State Senate Democrats introduced legislation Monday to change the rules governing recall elections to remove a lawmaker from office, potentially helping one of their own survive an effort now underway in Southern California. The proposal, contained in one of the bills enacting a new state budget, comes after backers of an effort to remove state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) from office have submitted more than 31,000 voter signatures to trigger a special election. “Recalls are designed to be extraordinary events in response to extraordinary circumstances – and it’s in the public’s overwhelming interest to ensure the security, integrity and legitimacy of the qualification process,” said Jonathan Underland, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).
The bill would effectively give people new ways to block recall efforts by allowing a 30-day window for any voters who signed the petition to change their mind and have their signature be removed. Elections officials would then have 10 days to update their tally, and each signature would have to be verified manually. The proposal would then give lawmakers 30 additional days to review the financial impact of a recall election.
In total, all of that could delay any special election to remove a lawmaker by more than two months. And the language of the legislation makes the change apply to the current effort to recall Newman.