The California Senate moved forward Thursday in its effort to keep President Trump off the primary ballot in 2020 unless he releases his tax returns.
The state Senate approved a bill, 27-10, requiring candidates that on the presidential primary ballot to release at least five years’ worth of tax returns. This would include President Trump, who has refused to release his returns, citing that he is under audit.
"We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns,” said Democratic state Sen. Mike McGuire, one of the bill’s co-authors, reports the Associated Press.
Every GOP state senator voted against the measure.
“I get that playing the resistance card may be good politics for the majority party, but I would submit that it’s bad policy for Californians,” Republican state Sen. Brian Jones told AP.
A similar bill was passed in 2017 but was vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who never released his returns while in office.
“While I recognize the political attractiveness – even the merits – of getting President Trump’s tax returns, I worry about the political perils of individual states seeking to regulate presidential elections in this manner,” Brown wrote his veto message. “First, it may not be constitutional. Second, it sets a ‘slippery slope’ precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?”
Whether Gov. Gavin Newsom would sign the bill if it reaches his desk remains to be seen, with a spokesman saying “it would be evaluated on its own merits.”
Other states are pushing similar measures, including New Jersey and Washington.
California's presidential primary is March 3.