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 TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates 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.

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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 NewsomNew York bans discrimination against natural hair California lawmakers pass bill requiring Trump, presidential hopefuls release tax returns to appear on ballot Democratic governors: Exclusion of census citizenship question doesn't mean an end to 'confusion or anxiety' 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: Trump trails Biden and Sanders, beats Buttigieg, Harris, and Warren Republicans more interested in a primary challenge to Trump than Democrats were for Obama in 2012 Trump challenger Weld renews calls for his resignation after comments on political opponent MORE (R).  

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