Two legislators are reviving a failed attempt to ban corporations and interest groups from showering elected officials with tickets to expensive events and other pricey gifts.
Sens. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, and Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, have teamed up to author Senate Bill 50, which would prohibit lawmakers and their family members from accepting tickets to sporting events and concerts, gift cards, spa treatments, golf trips and other vacations from lobbyist employers. Some tickets valued at less than $25 would still be permitted under the legislation.
"Enough is enough. The public is fed up with their legislators getting free tickets, vacations, or rounds of golf," Correa, who heads the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, said in a statement.
Current law allows legislators and statewide elected officials to accept up to $420 in gifts each year from an individual source. Presents from registered lobbyists are capped at $10 a month. Lawmakers reported receiving more than $520,000 in gifts in 2010, including event tickets, expensive meals and even hundreds of bottles of pink nail polish.
A gift ban bill introduced by Blakeslee earlier this year cleared one Senate committee but died after it was routed to the Appropriation Committee suspense file, which contains legislation estimated to cost the state more than $50,000. The new proposal, introduced as a gut-and-amend to existing legislation by Correa, is based on the earlier Blakeslee bill.
"Senator Correa and I are serious about reforming the culture of Sacramento. It's time to change business as usual," Blakeslee said in a statement.
This bill marks Blakeslee's fourth attempt at passing a gift ban for legislators. The previous three versions have failed to make it to a floor vote.