California Senate passes bill that would keep Trump off 2020 ballot unless he releases tax returns

The California state Senate on Thursday approved a bill to require candidates appearing on the presidential primary ballot — including President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE — to release five years' worth of income tax returns.

The measure was approved in a 27-10 vote, according to The Associated Press. California, for the first time, will be one of the first states to hold its presidential primary in the 2020 cycle.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bill is a response to Trump's insistence that he will not release his tax returns as presidential candidates traditionally have done, claiming he is under audit. If the bill becomes law and Trump does not release his returns, he may not appear on the California primary ballot.  

"We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire (D) who co-authored the bill, according to the AP. 

All 10 Republicans in the state Senate voted against the bill's passage. 

“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,” Sen. Brian Jones (R) told the wire service. 

The state's legislature passed a similar bill in 2017, but then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who did not release his own tax returns, vetoed the bill. A spokesman for Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Federal judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns Newsom: Nixon and Reagan 'rolling in their graves right now' over what GOP has become MORE (D) told the AP that if the bill was sent to Newsom's desk, "it would be evaluated on its own merits.” 

Other presidential candidates would also be subject to the bill, but several 2020 Democrats have already released their tax returns.

Trump is facing one primary challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldPoll: Bill Weld leads among Trump GOP challengers with 5 percent support Bill Weld is the best possible Trump challenger Mark Sanford debates cardboard cutout of Trump to protest South Carolina canceling its GOP primary MORE (R).  

Similar bills are making their way through the Washington and New Jersey state legislatures.