The Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 858, which reforms the process by which ballot measure titles and summaries are written. SB 858, introduced by Senator Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks) received bipartisan support at the committee hearing on Tuesday. It transfers the duty of preparing the ballot title and summary for a proposed initiative or referendum measure from the Attorney General, a partisan elected official, to the Legislative Analyst, a non-partisan advisor to the Legislature.
There are numerous examples that show biased ballot titles and summary misinformed the voters on what the ballot measure would actually achieve if passed. For example, in 2022, Proposition 22’s ballot title changed from “Changes employment classification rules for app-based transportation and delivery workers,” an accurate description, to “Exempts app-based transportation and delivery companies from providing employee benefits to certain drivers and delivery workers.”
Niello stated, “Fair and transparent elections are a key to a healthy democracy, and SB 858 will give voters non-biased and clear ballot measure titles and summaries to make the choice that they believe is right for California.”
Tuesday’s bill presentation video is available at https://vimeo.com/819210862/ce56ad517a. SB 858 now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.