AB 2607 would allow the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Stanislaus and Merced to develop a three-year pilot program to provide local filers of Form 700-Statement of Economic Interest (SEI), with the option of completing and submitting the document electronically. It would also require participating counties to provide an evaluation of the pilot project to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) which will in turn hand the reports over to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) for evaluation of the pilot project in the form of a report to the Legislature.
“The option of electronic filing will significantly reduce the number of paper copy forms submitted to the filing officer for review and scanning. Currently in Los Angeles County, these documents number in the tens of thousands. The pilot counties will benefit financially through fewer filer errors, faster processing time, less need to follow up with filers to obtain corrected forms, and reductions in postage costs through mass electronic communications,” Assemblyman Mike Davis stated.
Current law requires certain public officials and candidates for some elective offices to file an SEI or Form 700 disclosing their financial interests that may be affected by their actions as public officials. These Statements of Economic Interest are manually completed, signed and mailed to a local filing officer by the appropriate individuals. The paper copies are then reviewed for errors and stored as public documents. In many counties, the information is electronically scanned page by page into a database.
“I am glad that Governor Schwarzenegger has taken leadership on this issue, and am confident that E-filing will be an efficient, secure, and cost-effective way to streamline the way we currently handle SEI documents. Conducting a pilot project will give us the opportunity to vet out the strengths and weaknesses of E-Filing, as it extends into other ‘best-practice’ forms of government management,” Assemblyman Davis concluded.