MOORPARK : Council OKs Law on Price Gouging

Disturbed by reports of price gouging in the county after the earthquake, the Moorpark City Council has approved a new law to prevent steep markups on items such as food, water, lumber and medical supplies during local emergencies.

Similar to ordinances in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, the new law prevents vendors from hiking prices by more than 10% on emergency items after a disaster is declared.

The list of affected items is long and includes such essentials as first-aid kits, flashlights, diapers and batteries.

While county prosecutors received reports of price gouging in other parts of the county, Moorpark officials said it was not a problem in their city.

"I don't think it was a real issue here after the earthquake," said Barbara Coy-Bullicz, a city management analyst who drew up the ordinance. "But we've been encouraged by the district attorney's office to pass such an ordinance to prevent price gouging from ever happening here."

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