California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday vetoed a bill that would have made it a misdemeanor to pay a person money “or any other thing of value based on the number of signatures obtained on a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition.”
The misdemeanor would have been punishable by a fine of up to $25,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both. The bill did not prohibit payment whose calculation did not depend on the number of signatures gathered.
In his veto statement, Newsom said that while he appreciated the bill’s goal of incentivizing “grassroots support for the initiative process,” he believed that “this measure could make the qualification of many initiatives cost-prohibitive, thereby having the opposite effect.”
“I am a strong supporter of California’s system of direct democracy and am reluctant to sign any bill that erects barriers to citizen participation in the electoral process,” Newsom concluded.