Following the lead of Los Angeles, state lawmakers have given initial approval to a requirement that candidates for state office provide copies of all campaign mailers and television and radio ads for posting on a state website within 24 hours so the public can review them.
The proposal was made by state Sen.
Padilla noted that a similar program was begun 15 years ago by the city of Los Angeles Ethics Commission and that website is getting 26,000 hits per month.
"Clearly there is an appetitie from the public to view these campaign communications," Padilla told his colleagues.
The postings, which would also include slate mailers and ads by campaign committees separate from candidates, allow voters to see who is paying to sway elections and what their messages are. In Los Angeles, that has disclosed when a candidate sent one message to Democratic voters and another to Republicans. The site also helps the press monitor campaign communications for swifter identification of mailers that are misleading.
The proposal is one of several made this year to provide more "sunshine" on campaigns following the March suspension of Democratic state Sens.
Because the state database would have to be upgraded, Padilla agreed to delay implementation until July 1, 2017. The secretary of state's office said the upgrade and operation of the system would cost $3 million, but Padilla, who is a candidate for secretary of state, said Los Angeles recently sold a copy of its system to Long Beach for $30,000.
"I do believe the $3 million figure is a lot higher than it has to be," Padilla said.
Meanwhile, the state Senate on Thursday approved two other ethics measures, both by Sen.