There are 12 legislative caucuses within the state Capitol. The groups center around and push for legislation that coincides with their interests, anything from LGBT issues to outdoor sporting concerns. They can also raise money through political action committees.
Steven Boilard is the Executive Director of the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State. He said there’s nothing unethical about caucuses. But he said the groups should spur the public to think a bit harder about how government operates.
“There’s something very circular about legislators who were elected to serve the people’s interest to be involved with something that tries to modify or redirect those interests," he said.
Recently the Latino Caucus has been in the news for its connection to a bribery scandal surrounding Democratic Senator Ron Calderon. The 25-member caucus is viewed as particularly powerful right now. It helped ensure the passage of several key pieces of legislation this year including driver licenses for undocumented immigrants.