Bill to Prohibit Payment Based on Signatures Collected for Ballot Measures Passes Despite Strong Opposition

July 18, 2011 - On July 14, the California Assembly cleared SB 168 by a vote of 48-28. The measure would make it illegal for a person to pay or to receive money or any other thing of value based on the number of signatures obtained on a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition. The measure passed both chambers and is being sent to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.

The measure was opposed by a wide swath of organizations including the California Retailers Association, the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies, the California Building Industry Association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Western Growers Association, and the Humane Society. The bill was supported by Democratic-leaning groups such as the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, the California Labor Federation, and the Sierra Club of California.

See the chart below for a full breakdown of support and opposition money by party and vote.

Average Amounts Received by Assemblymembers from Interest Groups that Support and Oppose SB 168
(Jan. 1, 2009 - Dec. 31, 2010)

Vote on SB 168 Party Support Oppose
No Democrat  $ 39,707  $ 86,517
  Republican  $ 14,402  $ 35,883
Yes Democrat  $ 27,052  $ 29,948

Methodology: A MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to legislators in office on day of vote, from interest groups invested in the vote according to MapLight, January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2010 . Campaign contributions data source: