Gov. Brown signs bill aimed at public officials convicted of felonies


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Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that he has signed legislation that permanently bans elected officials and others from running for elective office in California if they are convicted of a felony involving a violation of the public trust.

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) said he wrote the measure to clarify a law that already prohibits those convicted of specific felonies from holding elective office. The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, says people cannot run for office if convicted of accepting a bribe or committing voter fraud or perjury.


Similar legislation introduced last session was seen by some in the Capitol as a jab by Fuentes at a political foe, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, who faces charges of perjury and voter fraud after prosecutors allege he lied about living in a house in Panorama City so he could run for his council seat.

Alarcon has denied wrongdoing and is awaiting trial as he runs for the Assembly seat that Fuentes must vacate because of term limits. Fuentes has endorsed his own chief of staff, Raul Bocanegra, in the race.

The first bill did not reach the governor. The bill signed Monday only applies to those charged and convicted after Jan. 1, 2013, which would not include Alarcon because he has already been charged. An aide to Fuentes said the measure is meant to address a broader problem. That is reflected in Fuentes’ comment on the governor’s action.

‘Unfortunately we’ve seen recently in the cities of Los Angeles, Hawthorne, Bell and Vernon, public officials have been accused or convicted of misusing their authority and violating the public’s trust,’ Fuentes said in a statement. ‘We can show our constituents that we understand their concerns about public corruption with AB 2410.’


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento