Capitol Alert

AM Alert: FPPC seeks input on Political Reform Act overhaul

Jodi Remke, chair of the FPPC, center, flanked by Commissioners Patricia Wynne, left, and Eric Casher, conduct business on Nov. 20, 2014 in Sacramento.
Jodi Remke, chair of the FPPC, center, flanked by Commissioners Patricia Wynne, left, and Eric Casher, conduct business on Nov. 20, 2014 in Sacramento. rpench@sacbee.com

Watergate gave us more than a storyline for one of the best journalism movies of all-time – the ensuing political uproar and backlash also helped inspire voters to pass California’s Political Reform Act.

The act appeared on the ballot in 1974 and created the Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces laws related to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying, and ethics that apply to nearly every elected government official in California. Forty years later, the political watchdog is steering a rewrite of the act to clean up and clarify language that has made it “overly complex, cumbersome and sometimes contradictory” over time, in the words of Jodi Remke, chair of the FPPC.

The agency earlier this year commissioned UC Berkeley and UC Davis law students to study the act and suggest recommendations to increase compliance. Now the agency and the non-profit California Forward are entering the public input stage and hosting a webcast to explain their intent to modernize the law. The FPPC hopes to release a draft of the rewrite in early August and push the California Legislature to enact the changes next year. Click here to watch the webcast live at 10 a.m.

PROP. 62: It’s hard to imagine a better advocate for death penalty reform than Ron Briggs, someone who considered himself the “biggest proponent” of court-mandated executions and helped craft an initiative to expand California’s death row in the late 1970s.

Briggs says his perspective changed after observing the realities of the system, citing a financial burden on taxpayers, failure to deter crime or give justice to victims’ families.

Proponents of Proposition 62, a ballot measure to swap the death penalty with life in prison, say Briggs will share a stage with two men who served decades behind bars for murders they didn’t commit and several other supporters at a press conference in Downtown Los Angeles at 11 a.m.

TRUMP TRAIL: With just a few days left before Republicans flood Cleveland, the party’s presidential frontrunner Donald Trump continues his Southern California tour with an appearance at a dinner fundraiser in toney Bel Air. The controversial candidate is widely expected to announce his running mate this week.

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