It has been a scandal-scarred 2014 so far for the Legislature. A legal storm has cost Senate Democrats their supermajority, culminating in the suspension of three members Friday. And the alleged wrongdoing hasn't been limited to elected officials, with a powerful lobbying firm earning a record-setting fine by the Fair Political Practices Commission.
Today, a package of political ethics bills by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, introduced in the wake of the Sloat fine (but before Sen. Ron Calderon was indicted), comes before the Assembly Elections committee (1:30 p.m., in room 444). Most relevant to the FPPC's action is Assembly Bill 1673, which would bar lobbyists from hosting fundraisers at their homes.
The Senate is mulling a similar package of campaign-finance measures, including a bill that would prohibit the home fundraisers. Unlike with Garcia's package, the Senate push came with the blessing of legislative leaders who announced the effort at a press conference back in the more innocent, pre-arrest of Sen. Leland Yee days.
VIDEO: A 2013 special election that at the time seemed relatively inconsequential at the time has taken on huge significance, Dan Walters says.
SCHNUR THING: Lest there be any doubt that secretary of state candidate Dan Schnur would cite the cascading scandals in his campaign, the former FPPC chair plans to discuss the "Capitol culture of corruption" during a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the Stutzman Public Affairs office today. Yee allegedly took campaign cash from undercover FBI agents, fueling the arguments of Schnur and other critics that perpetual fundraising is an urgent problem.
ANTI-ANTIBIOTICS: You may recall reading about a pair of bills intended to limit feeding antibiotics to livestock, spurred by concerns about a new generation of drug-resistant bugs. The less sweeping of the two bills, this one by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is up in the Senate Agriculture Committee today at 9:30 a.m.
REGISTRATION CONSTERNATION: Are you a registered independent? Are you sure? Thousands of Californians trying to distance themselves from partisan affiliation instead register with the right-wing American Independent Party, according to a "Don't Be AIPrl Fooled" voter-information campaign being launched today with a mass email blast to AIP-registered voters.
PHOTO: Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens during session in the Assembly chambers on March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.