Pacific Media Workers Guild-supported legislation that would require petitions for state and local initiatives, referenda and recalls to include a list of their top funders is before the state Senate after getting the Assembly’s nod in late April.
Author of the measure, Assembly Bill 400, is Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), who chairs the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee.
The bill is one of two aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in the political process that the Guild has endorsed.
The other, Senate Bill 52, would require political campaign organizations to list their top funders prominently on their web sites and in their advertisements. Its principal authors are Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo).
The bills’ summaries, texts and procedural updates are available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.
While acknowledging that many members object on journalism-ethics grounds to the Guild’s siding publicly on political issues, most of those voting at recent joint meetings of the Executive Committee and the Representative Assembly agreed that these bills deserve support because transparency and accountability in the political process are part and parcel of transparency and accountability in government, which are essential to the Fourth Estate’s ability to do its job.
Richard Knee is a member of the Guild’s Legislative/Political Committee.