BB&K In the News Oct 23, 2016

Sacramento Transportation Sales Tax Mailers Stir Questions

Advocacy vs. Informational: BB&K Attorney Jim Priest Discusses with Sacramento Bee

By Tony Bizjak

Several Sacramento County governments recently sent residents mailers about Measure B, the transportation sales tax proposal on the November ballot. Measure B opponents argue these mailers represent an improper use of public funds to try to sway the vote.

The law is clear that governments are not allowed to use public funds to advocate for a “yes” or “no” vote on ballot measures. But the statutes do allow them to educate the public on ballot issues as long as the city or county doesn’t “urge a particular result.”

“It can be a fuzzy line,” said Jim Priest, an election law attorney with Best Best & Krieger in Southern California. He advises his local government clients that put out mailers to keep them factual, with straightforward language, and not offer any hint of which way people should vote. That advice, he said, is based on state court rulings. Such “informational” mailers are common, he and several other election law attorneys said.

Read the entire article, which ran in the Oct. 23, 2016 Sacramento Bee, by clicking here.

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