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Senate approves lower gift limit for lawmakers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The state Senate has approved reducing the gift limit for lawmakers by more than half in an effort to improve the Legislature's image after a string of ethical lapses and criminal charges.

Senators on Monday passed SB1443 by Democratic Sen. Kevin De Leon 34-0, sending it to the Assembly.

The bill reduces the $440 gift limit to $200 while banning all presents from lobbyists. It also bans the most eyebrow-raising perks for state officials, such as massages and tickets to Disneyland. Current law allows monthly gifts of $10 from lobbyists.

De Leon says the legislation is needed “to bolster the public's confidence in California's elected officials.”

Three Democratic state senators who faced serious legal trouble have been suspended while a prominent lobbyist was fined for lavish fundraisers at his home.

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