California lawmakers seeks limits in response to scandals

California legislators approve bills that would restrict gifts, contributions, badges

The state Assembly on Monday approved a measure that would lower the gift limit to elected officials from $440 to $200 and prohibit them from accepting free entry to professional sports and entertainment events, golf tournaments, spa treatments and amusement parks.

The measure by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) is in response to a series of scandals that tarnished the Legislature's image, including criminal charges filed against three Democratic state senators.

The bill “seeks to bolster the public’s confidence in California elected officials,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia  (D-Bell Gardens) told her colleagues before they voted 66 to 0 to approve SB 1443. It now goes back to the Senate for approval of minor amendments.

Two other measures addressing government misconduct were given final legislative approval Monday and sent to the governor. One targets situations in which politicians and law enforcement officials have issued honorary badges to supporters only to have the holder flash them in a way that implies they are a law enforcement official.

Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) introduced SB 702, which increases the fine for impersonating a law enforcement officer from $1,000 to $2,000 and requires agencies to seize badges from those who abuse them.

“They wouldn’t be able to parade it around and misuse it,” Anderson told his colleagues.

The Assembly approved a measure banning school district administrators from raising campaign funds for school board members who oversee them. The bill, AB 1431, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) passed 56 to 17 and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Times staff writer Melanie Mason contributed to this report.

Twitter: @mcgreevy99

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