Positions on Legislation, 2015-2016
Posted on August 19, 2015 by the Legislative Committee
The Peace and Freedom Party has taken positions for or against a number of bills in the 2015-2016 session of the California legislature, and is watching several more. We may take positions for or against bills on our "watch list" as time goes on. This article lists our current positions with links to relevant documents.
The information below was last updated on October 19, 2015.
SB 124 on Solitary Confinement of Juveniles: An Evaluation
By Michael Smith
Posted on August 22, 2015 by the Webmaster
This article was written on April 25 while SB 124 was scheduled for a hearing the Senate Appropriations Committee.
I strongly support SB 124 because it addresses one of the most serious problems in both juvenile and adult institutions in California and in most, if not all, other states: the misuse of isolation (solitary confinement). This bill, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, Democrat of San Francisco, defines the reasons it can and cannot be used and the length of time it can be used - only after exhausting other options. It also defines strict documentation - why isolation is necessary, who authorized it, what was done in lieu of using it, and who was isolated and for how long.
By Dave Kadlecek
Posted on November 10, 2015 by the Legislative Committee
In 1995 the California legislature passed the "Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act" that severely limited the provisions of local rent control ordinances in California cities. The bill contained three main provisions:
- It required that any local rent control ordinance include "vacancy decontrol", so that rent increases during a tenancy could be regulated, but once a unit became vacant, there could be no limit on what rent a landlord could charge new tenants.
- It required that all local rent control ordinances exempt
single-family homes and all condominium units from their provisions.
- It required that all local rent control ordinances permanently exempt all new construction.
Further, in 2009 in the "Palmer vs Los Angeles", case the courts interpreted Costa-Hawkins as forbidding local "inclusionary zoning" ordinances that required new developments to include a percentage of permanently affordable rental housing.
The current housing affordability crisis in much of California shows that the weakened tools available to local governments under Costa-Hawkins aren't enough to prevent Californians from being thrown out of their communities due to unaffordably high rents. Costa-Hawkins must be repealed now!
Dave Kadlecek is an officer at large of the State Central Committee from Santa Clara County and serves on the Legislative Committee.
Top Two As Seen By Its Proponents
By C. T. Weber
Posted on September 5, 2015 by the Webmaster
On August 19 I attended a forum in Sacramento where the primary focus was on "top two" elections. Billed by the sponsors as a "nonpartisan primary summit", this even was organized by two propenents top two, the Independent Voter Network (IVN) and California Forward. Some of those in attendance who are opposed to “top two” were: Debra Reiger, Peace and Freedom Party State Chair; Richard Becker, Peace and Freedom Party and Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL); Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, and board member of Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER); Paula Lee, CfER and the League of Women Voters; and myself. I'm also with the Peace and Freedom Party and on the board of CfER.
The first thing I did after signing in was to complain to a few of the organizers of the lack of balance on the panels.
Peace and Freedom Party on ballot at least through 2018
By Kevin Akin
Posted on October 7 2014 by the Communication Committee
When the voters were fooled into passing Proposition 14 in 2010, they were told it provided for an "open primary" that would give voters "more choice". Many did not realize that more choices in June meant taking away all but two choices for each office in November. But less choice in November -- when it counts -- was not the only bad result of "top two". Because no candidates of the smaller parties would appear on the statewide ballot in November, the new law made it essentially impossible for these parties to remain ballot qualified by getting enough votes in the gubernatorial election every four years.
On Tuesday September 30, Governor Brown signed AB 2351 by Assembly member Richard Gordon of Menlo Park. This bill changes the vote test to the June primary election in gubernatorial election years, with votes for all candidates preferring the party counting toward the required two percent of the vote. As Nathalie Hrizi of the Peace and Freedom Party received 5.4% of the vote (212,999 votes) for Insurance Commissioner in the June 2014 primary, the party will stay on the ballot at least through 2018, the year of the next gubernatorial election.
Another change in the law included in AB 2351 specified that a party can qualify through having 0.33% of all the voters in the state registered as preferring that party. The former standard was a number of voters equal to 1% of all those voters who cast ballots in the November gubernatorial election. The number of voters in an election for governor is very hard to predict accurately. Using a figure based on actual voter registration is easier for everyone involved, including the Secretary of State, whose endorsement of AB 2351 helped get it through the legislature. Right now, the Peace and Freedom Party is well above the 0.33% level, and with continuing voter registration work should remain qualified no matter what the vote in 2018 may be.
PFP-initiated election bill signed into law
By Bob Richard
Posted on September 25, 2014 by the the Communications Committee
On August 22, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2233, which reduces the number of petition signatures required to avoid paying filing fees in special elections to fill vacancies. In special elections, the time available to collect signatures is shorter than in regular elections -- sometimes as short as a couple of days. AB 2233 makes the number of signatures-in-lieu proportional to the time available to collect them.
AB 2233 passed the Assembly by a vote of 70-3 on May 27. It passed the Senate 30-3 and was sent to the Governor on August 7.
