Monday, September 18, 2017
Judicial Elections Reform Bill Goes to Governor
By a MetNews Staff Writer
SB 235, a bill to reform judicial elections in California, is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown for signature following final passage by the Legislature on Friday, the last day of the legislative session.
The bill, which had its origin in a Sept. 23, 2014 MetNews editorial, would bar use of inventive ballot designations such as “child molestation prosecution” and “gang murder prosecutor” which have become commonplace in recent years in Los Angeles elections.
A county prosecutor here would be listed as “County of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney” or by a designation applicable to a non-government attorney: “Attorney,” “Attorney at Law,” “Lawyer,” or “Counselor at Law.”
Sponsoring the bill was the Conference of California Bar Associations (“CCBA”). MetNews Co-Publisher Jo-Ann W. Grace, the 2015-16 chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association delegation to the CCBA (successor to the State Bar Conference of Delegates), drafted the original version of the bill and gained unanimous endorsement of it by the 2015 delegates.
Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, carried the bill. It passed the Senate on May 22 by a vote of 34-1 and was approved by the Assembly Thursday 69-7.
On Friday, it returned to the Senate for concurrence in amendments made in the Assembly.
In light of concurrence, the bill goes to the governor. If signed, it will go into effect Jan. 1.
Testifying on behalf of the bill were Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Randolph Hammock and Daniel Lowenthal and by an attorney who ran unsuccessfully last year for the Superior Court, Aaron Weissman of Novian & Novian LLP. Testifying against it was attorney Bradley Hertz who has handled several cases involving challenges to ballot designations.
The bill was endorsed by the California Judges Association, the Alliance of California Judges, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the San Diego County Bar Association, the Los Angeles Times, and the MetNews, as well as several individuals.
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