The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 14, 2011
Controller asks Jerry Brown to sign 'good government' bills

110914 legislation bill feather graphic.JPGState Controller John Chiang is pressing Gov. Jerry Brown to sign two politically popular bills that aim to tighten up ethics at California's two biggest public pension funds. Chiang, who sits on the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS, sponsored both measures.

The controller made his pitch to Brown in two letters delivered to the governor's office on Tuesday .

Senate Bill 439 would would lower annual gift limits $420 per person to $50 if the gift giver is contracted or trying to get a contract with the funds. (CalPERS instituted an in-house no-gifts policy a while back.)

Lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly passed it by a combined 118-0 vote. (Read Chiang's letter supporting SB 439 by clicking here.)

Assembly Bill 873 would lengthen how long CalPERS or CalSTRS employees and board members must wait before they can contact their former employer for business purposes. The toughest provision targets fund board members and executives who would be prevented "from accepting compensation as a placement agent in connection with investments or other business of CalPERS or CalSTRS" for 10 years after they leave.

AB 873 also cleared the Senate and Assembly with a total vote tally of 118-0. (Clicking here opens Chiang's letter about the measure.)

The only public figure that we've heard criticize the measures is CalPERS board member J.J. Jelincic. Employees at both funds have been unhappy with the bills, too. The gist of those criticisms is that the Chiang-sponsored bills are political pandering and overreaction to a bribery scandal involving former CalPERS board members and executives.

Brown has until Oct. 8 to sign the measures into law. If he does, they would take effect Jan. 1, 2012.

IMAGE: www.leginfo.ca.gov

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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