A California law that aims to delay a recall election targeting a Democratic senator will remain on hold while judges determine whether it’s legal, a state appellate ruled Monday. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and several activists filed a lawsuit last month saying Democratic legislators violated the California constitution when they changed the state’s recall election law to draw out the process for removing lawmakers from office. The association, the California Republican Party and others are looking to remove Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, from office over his vote for a gas tax increase earlier this year. They challenged new recall rules that give people time to rescind their signature from recall petitions, among other changes. It would likely delay the recall into 2018 and possibly align it with the statewide primary when turnout is higher and potentially friendlier to Newman.
The ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento did not address the legality of the changes but said they cannot be enforced while the court considers arguments from lawyers for all sides. The delay could stymie Democrats’ attempts at pushing back the election.
If county election officials in Southern California certify before the litigation is resolved that organizers submitted enough valid signatures, the recall election will proceed under the existing rules, said Thomas Hiltachk, the lawyer representing the Howard Jarvis association and others who brought the case.
“It’s unfortunate that we had to go through all of this to get the election that the voters have demanded in the 29th Senate District,” Hiltachk said.