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Monday, June 8, 2009

Court Rules on What a City Can Spend to Promote Ballot Measures

California Supreme Court Upholds Existing Standards for Public Expenditures on Local Ballot Measures

The Supreme Court's recent decision in Vargas v. City of Salinas reaffirms the Court's holding in Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206, and maintains existing limitations on the expenditure of public funds for materials and activities related to ballot measures. Although the Court rejected the adoption of a proposed bright-line test that would have permitted public expenditures for all communications that were not express advocacy, it provided some useful new general guidance beyond that in Stanson. It also provided helpful specific examples both of acceptable publicly funded communications--by approving the specific expenditures by the City of Salinas at issue in the lawsuit--and of unacceptable communications --by expressly disapproving communications from other cases and from a recent California election. --from Public Law news.

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