Senate bill for rules change in California recall petitions clears first committee

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A proposal to change some rules for future recall petitions cleared its first hurdle in the state legislature Monday.

Although the bill won’t affect the current recall process against Gov. Gavin Newsom, some are speaking out against it.

If passed, the rule changes would go into effect in 2021.

Supporters behind the effort to recall Newsom showed up and called into the Capitol to speak out against SB 663.

“You could just let us in the door,” said one bill critic at the Capitol.

The bill would give the targets of future recalls access to names and information of those who signed the petition and extend the amount of time to remove signatures to 45 days.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions and with minimal capacity allowed in hearing rooms, only a handful of witnesses were allowed in the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee hearing Monday.

One of those allowed into hearing was Orrin Heatlie, the lead proponent of the recall against Newsom.

Heatlie said the legislation is an intimidation tactic.

“This is a dangerous and reckless bill,” Heatlie explained. “I think it’s really important that we maintain this process. Even though this won’t affect the Newsom recall, it will affect all future recalls, which is why it’s really important to stop this bill from going forward.”

State Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, created the bill after his own experience being recalled in 2018 and winning his seat back in 2020.

Newman said the targets of a recall should have the opportunity to make sure those who signed a recall petition were not misled.

” Everybody does have a right to privacy, but politics is mostly about advocacy,” Newman told FOX40. “And so when we vote, your vote should be private, right? It should be secret. But when we advocate that’s an inherently public process, although I will allow that we shouldn’t allow people to use this information.”

In Monday’s hearing, Newman said his bill is not relevant to the current recall effort against the governor.

“I will actually accord them the respect that they’ve been nothing if not straightforward with the voters,” Newman said.

The bill cleared the state Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee and heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee for its next likely hearing.

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