California State Court of Appeals Says 2012 Bill, Altering Order of State Ballot Measures, Was Erroneously Permitted to Take Effect ImmediatelyJanuary 18th, 2013
On January 18, the California State Court of Appeals released a 14-page opinion, finding that AB 1499, which was signed into law in 2012, was improperly permitted to go into effect immediately. AB 1499 changed the order in which statewide ballot measures appear on the ballot. Because AB 1499 went into effect immediately, it caused the November 2012 ballot to be different than it would otherwise have been. The bill caused the Governor’s initiative to raise taxes to be listed first among all the statewide measures, and put a competing tax increase measure near the bottom of the list of statewide ballot questions.
The California Constitution says bills don’t take effect immediately unless they pass with a two-thirds majority in each house, and AB 1499 did not obtain such support in the legislature. But the Constitution makes an exception for budget bills. AB 1499, when passed, made an appropriation of $1,000. But the decision says that AB 1499 (in the form in which it passed) did not exist when the state budget passed, so AB 1499 cannot be considered part of the budget. The decision has no effect on the 2012 election, and only influences future events. The decision is Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v Bowen, C071506. Here is a news story about the decision.