SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Questionable campaign practices at the state and local level prompted state lawmakers to approve three reform bills Monday, including one adopted after a lobbyist was fined for hosting fundraisers at his home.
SB1443 would outlaw gifts from lobbyists and reduce the annual overall gift limit for lawmakers from $440 to $200. It also would ban the most extravagant types of gifts, such as sports and concert tickets, for elected officials and legislative staff.
The bill by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, follows $133,500 in fines levied by the state's campaign finance watchdog commission this year against lobbyist Kevin Sloat's firm in part for hosting fundraisers that exceeded what is allowed by state law. Among those entertained at Sloat's Sacramento home were Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and top legislative leaders of both political parties.
The measure was developed by an ethics task force created after criminal charges imperiled three Democratic state senators this year. Sen. Rod Wright was convicted for lying about living inside his district, while Sens. Ron Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco are fighting unrelated federal corruption charges. All three have since been suspended from the Senate.
The measure passed the Assembly without debate, 66-0. It will return to the Senate for a final vote.
Meanwhile, the Senate approved a requirement that campaign ads disclose when paid actors are used as spokespeople.
Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said it is often unclear that a teacher, doctor or other character in a campaign advertisement is in fact portrayed by an actor.
AB510, by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, would require a disclaimer in the campaign commercial if the role is played by an actor. If the person is indeed a bona fide professional, the campaign would have to keep that documentation on file for review by the watchdog Fair Political Practices Commission.
The measure was approved 27-9, with no debate, and returns to the Assembly for a final vote.
Finally, the Assembly approved a bill prohibiting administrators from raising campaign money for the elected school board members and community college trustees that employ them.
AB1431, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, responds to an investigation by U-T San Diego exposing the practice in three separate cases in her district. The Assembly sent the bill to the governor on a 56-17 vote.