McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

In California’s Government Code there are a number of sections of law that prohibit specified political activities of public employees.

Government Code section 3201 specifies that the Legislature makes a finding that political activities of public employees are of significant statewide concern and that the provisions of this section of the law supersede all other provisions of general law on this topic.

Section 3202 specifies that this area of the law applies to all officers and employees of either a state or a local agency and defines those terms. Section 3203, with certain exceptions,basically says that no restriction is to be placed on the political activities of any officer or employee of a state or local agency unless it’s necessary to meet federal law.

Section 3205 essentially prohibits an officer or employee of a local agency from soliciting, directly or indirectly, a political contribution from any officer and employee of that agency or from a person on an employment list, et cetera. Now, this same prohibition applies to candidates for elected office of a local agency, and a violation of this section is punishable as a misdemeanor.

Then section 3206 specifies that no officer or employee of a local agency may participate in political activities of any kind, while he or she is in uniform. Section 3207 provides that any city, county, or a city and county in San Francisco’s case, may prohibit or otherwise restrict officers and employees engaging in political activity during working hours, or political activities on the premises of the local agency.

Section 3208 states that the limitations in this area of the law are the only restrictions on the political activities of state employees.

You can find a full transcript of today’s podcast here.