Document:California Press Release 13 July 1999 R.I.P to Third Party Killer Bill

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: July 13, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200

R.I.P. to 'third party killer' bill, thanks to Libertarian lobbying efforts

SACRAMENTO -- A ballot access bill opposed by the Libertarian Party of California was finally defeated yesterday after months of intense lobbying, the party announced today.

The bill, SB 365 by Senator John Lewis (R-Orange), would have complicated the signature-gathering process for candidates, creating the strong probability that fewer third party candidates would qualify for the California ballot.

Sponsored by the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials, the bill failed to receive the four votes required for passage in the Assembly Elections Committee yesterday and is considered dead for this legislative session.

"We are elated that all our hard work has paid off," declared Libertarian state executive director Juan Ros, who led the lobbying efforts. "Libertarians have spoken loud and clear, and the winners are the voters of California who will continue to have the freedom to choose from as many different candidates and viewpoints as possible in the ballot booth. May SB 365 rest in peace."

Richard Winger, editor of "Ballot Access News" newsletter, added, "This shows that third parties do have a lot more legitimacy than they did twenty years ago. The entire electoral process benefits from the presence of third parties, and it is wrong to weigh them down with additional burdens."

After the Senate passed the bill on May 25 without a single dissenting vote, Libertarians bombarded members of the Assembly Elections Committee with phone calls, faxes, and e-mails. In addition, Ros alerted members of the Green and Reform Parties, who also joined the fight.

SB 365 stalled in the Assembly on June 24 following opposing testimony by Ros. The bill was then granted reconsideration, which resulted in yesterday's final 2-0 vote. The bill must begin the process again from scratch if it is to be considered again next year.

"We'll be keeping watch just in case the bill comes back to life, but we're confident that legislators have gotten the message," Ros stated. "We will oppose all legislation that is detrimental in any way to third parties."

According to Ros, the savings to third parties are immeasurable. "If SB 365 had passed, third parties would have had to expend scarce resources on signature gathering and filing fees. This bill's defeat represents long-term financial savings for third parties that can't be quantified."

What will Libertarians do now? "Throw a victory party," Ros answered. "That's something Libertarians will be getting used to from now on."