Push for more disclosure on state political ads dies in Legislature

Push for more disclosure on state political ads dies in Legislature
Voters cast their ballots as swimmers take laps at Echo Park Pool in November 2012. A bill to require more disclosure for the financial supporters for political advertising died in the Legislature on Friday. (Brian van der Brug /L.A.Times)

Democratic legislative leaders on Friday pulled a bill that would have required greater disclosure of the major financial supports of political advertising for ballot measures, saying the measure did not have the votes to pass this session.

The bill, SB 52, would have required the three largest financial backers of television and print advertisements, and the two largest backers of radio and robocall ads, to be clearly identified. The intent of the bill was to prevent financial backers from hiding their identities by having their financial support funneled through obscure political committees.

The measure needed a two-thirds vote to pass in both the Senate and Assembly, which it did not have, according to the bill’s author, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). The measure was opposed by Republicans and some labor unions.

Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said labor's opposition meant they could not even get a Democrat in the Assembly to present the bill.

"Labor has made it a priority, so we can't even get a floor jockey" Hill said.

Democrats lost a two-thirds majority in the Senate because of the suspension of three lawmakers currently facing possible prison time for criminal wrongdoing.

Both Leno and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said they would attempt to revive the measure next legislative session.

"Our work to help ensure that voters are able to make fully-informed decisions at the ballot box clearly is not yet done,'' Leno said.

Twitter: @mcgreevy99 

Times staff writer Melanie Mason contributed to this report.