Judge issues tentative ruling ordering Attorney General to not mislead voters and prepare a “true and impartial” title and summary for the Repeal of the Gas Tax ballot initiative.
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SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblyman Travis Allen announced that the Sacramento Superior Court has issued a preliminary ruling granting his request that Attorney General Becerra rewrite his misleading title and summary for the Repeal the Gas Tax Initiative.
“This preliminary ruling is a major victory for Californians,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen. “This brings us one step closer to repealing Jerry Brown’s hugely unpopular gas tax. I look forward to the final ruling on Friday, and ensuring that the Repeal the Gas Tax Initiative receives the straightforward ballot title and summary that it deserves.”
Highlights from the preliminary ruling:
“The court agrees with Petitioner that the Attorney General’s title and summary is confusing, misleading, and likely to create prejudice against the proposed measure.”
“The problem with the Attorney General’s title and summary is that an ordinary, reasonable elector, who is otherwise unfamiliar with the initiative, would not be able to discern what the initiative would do”.
“What the initiative would do is to repeal taxes and fees (legislation) expected to raise new revenues. But an ordinary voter reading the Attorney General’s title is highly unlikely to understand this. Rather, the ordinary voter would assume that the sole purpose of the measure is to eliminate (reduce) transportation funding. The title appears to be written to focus attention on the elimination of funding and avoid mentioning “taxes” and “fees.” This is misleading and is likely to create prejudice against the measure”.
“Petitioner’s [Travis Allen’s] proposal shows it is not difficult to write a summary of the initiative in clear and understandable language. And this does call into question why the Attorney General used the confusing language that he did”.
“To avoid misleading the voters and creating prejudice against the measure, the Attorney General must prepare a “true and impartial statement” that reasonably informs voters of the character and real purpose of the proposed initiative in clear and understandable language. The existing circulating title and summary fails this test.”