Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sean Parker Initiative’s hearings in California State Senate are waiting for a signature

According to Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State, on his website:

“Elections Code section 9034 requires that once proponent(s) of a proposed initiative measure have gathered 25% of the number of signatures required (currently 91,740 for an initiative statute and 146,352 for a constitutional amendment) proponent(s) must immediately certify that they have done so under penalty of perjury to the Secretary of State. 

“Upon receipt of the certification, the Secretary of State must provide copies of the proposed initiative measure and the circulating title and summary to the Senate and the Assembly. Each house is required to assign the proposed initiative measure to its appropriate committees and hold joint public hearings, at least 131 days before the date of the election at which the measure is to be voted on. However, the Legislature cannot amend the proposed initiative measure or prevent it from appearing on the ballot.”

The Sean Parker Initiative (SPI), also known as the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” (AUMA), designated 15-0103 by Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Department of Justice (DoJ) and 1762 by the Secretary of State’s Office, reached the 25% threshold needed to trigger the hearings process on February 4th.

This is attested to by AUMA/SPI proponent Michael Sutton, here

The appropriate landing spots for the Secretary of State’s transmission to the Legislature is through the Office of the Chief Clerk of the Assembly and the Office of the Secretary of the Senate. 

A source in the Office of the Secretary of the Senate told Etopia News that that office received the requisite notification and documentation about SPI from the Office of the Secretary of State on February 4th, and then, that day or the next, re-sent it to the Rules Committee.

According to Sandy Wood at the Senate Rules Committee, the bill has not yet been assigned to a substantive committee to become the subject of hearings because the process is “waiting for a signature” from Daniel Alvarez, Secretary of the Senate,

Etopia News has reached out to Secretary Alvarez, and hopes to report soon on his plans for this measure’s progress towards the public hearings mandated by Election Code section 9034.

Rules Committee spokesperson Wood emphasized that no voting is going to be involved in the process.  The law requires that hearings be held (131 days or sooner before the election), but neither the Senate nor the House committees to which it will be assigned can vote to pass it into law.  "There is no vote implied" in the code section mandating the hearings, she said. 

June 30, 2016, is 131 days before November 8, 2016, and is the deadline for holding the hearings. 

Any final decision on whether to pass the SPI would be up to the voters of California, should the measure collect the other 75% of the required petition signatures and appear on the November 8, 2016 ballot.  The Legislature’s function, as outlined in the law, is to hold a joint hearing to provide a forum for public comment on the proposed initiative. 

No doubt testimony on all sides of the issue will be offered during that hearing.  As to when it will take place, we’ll have to wait for a decision and action from Secretary Alvarez and further fine grinding of the legislative gears.

You can see information about AUMA and other pending initiatives that have also achieved the 25% threshold here.

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