In a letter sent to key state lawmakers, the Peace & Freedom Party is asking legislators to introduce the PFP’s proposed 2021 legislation because smaller parties have “no representation” despite “receiving up to a million votes” in each recent election.
Noting the Peace and Freedom Party was formed more than 50 years ago and has run over 400 candidates in efforts to provide alternatives to the two larger parties, Peace and Freedom Party legislative liaison C.T. Weber charged that “election laws are made by those in power and structured to maintain a ‘two-party system.’”
Weber, in the letter to lawmakers, stated that “Peace and Freedom Party has been an early advocate for voting rights for those who are non-citizens, under 18 years of age, and in prison or parole for a felony conviction ... a proponent of decent housing for everyone: including homeless solutions and renters and homeowners protections from unjust evictions.”
The Peace and Freedom Party said it is requesting “support [from] fair-minded legislators to introduce one or more of our proposals in bill form,” including political party representation in the California State Legislature; legislation to allow non-citizen parents and guardians the right to vote in school district elections; and matching the rental exemptions of Costa-Hawkins with those in AB 1482.
A summary of the proposed legislation follows. Click on the appropriate header for a PDF copy of the letter submitted.
• Political Party representation in the State Legislature
This proposal would establish “party representatives” to serve in the state legislature to represent the interest of their political party. This proposal is intended to provide representation to the many Californians whose political views are systematically excluded from being represented. This proposal is a small step to correct that deficiency. These “party representatives” would be elected by either their parties’ state central committees/council, or preferably their parties’ registered voters during their state central committees/council elections. These representatives would not be members of the legislature per se and as such would not have votes. However, they would be able to introduce legislation, participate in debates, and serve on various standing committees.
There are precedents of non-voting members serving on legislative bodies. For example, the U. S. House of Representatives has non-voting members from our five territories and the District of Columbia. They serve, as do all the other members, except they are not entitled to vote on the bills. Also, in California there are provisions for non-voting student members to serve on school boards
• Match the rental exemptions of Costa-Hawkins with those in AB 1482
Currently, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act forbids local rent control ordinances from applying to housing first occupied after 1995 (or earlier if there was an earlier cutoff in effect in the jurisdiction in 1995). The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act also forbids local rent control ordinances from applying to single-family homes, including condominium units.
As of January 1, 2020, the recently adopted AB 1482 will generally limit annual rent increases to 5% plus inflation and require just cause for evictions, but provides that local ordinances with stricter provisions supersede it. AB 1482 also exempts from its provisions housing that was first occupied less than 15 years ago, and single family homes and condos, except for those owned by corporations.
Consequently, in cities with rent control ordinances, there are at least three different categories of rental housing, that subject to the local rent control ordinance, that subject to the protections of AB 1482, and that not subject to any rent or eviction control. This can create confusion about what protections apply to what properties, making it difficult for tenants to be aware of their rights and landlords of their responsibilities, and to eliminate it cities may want to amend their local rent ordinances to cover the properties in their cities newly subject to the provisions of AB 1482. However, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act prevents them from doing so.
This bill would modify the required exemptions of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act to match the exemptions of AB 1482. It would change the required new construction exemption to require that local rent ordinances exempt housing first available for occupancy less than 15 years ago, and it would change the required single-family home exemption to no longer apply to single-family homes and condos that are owned by corporations.
• Legislation to allow non-citizen parents and guardians right to vote in school district elections
Currently, under the California Constitution and the Elections Code, US citizens 18 years of age or older who are not imprisoned are entitled to vote in federal, state and local elections in California. Some special districts have property-owner voting, in which owners of property in the district or their representatives may vote, whether or not they are citizens, and resident registered voters who don't own property in the district may not.
The California Constitution grants charter cities plenary authority over their elections, including those of school districts organized under the city's charter. The City and County of San Francisco has used this authority to allow non-citizen parents or guardians of students in the San Francisco Unified School District to vote in the district's elections. Other charter cities with school districts organized under the charter now have the authority to also allow non-citizen parents or guardians of students in the school district to vote in school district elections, but school districts not organized under city charters do not have such authority.
This bill would grant all school districts in the state the authority to allow non-citizen parents or guardians of students in the district to vote in its elections. Additionally, school districts that cover less than an entire county may face logistical obstacles in working with county election officials to provide for non-citizen parents in part of a county to vote in school district elections (but not other elections), but not in other parts of the county. This bill would establish procedures by which school districts and county election officials can cooperate to implement voting by non-citizen parents.