California Lawmakers Pass Bill to Reduce Gifts from Lobbyists

California Lawmakers Pass Bill to Reduce Gifts from Lobbyists

As California legislators prepare to adjourn from a year marked by political scandals, including the federal indictment of two senators on bribery charges, several bills were approved and on their way to Governor Jerry Brown for signing. Among them was the approval of legislation on Friday to reduce the value of gifts that lobbyists are allowed to give to lawmakers and state officials.

Senate Bill 1443 — which seeks to reform the Political Reform Act of 1974 — penned by Sen. Kevin de León (D — Los Angeles), if approved by Brown, would reduce the maximum value of gifts officials can receive from a single source annually to $200 from $440, notes the Sacramento Bee.

The bill comes on the heels of two federal indictments on corruption charges of Senators Leland Yee (D — San Francisco) and Ron Calderon (D — Los Angeles)  

Some of the things SB 1443 would also prohibit state officeholders from accepting are free tickets to:

  • A professional concert, entertainment or sporting event
  • An amateur sporting, theater, concert, or other entertainment event for which the value of the ticket received exceeds $50 dollars
  • A racetrack event
  • A theme park, amusement park, or other similar venues

Additionally, AB 1443 states that candidates vying for elective state office or who hold an elected office would be prohibited from accepting the following: 

  • Golfing green fees, complimentary golf course access, or the equivalent
  • Skiing, hunting, or fishing trips or other recreational outings
  • Spa treatments, spa access fees, or other equivalent complimentary beauty or cosmetic services
  • Cash, gift cards, or cash equivalents

In addition to SB 1443, some other Senate bills which seek to alter the Political Reform Act of 1974 are SB 1441 and 1442 penned by Senator Ricardo Lara. They would ban campaign fundraisers at the homes of lobbyists (which would eliminate the current rule allowing lobbyists to host events that cost up to $500) and require political fundraising committees to submit campaign finance reports four times a year instead of the current twice annual requirement, consecutively.

All of the proposed bills which have been approved by the state Senate must be in Gov. Brown’s possession before September 1, upon which time Brown will have until September 30 to decide whether to sign or veto those bills. Bills of non-urgency that are approved on or before this date will take effect beginning the first of January, 2015. 

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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