Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown again vetoes union-backed restrictions on paid signature gatherers

A union-backed effort to change the signature-gathering process for ballot initiatives was turned away again by Gov. Jerry Brown, who argued in a veto message Thursday that the bill would do little to lessen the grip of powerful interests.

Senate Bill 1094 sought to require that proponents of a statewide initiative use non-paid volunteers to collect at least 5 percent of signatures needed to qualify their initiative. SB 1094 “will not keep out special interests or favor volunteer signature gathering,” Brown wrote.

The bill by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, pushed by the California Labor Federation, was similar to a measure Brown rejected in 2013, saying “the initiative process is far from perfect and monied interests have historically manipulated it at will.”

Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, had contended in a recent Sacramento Bee opinion piece that the qualification process is now a “far cry” from when the state adopted its initiative process in 1911.

Under the bill, volunteers were considered people who belong to a nonprofit whose primary business is not soliciting signatures.

Brown on Thursday also rejected several bills imposing new restrictions on unmanned aircraft systems, including legislation banning drone operations over land managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Brown said those departments can set their own regulations regarding drone use.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago