Weeks after surviving a midterm recall election, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday vetoed for the second time a bill that might have made such attempts more difficult in the future.
He rejected a bill that would bar paying signature gatherers based on the number of signatures they obtain to put a state or local initiative, referendum or recall petition on the ballot.
The measure was carried by state Sen. Josh Newman, who himself was recalled in 2018 before regaining his seat two years later.
Newsom, a Democrat, handily beat back the recall effort last month.
He said in a veto message that he appreciates that the intent of the bill is to promote grassroot support instead of allowing moneyed interests to pay what Newman has compared to a bounty for each signature.
Newman said proponents could still pay signature gatherers by the hour or provide a salary.
But the governor said that paying per signature “remains one of the most economical methods to qualify for the ballot. This measure could therefore make the qualification of many initiatives cost-prohibitive for all but the wealthiest interests, thereby having the opposite effect.”
Democrats who control the Legislature have promised hearings leading to reforms of a recall process that Newsom last month characterized as “weaponized” by opponents of officials at both the state and local level.
Newman said he will propose two constitutional amendments next year, one raising the number of required signatures and another having the lieutenant governor finish the governor’s term if a recall succeeds.
Any such proposals would have to be approved by voters.