- Associated Press - Sunday, April 6, 2014

The reform bills introduced so far this year include a legislative package by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, that won committee approval this week, and SB1441, SB1442 and SB1443, which are part of the California Accountability in Public Service Act. That package was proposed by Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens and Senate leaders Darrell Steinberg and Kevin De Leon, all Democrats. Senate Republicans have pushed for the expulsion of the three suspended senators. A look at the bills:

- SCA17 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg amends the California Constitution to allow for suspension without pay of state lawmakers accused of corruption.

- SB1442 would increase campaign finance reporting and require prompt disclosure before an election.

- SB1443 reduces gift limits to $200; it also bans all gifts from lobbyists and the most lavish gifts given to state officials.

- SB1441 and AB1673 by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, would ban fundraisers in lobbyists’ homes.

- AB1666 and AB1692 by Garcia would prevent lawmakers from using campaign money to pay for ethics violations.

- SB831 by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, caps annual travel expenses at $5,000 and limits campaign spending for personal purposes.

- AB2320 by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, prohibits spouses of candidates from receiving payments for campaign services.

- AB2692 by Fong would have officials who abuse their positions for personal gain to return ill-gotten gains to the state’s general fund.

- SB950 by Sen. Norma Torres, D-Pomona, would begin the statute of limitations for bribery when the offense is discovered.

- SB952 by Torres prohibits and expands penalties for aiding and abetting in bribery.

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The call for ethics reform also has magnified the usually quiet race for secretary of state, which oversees elections and campaign finance and included Sen. Leland Yee as a candidate until his arrest on federal corruption charges. The candidates generally agree the secretary of state has an unofficial role as an advocate for transparency and good government. A look at how the major candidates have responded to this year’s scandals:

- State Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat, has introduced SB1101-SB1104, which would ban fundraising in the last 100 days of a legislative session and for a week after it ends, require prompt donation reporting 90 days before an election, require disclosure of campaign communications and prevent candidates from seeking multiple offices at once. The legislative package requires a two-thirds vote to pass.

-Dan Schnur, an independent, former Republican strategist and director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, is calling for a total ban on fundraising during the legislative session and increased funding for the California Fair Political Practices Commission, which he once chaired.

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