Dean Johnson Highlights King Hall Collaboration with Fair Political Practices Commission
Dean Kevin R. Johnson is the subject of a profile published on the website of California Forward, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reform policies regarding fiscal and governmental accountability in California. The article highlights Dean Johnson’s longstanding interest in civil rights, immigration, and public service, as well as UC Davis School of Law’s participation in the Political Reform Act Revision Project, an effort to simplify and modernize the California Political Reform Act (PRA).
Enacted in 1974, the PRA governs political campaigns and election activity in California and serves a national model for campaign finance, lobbying, and election ethics. Since its adoption, the Act has been amended numerous times, resulting in a body of law that the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) — the agency that regulates and enforces the PRA — has deemed overly complex and inconsistent. Last year, the FPPC announced that it would undertake an update of the act.
Dean Johnson recognized that the project provided an opportunity for King Hall students. “Educationally, it was a good thing for our students and consistent with my beliefs in making government better,” Johnson said of the program.
Olga Bykov ’17, Itir Yakar ’17, Dana Cruz ’16, and Raina Shah ’16 have worked under the direction of FPPC Chair Jodi Remke and David Carillo, Executive Director of the California Constitution Center at UC Berkeley School of Law, and in collaboration with four Berkeley law students, on a comprehensive review and revision of the Political Reform Act.
Dana Cruz said the re-draft attempts to simplify the often convoluted language of the Act into "plain English," removes repetitive sections, inserts related regulations, and "essentially rewrites the Act so that it's very straightforward." The draft is under review by the FPPC and will ultimately be forwarded to the Legislature.
Working on the project has been a unique learning experience, Cruz said. "It's not very often that you get the opportunity to get hands-on experience working on legislation that has the potential to impact everyone in the state," said Cruz. "This project can really help to bring greater transparency to the political process and make it easier for the FPPC to do its job, and that's something that will affect 38 million Californians."