Document:California Press Release 24 June 1999 Libertarians Stop Third Party Killer Ballot Access Bill for Now

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: June 24, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200

Libertarians stop 'third party killer' ballot access bill -- for now

SACRAMENTO -- A ballot access bill opposed by the Libertarian Party of California was stalled in committee today following opposing testimony from the Libertarians, the party announced.

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

The bill stalled in the Assembly Elections Committee today on a 2-0 vote, with five committee members present but not voting. Four votes were needed to move the bill out of committee.

"This is a tremendous victory for all third parties in California," declared Libertarian state executive director Juan Ros, who testified against the bill at today's hearing. "Third parties provide voters with a true alternative and today's committee vote keeps that alternative alive."

Ros cautioned that the "third party killer" bill is not quite dead. Senator Lewis' representative made a "motion to reconsider" at today's hearing, meaning there is still a chance the bill might be given a rehearing. "The battle is not quite over and we will remain vigilant to see what happens next," Ros said. "SB 365 isn't dead, but it is certainly on life support right now." The rehearing, if it occurs, would take place July 12.

Ros credits Libertarian, Green, and Reform Party members, who lobbied the Assembly Elections Committee via phone, fax, and e-mail over the last week urging a "no" vote on the bill. "The individual lobbying efforts of third party members have paid off, and I thank everyone who contacted the committee members," Ros said.

Interestingly, the two committee members who voted in favor of the bill were the two Republicans on the committee: Vice Chair Peter Frusetta (R-Tres Pinos) and Dick Dickerson (R-Redding), who was substituting for committee member Bruce Thompson (R-Fallbrook). The five Democrats on the committee did not vote on the bill, which is being sponsored by the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials.

"Politics makes strange bedfellows, and we thank the Democrats on the committee for not supporting this bill," Ros commented. "We don't care what their reasons were -- their actions were more than welcome."

Are the Libertarians willing to work with Senator Lewis on compromise language? "We are open to any amendments the senator wants to propose," Ros noted, "but we aren't holding our breaths. If the amendments are detrimental to third parties in any way, we will oppose them."