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Sweeping change afoot for California election laws

League of Women Voters
Flickr / Creative Commons

For Gov. Gavin Newsom's 2021 recall election, voters were faced with two questions on the ballot: Should the governor be recalled? And if he is recalled, who should replace him?

CalMatters reported the proposed constitutional amendment, which passed the Senate on a 31-7 vote and now heads to the Assembly, aims to get rid of that second question. Introduced by Democratic Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton, the measure would allow the lieutenant governor to be installed if a governor is recalled.

By doing so, it would prevent recall campaigns from being hijacked for "political opportunism and gamesmanship," Newman said in a statement, and prevent a candidate who didn't receive a majority of the votes from becoming governor.

After the failed 2021 recall, there was an immediate push to change the rules, but the momentum had evaporated, until this week. If it gets through the Legislature, the amendment would go before voters in November.

As a constitutional amendment, this measure wasn't subject to Wednesday's deadline for bills introduced in 2023 to pass their first chamber. But some didn't make it.

Among them were: Media access: A measure to make real-time police radio communications accessible to the press and public. Sponsors said it would help residents prepare for emergencies related to shootings, crashes and natural disasters.

Youth tackle football, a bill to ban kids age six and under (amended from 12 when it was originally introduced) from playing tackle football didn't reach the goal line. Parent groups pushed back and Gov. Newsom vowed to veto the measure.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.