the California Clean Money Campaign,
sponsor of SB 24 and AB 270. "That's why we're so
grateful that Senator Umberg and Assemblymember Lee are
taking the lead to give voters the opportunity to remove
the ban on public financing and thereby give counties,
districts, general law cities, and the State the ability to
explore publicly funded election systems that work for
By allowing California voters to remove the ban on public
financing, SB 24 and AB 270 will give local governments and
the State the same flexibility to explore better campaign
funding options currently available to only charter cities.
SB 24 will be heard in the Senate Elections and
Constitutional Amendments Committee and AB 270 will be
heard in the Assembly Elections Committee in April.
The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan
501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating
the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of
Big Money on election campaigns since 2001. For further
information, visit www.CAclean.org.