In the 2014 June election, candidates had 55 days to collect signatures in lieu of filing fees. In special elections, the time available depends on when the Governor calls the election. There is no minimum number of days. The filing fees and number of signatures vary by office:
- Candidates for statewide office and U.S. Senate need 10,000 signatures in lieu of fees ranging from $2,610 to $3,480.
- Candidates for the Board of Equalization need 5,220 signatures in lieu of the filing fee of $1,305.
- Candidates for State Senate and U.S. House need 3,000 signatures in lieu of fees ranging from $953 to $1,740.
- Candidates for the Assembly need 1,500 signatures in lieu of the filing fee of $953.
Each valid signature reduces the filing fee proportionately, so candidates can qualify by any combination of signatures and fees.
Collecting these signatures in 55 days is hard. Collecting them in 2 or 3 days is impossible. AB 2233 provides that the number of signatures in lieu will be directly proportional to the number of days available to collect them, except that it will never be less than 100 signatures.
This bill might seem like a relatively minor improvement to the state's election law. But it has a double significance for the Peace and Freedom Party.
Joint Statement on Top Two Elections
Posted on May 24, 2013 by the Legislative Committee
This joint statement from the Green, Libertarian and Peace and Freedom parties was distributed to members of the State Legislature on May 23, 2013. This document is available as a PDF here.
Top Two Elections and their Effects on the Smaller Parties
A joint statement from the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Peace and Freedom Party
May 23, 2013
- Top Two makes it much harder and more expensive for candidates of small parties to qualify for the primary election ballot, thereby reducing their number to a record low.
In 2012, the number candidates from the smaller parties running for Congress declined 68% from 2008 (the last presidential year before Top Two) and for state legislature the number declined 72%, resulting in the fewest number of candidates on the primary election ballot from any alternative party since 1966, when only the established Democratic and Republican parties were on the ballot.
Why? Under Top Two, the number of signatures in lieu of filing fees for candidates of the smaller alternative parties have increased drastically (for statewide office, from 150 to 10,000.) Smaller parties do not have the infrastructure to gather large numbers of signatures or pay the filing fees for multiple offices. As a result, the candidates either have to pay expensive filing fees or not run at all, where previously they could gather enough signatures to avoid paying any filing fee. Under Top Two, running for office itself becomes more expensive, because now everyone has to reach the entire electorate in the primary. As a result, the proportionate increase in cost and difficulty is several times greater for candidates of the smaller parties, and the need for such funding and organization comes much earlier -- all of this making it extremely difficult for these candidates to run. There is also a major disincentive to go through such effort (or pay such fees), when the result is that candidates are only on the ballot for less than three months.
SB 52 would improve disclosure of campaign spending
Posted on May 1, 2013 by the Legislative Committee
SB 52 (Leno and Hill), called the DISCLOSE Act by its sponsors, would increase public disclosure of the sources of some campaign funds. The Peace and Freedom Party supports this bill as an improvement, while also calling for public funding of all campaigns. The following testimony supporting this bill was given by State Central Committee member Maureen Smith in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on April 30.
Chairman Correa and Members of the Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee:
The Peace and Freedom Party of Santa Cruz County strongly supports SB 52, The Disclose Act. The more informed the public are regarding who is behind initiatives, the more informed their votes will be.
The Follow -the-Money provisions are critical for disclosure and an improvement over previous legislation.
We hope that someday we will actually have democratic elections in California with an even playing field for multiple parties by having publicly funded elections and proportional representation. Until then, this is a step in the right direction.
Santa Cruz County Chair
AB 1326 would give tax breaks to drone makers
Posted on April 30, 2013 by the Legislative Committee
AB 1326 (Gorell) would give tax breaks to California manufacturers of drone technology. The Peace and Freedom Party opposes this bill. The following testimony opposing this bill was given by State Central Committee member Maureen Smith in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on April 22.
Chairman Bocanegra and Members of the Revenue and Taxation Committee:
The Peace and Freedom Party of California and the Peace and Freedom Party of Santa Cruz County strongly oppose AB 1326 as an unjustified tax revenue giveaway to drone manufacturers and related enterprises in the State of California.
Peace and Freedom Party recommends applying The Precautionary Principle
(if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public
or to the environment
, in the absence of scientific consensus
that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof
that it is not
harmful falls on those taking an act) before any drone legislation is considered. None of the drone legislation, in California or any other states, even mentions or considers safety as an issue.
Please consider the information reported in the following documents:
1. FAA MODERNIZATION AND REFORM ACT OF 2012 , PL. 112-95
2. Business Insider, June 19, 2012 These Expensive Drones Are Actually The Most
Accident Prone Aircraft in The US Airforce
3.Drone Crash Database
4. Congressional Research Service document, dated September 10, 2012, Bart Elias,
Specialist in Aviation Policy; Pilotless Drones: Background and Considerations for
Congress, pp 7-16
5. Nuclear UAV drones could fly for months at a time, James Holloway, April 3, 2013
6. Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct for Drone Operations
7. The Drone Makers and Their Friends in Washington
Peace and Freedom Party
Santa Cruz County Chair