FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2021
SOS Press Office
Proposed Initiative Enters Circulation
Allows for Jury Trials in Child-Custody and Dependent-Child Determinations. Initiative Statute.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber announced that the proponents of a new initiative were cleared to begin collecting petition signatures on April 1, 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 proponents and to the Secretary of State, and the initiative may be circulated for signatures. The Secretary of State then provides calendar deadlines to the proponents and to county elections officials. The Attorney General’s official title and summary for the measure is as follows:
ALLOWS FOR JURY TRIALS IN CHILD-CUSTODY AND DEPENDENT-CHILD DETERMINATIONS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Gives parties in child-custody matters the right to demand that a jury, rather than a judge, determine who receives legal custody of the child. Prohibits the judge from rejecting a jury’s joint-child-custody decision. Provides that findings in dependent-child proceedings, in which a juvenile may be declared a dependent of the court, can be made by a judge or jury. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Unknown ongoing net fiscal impact on state courts that would depend significantly on (1) how the measure is interpreted and implemented by the courts and (2) how individuals respond to the ability to demand a jury trial in child custody and juvenile dependency jurisdictional hearings. Potential ongoing increase in county costs that could reach the low millions of dollars annually related to juvenile dependency jurisdictional cases—some or all of which could be shifted to the state. (21-0001.)
The Secretary of State’s tracking number for this measure is 1895 and the Attorney General's tracking number is 20-0001.
The proponents of the measure, Wylmina Hettinga and Stephen D. Konnoff, 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 proponents have 180 days to circulate petitions for the measure, meaning the signatures must be submitted to county elections officials no later than September 28, 2021. The address for the proponents is 630 Quintana Road #145, Morro Bay, CA 93442. The proponents did not provide additional contact information.