On Tuesday morning, Orange County rolled out the first draft of a new ordinance that would require petition gatherers to wear a badge identifying whether they are being paid or if they are volunteering. The ordinance is part of an amendment to the county charter which passed last year with 67%.
The badge must clear state “VOLUNTEER GATHERER” or “PAID GATHERER” and must be displayed clearly on the chest on a 4×3 badge in 30 point font. The badge is part of a push to offer more transparency to those being approached by the petition gatherers on their operation.
The controversial amendment also requires a legal reviews, financial impact statements, and a public hearing in addition to other measures.
Critics of the amendment say that process was already tough enough before the recent changes, including District 5 Commissioner Emily Bonilla.
“This just made it so much harder for people to collect signatures and get anything on the ballot. I just wanted to put that out there.” said Bonilla “This here is great because now you can see what special interests are paying to get petitions past. Hopefully, when people see ‘paid gatherer’ they’ll decide not to sign”.
The measure will now be scheduled for an upcoming public hearing before the Commission takes a vote.
“It’s important for the public to see who’s behind something and who’s paying for it.” said Mayor Teresa Jacobs.