Proposed Initiative Enters Circulation

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 Amends Child Dependency and Custody Hearing Procedures. Initiative Statute.
SACRAMENTO :  Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber announced that the proponent of a new initiative was cleared to begin collecting petition signatures on July 2, 2021.
The Attorney General prepares the legal title and summary that is required to appear on initiative petitions. When the official language is complete, the Attorney General forwards it to the proponent and to the Secretary of State, and the initiative may be circulated for signatures. The Secretary of State then provides calendar deadlines to the proponent and to county elections officials. The Attorney General’s official title and summary for the measure is as follows:
AMENDS CHILD DEPENDENCY AND CUSTODY HEARING PROCEDURES. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Amends certain laws regarding child dependency and custody proceedings to provide a right to jury trial, including in hearings to terminate parental rights, establish guardianship, or make permanent prior temporary custody placements, and increase burden of proof for allegations against parents in hearings to terminate parental rights. Authorizes specified parties to reopen closed dependency court proceedings where a jury trial was not provided, in order to seek modification of prior orders regarding the permanent placement of children. Provides children a right to counsel of their own choice in dependency court. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Unknown fiscal impact on state courts that would depend significantly on how the measure is interpreted and implemented by the courts and the number of individuals who choose to reopen closed juvenile dependency cases. Potential unknown increase in county costs – some or all of which could be shifted to the state – that would depend on various factors including the number of individuals who choose to reopen closed juvenile dependency cases. (21-0004A1.)
The Secretary of State’s tracking number for this measure is 1898 and the Attorney General’s tracking number is 21-0004A1.
The proponent of the measure, Karena A. Feng, must collect signatures of 623,212 registered voters (five percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the November 2018 general election) in order for the measure to become eligible for the ballot. The proponent has 180 days to circulate petitions for the measure, meaning the signatures must be submitted to county elections officials no later than December 29, 2021. The address for the proponent is 24 Bosworth Street, San Francisco, CA 94112. The proponent did not provide additional contact information.

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