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 TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove 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.

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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 NewsomAnti-vaccine protester charged after allegedly throwing menstrual blood at California lawmakers California could become next no-kill state as governor puts budget funds toward ending euthanizing California governor proposes 2 billion budget 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) WeldWeld says Trump wants reporters to 'roam free' in Iran, but not US Trump primary challengers left off Wisconsin ballot Bannon: 'We need the Republican establishment on board' to reelect Trump MORE (R).  

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