Gov. Jerry Brown Torpedoes “Paid Political Signature Gatherer” Badges
Paid signature gathers won’t be required to wear badges identifying them as such, thanks to a veto by Gov. Jerry Brown September 7.
The Democratic governor said the bill was “provocative but ultimately unpersuasive” and could set a bad precedent.
“If it is acceptable to force paid signature gatherers to place identifying badges on their chests, will similar requirements soon be placed on paid campaign workers?” Brown wrote in his four-sentence veto message.
“I choose not to go down this slippery slope where the state decides what citizens must wear when petitioning their government.”
Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, the author of the bill – SB 448 – said he was “disappointed” by Brown’s veto of a measure that “would have taken a modest but important step toward fixing” the state’s “broken” initiative process.
DeSaulnier argued that voters would make a more informed decision if they knew a signature gather was paid or a volunteer.
The bill would have required persons paid to circulate an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to wear a badge identifying them as a “paid signature gatherer.”
Such a badge had to be worn on the signature gatherer’s chest “in clear view of all individuals signing or asked to sign the petition.”
The words PAID SIGNATURE GATHERER needed to be in at least 30 point type. (That’s 36 point at left.)
Campaign workers who are paid to circulate petitions are usually compensated based on the number of signatures they gather, receiving a certain bounty — often in the $1.50 range — per signature.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen supported the badge bill.
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