California Function Limitations

The California Government Code, Title 9, Chapter 9, has a series of code sections related to elected office. Chapter 9 contains sections 89000 through 89003. Section 89000 provides that the order of names of candidates on the ballot at each election shall be determined regardless of whether the candidate is an incumbent.

Section 89001 prohibits the sending of any newsletter or other direct mail at public expense. Section 89002(a) prohibits a shipment if all of the following criteria are met:

  • A sent item is delivered, by any means, to the addressee at the addressee’s home, place of work or business or at the addressee’s post office box.
  • The item delivered to the recipient must be a tangible item, such as a videotape, recording or button, or a written document.
  • The item sent depicts either an elected official affiliated with the agency producing or sending the direct mail, or includes the name, office, photograph, or other reference to an elected official affiliated with the agency producing or sending the direct mail, and is prepared or sent in consultation, consultation, coordination or consultation with the elected representative.
  • All distribution costs are paid with public money or design, production and printing costs.
  • More than 200 substantially similar items are sent in a single calendar month, excluding any item sent in response to an unsolicited request.

However, Section 89002(b) provides that mass mailing of the following items is not prohibited:

  • An item in which the elected official’s name appears only on letterhead or logotype on letterhead, forms, including “For Your Information” or “Compliments From” cards or stamps, and the envelopes of the sending agency or a committee of the agency, or of the elected officer, or in a list containing the names of all the elected officers of the agency.
  • A press release sent to members of the media.
  • An item sent in the ordinary course of business from one government entity or agent to another government entity or agent, including all local, state, and federal agents or entities.
  • An intra-agency communication sent in the normal course of business to employees, officers, deputies and other personnel.
  • An item sent in connection with payment or fundraising by the agency sending the shipment, including tax bills, checks, and similar documentation, in any case where use of name, the position, title or signature of the elected official is necessary for the payment or collection of funds.
  • Any item sent by an agency responsible for administering a government program, to persons subject to that program, in any case where the sending of the item is essential to the operation of the program, the item does not include the photograph of the elected official, and the use of the name, function, title or signature of the elected official is necessary for the operation of the program.
  • Any legal notice or other material sent pursuant to law, a court order, or an order passed by an administrative body pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act and in which the use of name, title, title or signature of the elected official is required in the notice or other correspondence.
  • A phone book, organizational chart, or similar list or list that includes the names of elected officials as well as other people in the agency sending the mail, in which the name of each elected official and listed individual appears in the same size of characters, the same font, and enter the color.
  • Specific announcements of certain meetings or events.
  • An agenda or other writing that must be made available, or a bill, record, history, journal, committee analysis, hearing analysis, provisional hearing agenda or special of a committee of the Legislative Assembly, or an index of legislation, published by the Legislature.
  • A business card that does not contain the elected official’s photograph or more than one mention of the elected official’s name.

In addition, Section 89002(c) provides definitions for the following terms: “Agency-affiliated elected officer”; “Has an elected officer”; “substantially similar”; and “Unsolicited request”.

Section 89003 prohibits the sending of a mass mailing within 60 days before an election by or on behalf of a candidate whose name will appear on the ballot in that election, except as provided above .

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