Proponents of an initiative to prohibit unions from automatically deducting dues from members' paychecks for political purposes say they've collected more than 900,000 voter signatures in hopes of placing the measure on next year's ballot.
The so-called "paycheck protection" measure would ban contributions to candidate-controlled committees by corporations and labor unions. Contractors that receive government contracts could not donate to the officeholder who awarded the contract.
"This initiative gets to the heart of one of the most corrosive elements in politics: campaign contributions," former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, a supporter of the initiative drive, said in a statement. "For too long, special interest money has dominated our politics, muting the voice of average Californians.
Backers of the proposed ballot measure said they will begin submitting the petition signatures to election officials today. Sample counts must project that roughly 505,000 of those submitted are valid voter signatures in order for the measure to qualify for the ballot.
Proponents are seeking to place the measures on the June primary ballot, when voter turnout for the GOP presidential primary would likely boost their chances of success.
But Senate Bill 202, backed by labor unions fiercely opposed to the proposed initiative, would bump this and other future measures that qualify to the November general election ballot. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure this afternoon.
Attempts to enact a similar ban have failed in recent years, including a 2005 ballot measure championed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Editor's Note: This post has been updated to reflect that the governor signed SB 202. It also has been updated to reflect that the proposal would ban contributions to candidate-controlled committees from corporations and unions. It would limit them for contractors. Updated 3:46 p.m., Oct. 7, 2011. It also incorrectly implied that automatic deductions would be allowed with permission. They would not be allowed at all.