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MAJ STATE CAPITOL.JPGThe Fair Political Practices Commission plans to create a task force to recommend updates and clarifications to the state's lengthy and complicated campaign laws, agency Chairman Dan Schnur announced today.

Schnur said the move is intended to ensure the 1974 Political Reform Act can "meet the challenges of the 21st Century" and is clear and accessible for candidates and the public.

The task force, which will focus on updating aspects of the law governing campaign activities, will be asked to present its recommendations at the commission's January meeting, with the intention that the Legislature put the suggested revisions to the law on the 2012 ballot.

The co-chairs of the bipartisan panel, which Schnur said would include "reformers and practitioners," will likely be announced later this month.

The announcement was made as Schnur, who was appointed last month to fill the remainder of the term started by former Chairman Ross Johnson, met with reporters to outline his priorities for his remaining six months on the job.

Schnur said the commission will also look to bring more attention to the agency's enforcement activities, pledging to "shine light in real time" on both the potential violations of the campaign laws and frivolous complaints filed as ammo by rival campaigns or interests. The potential for more publicity of FPPC actions during a high-stakes campaign season, Schnur said, would cause potential violators of the law to think twice before crossing the line.

The commission will also tackle clarifying regulations surrounding issue advocacy, which is not subject to the same disclosure requirements as campaign activity expressly advocating for or against a candidate or measure, as well as disclosure for online campaign communications at a meeting next month. Schnur said he also wants the commission to consider modifying disclosure requirements for independent expenditures.

PHOTO CAPTION: California State Capitol in Sacramento, Dec. 25, 2008. Michael Allen Jones / Sacramento Bee file photo


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