California fundraising blackout bill falters in committee

jwhite@sacbee.comJune 24, 2014 

Senator Alex Padilla listens during a hearing in Sacramento, Calif. on August 1, 2011.

THE SACRAMENTO BEE/JOSE LUIS VILLEGAS

A bill barring California lawmakers from raising money in the final days of the legislative session faltered in an Assembly committee on Tuesday.

Other campaign finance reform bills moved closer to becoming law, including pieces of an ethics reform package touted by Senate leadership that would limit lobbyist gifts and require more frequent disclosure. Ethics issues have taken center stage this year with the suspension of three state senators and a record-setting fine for a prominent lobbyist.

But members of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee did not advance a bill by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, that seeks to nix fundraising during the frenzied final weeks of the legislative session and during budget negotiations.

Senate Bill 1101 would have barred lawmakers from seeking campaign contributions from mid-May to mid-June, the time when the Legislature negotiates and passes the governor's budget, and during the final month of session.

After initially failing on the Senate floor, Padilla's measure passed on the second attempt by a the required two-thirds margin. A resolution having senators forego fundraising during August of this year has also passed the Senate. The resolution applies only to senators, whereas Padilla's bill would affect all legislators.

The final vote was 1-1, with four members – all of them Democrats – not voting. Members voted to grant the bill reconsideration.

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