Last Updated January 2023
H.R. 2617 (omnibus bill that includes amendments to the Electoral Count Act) was signed into law by President Biden on December 29. The bill does four main things: 1) clarifies that Election Day is Election Day (there will be one day of choosing electors, with no possibility of a later choice). Mandates that state rules for how the election is run must be on the books before Election Day; 2) adds a firm deadline for executives to submit certificates of ascertainment of appointment of electors (no more “safe harbor” or presumptions); 3) raises the objection threshold to one-fifth of the members of Congress (instead of one member of each house of Congress) for counting electoral votes cast in presidential elections; 4) clarifies that the role of the president of the Senate (typically, the vice president) is ceremonial and has no unilateral power to determine whether to count electoral votes.
The new Legislature was sworn into office on Monday, December 5, and reconvened on Wednesday, January 4. The following bills have been introduced in the new session:
AB 13: Would make Election Day a state holiday and repeal universal voting by mail.
SB 52: Would establish the City of Los Angeles Citizens Redistricting Commission to adjust the district boundaries for the Los Angeles City Council.
AB 37: Would eliminate the conditions related to using campaign funds to pay for a security system, and instead allows campaign funds to be used for the reasonable costs of installing and monitoring a home or office electronic security system, and for the reasonable costs of providing personal security, if those costs are reasonably related to the candidate or elected officer’s status as a candidate or elected officer.
SB 29: Would authorize the FPPC to establish and administer a political reform education program as an alternative to an administrative proceeding (urgency bill).
AB 83: Expands the prohibition on a foreign government or foreign principal from making any contribution, expenditure, or independent expenditure to include a “foreign-influenced business entity.” Such entities, if making a contribution, expenditure, or IE, would have to file a statement avowing that it was not a foreign-influenced business entity on the date the contribution, expenditure, or IE was made, and the person receiving the funds cannot use them for a contribution, expenditure, or IE until a copy of the statement is received.
In addition to those previously reported, the Governor also signed the following bills into law back in September:
AB 1783: Expands the definition of “administrative action” to include a decision or approval by the Insurance Commissioner or the Director of the Department of Managed Health Care pursuant to Section 1215.2 of the Insurance Code or Section 1399.65 of the Health and Safety Code, respectively.
SB 794: Allows a political committee that receives a contribution that exceeds a contribution limit to accept the contribution without violating the contribution limit by returning the amount in excess of the limit or by attributing the excess amount to a different election.
SB 1061: Changes the components of the petition for signatures and the election’s timing for when a school district or community college district governing board makes a provisional appointment to fill a vacancy and the voters of the district challenge that appointment.
AB 1307 / AB 2030: Establishes a Citizens Redistricting Commission in the Counties of Riverside and Fresno, respectively.
AB 1848: Requires, for the purposes of drawing district lines for Congress, the State Legislature, and the State BOE, that each incarcerated person in the state be deemed to reside at that person’s last known place of residence.
AB 759: Requires county district attorneys and sheriffs to be elected during presidential election years, instead of gubernatorial election years, beginning with the 2028 presidential primary election.