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California lawmakers approve legislation requiring greater disclosure in political campaigns

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SACRAMENTO, California — California lawmakers are sending legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown to force greater disclosure in political campaigns, passing two bills Thursday aimed at giving voters more information about who is paying for campaigns and appearing in commercials.

The state Assembly approved AB400, which requires initiative, referendum or recall petitions being circulated for signatures to clearly state the top five donors who contributed more than $10,000 apiece to fund the campaign. The legislation by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, passed 47-22.

Democrats said the legislation ensures that voters at least know who is supplying millions of dollars to fund an initiative campaign. Republicans opposed the bill. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said campaign finance disclosure laws already require campaigns to report donations, and those can be easily found online.

The Assembly also approved AB510 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, which requires campaign commercials to disclose when paid actors appear in ads as doctors, teachers or other professionals.

Ammiano's term in the Assembly ends this year. He joked that when the legislative session ends next week, "I won't be an Assembly member, but I will play one on TV." The bill passed 54-17.

Both bills now go to the Democratic governor for consideration.

Among the other legislation lawmakers approved Thursday was:

— SB1183 by Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, which would allow cities, counties or regional park districts to impose an annual vehicle registration surcharge of up to $5 until Jan. 1, 2025, to pay for bike lanes and trails. The bill passed the Senate 24-9 and goes to the governor.

— SB926 by Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, which extends the statute of limitations to report alleged childhood sexual abuse to the victim's 40th birthday instead of the current deadline of their 28th birthday. The bill passed the Assembly 73-0 and goes to the governor.

— SB828 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, which bars the state from helping a federal agency to collect electronically stored information or metadata if the state "has actual knowledge that the request constitutes an illegal or unconstitutional collection" of electronic data. The bill passed the Assembly 73-0 and returns to the Senate.

— SB610 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, making it harder for corporations to cancel franchise agreements. Jackson and other supporters say the measure would protect small-business owners from having their livelihoods taken away and there was heavy lobbying on the bill. Senators approved it 23-9 on a party-line vote, sending it to the governor.

— AB1646 by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles to add points to someone's driving record for talking on a cellphone or texting while driving, and adding the topic to the driver's license application test. The bill passed the Senate 32-3 and now returns to the Assembly for a final vote.


Associated Press writers Judy Lin and Don Thompson also contributed to this report.

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