State lawmakers meet again to reevaluate California recall process

Politics

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – State lawmakers held another hearing Monday to explore possible changes to California’s recall process.

The joint Assembly and Senate elections committees met for a second time after Gov. Gavin Newsom defeated the recall effort.

“I come into these discussions with a completely open mind and I have not made any decisions about specific reforms that I might support,” said Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park.

On Monday, lawmakers focused on potential “for-cause” recall requirements, with experts testifying and noting eight states have those requirements in place.

“What seems to be going on in these states that have the cause requirement and have the judicial review is that petitions that are frivolous or that are not based in sound fact are being rejected,” said Mary-Beth Moylan with the McGeorge School of Law.

“For-cause issues are vague, they can be interpreted a thousand different ways, they are ambiguous,” said Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta. “We’re not ever going to be able to come up with the exact reasons that we will allow people to recall.”

The committee also put the spotlight on local recall elections.

Ballotpedia’s editor-in-chief noted that California accounted for about 25% of recalls held across the U.S. in 2021. He also showed school board officials made up the majority of the targets of recalls across the country this year.

“I am one of several highly qualified, knowledgeable and experienced board members I know leaving public service altogether at the end of their current terms,” said Cupertino Union School District Board Member Lori Cunningham, who had been targeted by a recall effort. “I’m really fearful for what this will mean for districts and students all over our state.”

Lawmakers took an hour’s worth of public comment against changes, including from Orrin Heatlie who was the lead proponent of Newsom’s recall effort.

“The constitutional amendments that were written in 1911 were written specifically to keep your hands out of the process,” Heatlie said.

Democrats noted that if any changes are proposed, it will be up to the voters to ultimately decide if they take effect. 

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