Blakeslee resurrects bill limiting gifts from lobbyists
June 30, 2011
State Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, is resurrecting a version of a bill that was killed earlier this year limiting gifts legislators can receive from lobbyists. [TheCalifornian.com]
He is co-authoring the bipartisan SB 50 with Sen. Lou Correa, a Democrat from Santa Ana, who is the chair of the Senate Committee on Elections, where he supported a similar bill from Blakeslee in May.
The bill is designed expand the Political Reform Act to ban specific, inappropriate gifts to an elected state official or member of his or her immediate family, according to a statement from Blakeslee’s office.
SB 50 will include a new provision allowing lawmakers to accept tickets to community events and nonprofit organization fundraisers whose tickets are priced under $25.
“Senator Correa and I are serious about reforming the culture of Sacramento,” Blakeslee said. “It’s time to change business as usual.”
Correa and Blakeslee have tapped into growing voter frustration over what is perceived as undue influence lobbyists have over elected officials.
“Enough is enough,” Correa said. “The public is fed up with their legislators getting free tickets, vacations or rounds of golf.”
Specifically, the bill will prohibit elected state officials and their immediate family members from accepting specific gifts of influence and access from lobbyists, lobbying firms and lobbyist employers. The bill also prohibits lobbyists or lobbyists’ employers from making such gifts.
Tickets to theme parks, professional or amateur sporting events that exceed $25 each, admission to theater shows, concerts, gift cards, spa treatments or other recreational outings like golf, hunting, fishing or skiing trips are included in the list of disallowed items.
This is the fourth attempt that Blakeslee has undertaken to limit lobbyists and lobbyist employers from giving gifts that allow unfair access to an elected official.
The previous bills have all been killed in legislative committees amid protests by lawmakers or behind closed doors at the behest of legislative leadership.