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AB-2055 Legislative ethics: harassment: education: lobbying.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/01/2018 10:00 AM
AB2055:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 30, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 16, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2055


Introduced by Assembly Member Levine

February 06, 2018


An act to amend Section 86205 of, and to add Section 82048.2 to, the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974. An act to amend Section 8956 of the Government Code, relating to legislative ethics.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2055, as amended, Levine. Political Reform Act of 1974: lobbyists: sexual harassment. Legislative ethics: harassment: education: lobbying.
Existing law requires the legislative ethics committees of each house of the Legislature to conduct at least semiannually an orientation course on the relevant ethical issues and law related to lobbying.
This bill would require that orientation course to include information on each house of the Legislature’s policies against harassment, including sexual harassment, in connection with lobbying activities..

The Political Reform Act of 1974 provides for the comprehensive regulation of campaign financing, lobbyists, conflicts of interest of public officials, and related matters, and establishes the Fair Political Practices Commission to enforce the act’s provisions. The Commission is charged with the responsibility to investigate, upon the sworn complaint of any person or upon its own initiative, possible violations of the act relating to any agency, official, election, lobbyist, or legislative or administrative action. Under existing law, if the Commission determines a violation of the act has occurred, it is required to issue an order requiring the violator to comply with certain requirements, as specified.

This bill would prohibit a lobbyist from engaging in sexual harassment, as defined, in the course of any activity related to his or her attempt to influence legislative or administrative action.

A violation of the act’s provisions is punishable as a misdemeanor. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

The Political Reform Act of 1974, an initiative measure, provides that the Legislature may amend the act to further the act’s purposes upon a 23 vote of each house of the Legislature and compliance with specified procedural requirements.

This bill would declare that it furthers the purposes of the act.

Vote: TWO_THIRDSMAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YESNO   Local Program: YESNO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 8956 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8956.
 (a) The appropriate legislative ethics committees shall conduct at least semiannually an orientation course of the relevant statutes and regulations governing official conduct. The curriculum and presentation of the course shall be established by house rules.
(b) The committees shall conduct at least semiannually an orientation course on the relevant ethical issues and laws relating to lobbying, in consultation with the Fair Political Practices Commission. The course shall also include information on each house of the Legislature’s policies against harassment, including sexual harassment, in connection with lobbying activities. One of the semiannual courses shall be held prior to June 30 of each year. This course may be combined with the course described in subdivision (a).
(c) At least once in each biennial session, each Member of the Legislature and each designated employee of the Legislature shall attend one of these courses.
(d) The committees shall impose fees on lobbyists for attending the course described in subdivision (b). The fees shall be set at an amount that will enable the lobbyists’ participation in the course to be funded from those fees to the fullest extent possible.

SECTION 1.Section 82048.2 is added to the Government Code, to read:
82048.2.

“Sexual harassment” means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that arises out of or in the course of employment.

SEC. 2.Section 86205 of the Government Code is amended to read:
86205.

A lobbyist or lobbying firm shall not:

(a)Do anything with the purpose of placing any elected state officer, legislative official, agency official, or state candidate under personal obligation to the lobbyist, the lobbying firm, or the lobbyist’s or the firm’s employer.

(b)Deceive or attempt to deceive any elected state officer, legislative official, agency official, or state candidate with regard to any material fact pertinent to any pending or proposed legislative or administrative action.

(c)Cause or influence the introduction of any bill or amendment thereto for the purpose of thereafter being employed to secure its passage or defeat.

(d)Attempt to create a fictitious appearance of public favor or disfavor of any proposed legislative or administrative action or to cause any communication to be sent to any elected state officer, legislative official, agency official, or state candidate in the name of any fictitious person or in the name of any real person, except with the consent of such real person.

(e)Represent falsely, either directly or indirectly, that the lobbyist or the lobbying firm can control the official action of any elected state officer, legislative official, or agency official.

(f)Accept or agree to accept any payment in any way contingent upon the defeat, enactment, or outcome of any proposed legislative or administrative action.

(g)Engage in sexual harassment, as defined in Section 82048.2, in the course of any activity related to his or her attempt to influence legislative or administrative action.

SEC. 3.

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SEC. 4.

The Legislature finds and declares that this bill furthers the purposes of the Political Reform Act of 1974 within the meaning of subdivision (a) of Section 81012 of the Government Code.