Weekly Recap – Election News and Trends February 3, 2014

by Best Best & Krieger LLP
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Below is a recap of last week’s election law news and hot topics:

Voting-rights activists sue Debra Bowen claiming mass exclusions by The Sacramento Bee

February 4 – Voting-rights advocates sued Secretary of State Debra Bowen for voter disenfranchisement on Tuesday, claiming she blocked from the polls tens of thousands of Californians who fall under new categories of criminal-justice supervision.

California Democrats Make Minimum Wage Defining Issue In Election Year by The Huffington Post

February 4 – Democrats will focus on increasing the minimum wage during this election year.

Democrats presenting a populist economic platform have settled on a reliable and potentially potent issue heading into the elections: raising the minimum wage. With Republicans assailing their opponents over the federal health care overhaul, Democrats are tapping income inequality to roust their most fervent supporters and corral the support of middle-class voters who fret about the growing gap between the rich and poor.

2014 California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Cleared for Signature Gathering by Digital Journal

January 31 – Polls indicate that a majority of voters in California favor marijuana legalization.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris released her summary of the final version of the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act (MCLR). The first of its kind grassroots, open source, community-based document is now approved and cleared for signature gathering. MCLR can now attempt to qualify for the November 2014 California ballot.

Has California cured its political dysfunction? Not so fast by The Washington Post

January 30 – Changes to the electoral process in California, including re-drawing district lines and changes to the primary election process, have not made as big an impact as anticipated.

The federal government has been something of a train wreck lately. The shutdown was just the latest in a seemingly endless parade of partisan bickering and dysfunction.

National Commission on Voting Rights Hearing – San Francisco, California by Targeted News Service

January 28 – The National Commission on Voting Rights, whose reports have been relied on in the past by Congress to revamp sections of the Federal Voting Rights Act, is holding a hearing in San Francisco to collect testimony on current voting practices and elections.

The National Commission on Voting Rights, organized by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, is holding a hearing in San Francisco for voters, activists, elections officials and all with a stake in California’s elections. The San Francisco event is part of a series of nationwide hearings being held to collect testimony on the current landscape of voting and elections in the U.S. Over the past few years, numerous states have enacted restrictive voting laws, while many others continue to grapple with recurring election administration and electoral reform challenges.

Rep. Henry Waxman to retire from Congress by Los Angeles Times

January 30 – Congressional Representative Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) announces retirement after 4 decades in Congress.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, whose legislative record has made him one of the country’s most influential liberal lawmakers for four decades, announced Thursday that he will retire from his Westside seat, the latest in a wave of departures that is remaking the state’s long-stable congressional delegation.

Sacramento City Clerk Rejects Petition to Put Arena Subsidy to a Public Vote by PublicCEO

January 27 – The City of Sacramento’s City Clerk rejected a submitted petition for a ballot measure on the proposed multi-million dollar public subsidy for a new Sacramento Kings area on the basis that the petition versions did not comply with the elections code.

In another twist in Sacramento’s arena derangement syndrome, a petition drive to put a public subsidy for the proposed Sacramento basketball arena project to a public vote, has been rejected by the Sacramento City Clerk.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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