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Ethics Bills Abound After California Senate Scandals
State lawmakers want to reassure the public that most of them operate in good faith. To reinforce that idea they’re introducing a flurry of bills meant to keep elected officials on the right path.
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has introduced a package of five bills today that would, among other things, increase fines for lawmakers convicted of bribery and prevent the use of campaign funds to pay restitution. Garcia says she hopes the discussion on ethical behavior doesn’t stop when the shock of recent corruption scandals wears off.
“I am taking advantage of the opportunity, given what is out there and the need to respond," she said. "But I hope this is more of a precedent for something we’re going to be doing even when we’re not in a crisis mode.”
Another bill, SB 950, introduced today in a Senate committee would extend the statute of limitations on bribery charges.
A group of Senators has also introduced a package of legislation that would ban fundraisers at lobbyists’ homes and prohibit elected officials from accepting gifts from lobbyists.
No Weekend Golf Fundraiser for Calif. Senate Dems
By: Ben Adler
California Senate Democrats are canceling their marquee campaign fundraising event of the year after suspending three of their caucus members facing legal scandals.
But Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says Democrats will continue to raise money for fall campaigns – even though this weekend’s Pro Tem Cup at a San Diego golf course won’t be held.
“Unless and until the public – and we may present this in some form – is willing to really discuss and embrace the notion of public financing, this is the legal and necessary system that we have here,” Steinberg told reporters after the Senate met Tuesday.
Senators voted to suspend Democrats Ron Calderon, Rod Wright and Leland Yee Friday – two days after Yee was charged with bribery and arms trafficking in an FBI sting. Calderon has been indicted in a separate FBI investigation, and a jury has convicted Wright of perjury and voter fraud.
Fair Political Practices Commission chairperson Jodi Remke announced Tuesday that she will step down on Friday. It follows months of acrimony with other commissioners.
California Senator Tony Mendoza Resigns After Sexual Harassment Investigation, But Says He'll Run For Re-ElectionFebruary 22, 2018
His resignation followed an outside investigation, which found that Mendoza likely engaged in "flirtatious or sexually suggestive" behavior with six different women, including former staffers and fellows. The allegations date back to 2007.
Report: California Senator Tony Mendoza ‘More Likely Than Not’ Made Sexual Advances Toward Six WomenFebruary 20, 2018
A summary of the Senate’s outside investigation comes after the chamber’s Rules Committee met in closed session to discuss Mendoza’s fate for the second weekday in a row.
New legislative efforts supporting the “Me Too” anti-harassment movement could change the reporting process for victims filing complaints.
Women in California politics, protesting sexual harassment and abuse at the Capitol, distrust the response from legislative leaders.
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