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AB-975 Political Reform Act of 1974: statement of economic interests and gifts.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 05/18/2021 09:00 PM
AB975:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 18, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 21, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 975


Introduced by Assembly Member Luz Rivas

February 18, 2021


An act to amend Sections 82028, 86112.5, and 87500.3 of, and to repeal and add Section 87500 of, the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 975, as amended, Luz Rivas. Political Reform Act of 1974: statement of economic interests and gifts.
(1) The Political Reform Act of 1974 regulates conflicts of interests of public officials and requires that public officials file, with specified filing officers, periodic statements of economic interests disclosing certain information regarding income, investments, and other financial data. The Fair Political Practices Commission is the filing officer for statewide elected officers and candidates and other specified public officials. If the Commission is the filing officer, the public official generally files with their agency or another person or entity, who then makes a copy and files the original with the Commission.
This bill would revise and recast these filing requirements to make various changes, including requiring public officials and candidates for whom the Commission is the filing officer to file their original statements of economic interests electronically with the Commission. The bill would also make conforming changes to other provisions of law. The bill would prohibit the Commission from making available on the internet statements of economic interests filed by certain nonelected officials and would require the Commission to redact personal addresses and telephone numbers of all filers.
(2) The Political Reform Act of 1974 regulates the making of gifts to public officials. However, the act exempts from the definition of “gift,” among other things, a gift to an official that, within 30 days of receipt, is returned to the donor or delivered to a charitable organization without being claimed as a deduction for tax purposes.
This bill would allow a gift of admission to an invitation-only event to be returned, reimbursed, or donated within 30 days of the calendar quarter in which it was received, and would make other changes prescribing conditions for the donation, return, or reimbursement.
(3) Under the Political Reform Act of 1974, lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers are required to provide each beneficiary of a gift with the date and amount of each gift reportable by the beneficiary and a description of the goods or services provided to the beneficiary within 30 days following the end of each calendar quarter in which the gift was provided.
This bill would reduce that time limit to 15 days following the end of each calendar quarter in which the gift was provided.
(4) Existing law makes a knowing or willful violation of the Political Reform Act of 1974 a misdemeanor and subjects offenders to criminal penalties. 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.
(5) 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 2/3 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: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 82028 of the Government Code is amended to read:

82028.
 (a) “Gift” means, except as provided in subdivision (b), any payment that confers a personal benefit on the recipient, to the extent that consideration of equal or greater value is not received and includes a rebate or discount in the price of anything of value unless the rebate or discount is made in the regular course of business to members of the public without regard to official status. Any person, other than a defendant in a criminal action, who claims that a payment is not a gift by reason of receipt of consideration has the burden of proving that the consideration received is of equal or greater value.
(b) The term “gift” does not include:
(1) Informational material such as books, reports, pamphlets, calendars, or periodicals. No payment for travel or reimbursement for any expenses shall be deemed “informational material.”
(2) (A) A gift that meets any of the following criteria within the applicable timeline described in subparagraph (B):
(i) The gift is returned to the donor, donor’s agent, or donor’s intermediary from whom the gift was received, unused and without having received anything of value in exchange for the returned gift.
(ii) The gift is donated, unused, to an entity exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code with which the official, or a member of the official’s immediate family, does not hold a position, or to a state, local, or federal government agency, without being claimed as a deduction for tax purposes.
(iii) The official reimburses the donor, donor’s agent, or donor’s intermediary from whom the gift was received, in full, or for a portion thereof. If the donor is not reimbursed for the full value of the gift, the value of the gift the official has received is reduced by the amount of the reimbursement.
(B) The actions described in clauses (i) to (iii), inclusive, of subparagraph (A) shall be completed within 30 days of receipt of the gift, except for admission to an invitation-only event. For a gift of admission to an invitation-only event, the actions described in clauses (i) to (iii), inclusive, of subparagraph (A) shall be completed within 30 days of the calendar quarter in which it was received.
(3) Gifts from an individual’s spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle, or first cousin or the spouse of any such person, except that a gift from any such person shall be considered a gift if the donor is acting as an agent or intermediary for any person not covered by this paragraph.
(4) Campaign contributions required to be reported under Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 84100).
(5) Any devise or inheritance.
(6) Personalized plaques and trophies with an individual value of less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

SEC. 2.

 Section 86112.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

86112.5.
 (a) Each person filing a report pursuant to this article shall provide each beneficiary of a gift listed within the report the following information:
(1) The date and amount of each gift reportable by the beneficiary.
(2) A description of the goods or services provided to the beneficiary.
(b) The information required to be disclosed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be provided to the beneficiary within 15 days following the end of each calendar quarter in which the gift was provided. For the purposes of meeting the disclosure requirements of this section, a lobbying firm or lobbyist employer may provide the beneficiary a copy of the activity expense section of the report submitted to the Secretary of State pursuant to this article.
(c) The remedies provided in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 83100) constitute the exclusive penalty for a violation of this section. The remedies provided in Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 91000) do not apply to this section.

SEC. 3.

 Section 87500 of the Government Code is repealed.

SEC. 4.

 Section 87500 is added to the Government Code, to read:
87500.

(a)Except as otherwise provided in this section, the following public officers and, if applicable, candidates for election to the following offices, shall file original statements of economic interests with the Commission using the Commission’s electronic filing system. The Commission is the filing officer.

87500.
 (a) (1) A statement of economic interests filed by a public official, for whom the Commission is the filing officer, shall be filed with the Commission using the Commission’s electronic filing system.
(2) The Commission shall be the filing officer for statements of economic interests filed by all of the following:

(1)

(A) A statewide elected officer. officer or candidate for statewide elective office.

(2)

(B) A member of of, or candidate for, the Legislature or member of the State Board of Equalization.

(3)

(C) A member of the Public Utilities Commission, the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, and the or California Coastal Commission.

(4)

(D) A member of a state licensing or regulatory board, bureau, or commission.

(5)

(E) Anyone A person appointed to another a state board, commission, or similar multimember body. body of the state if the Commission has been designated as the filing officer in the conflict of interest code of the respective board, commission, or body.

(6)An official who manages public investments for a state agency.

(7)Anyone holding the office of chief administrative officer,

(F) A person holding, or candidate for, the office of district attorney, county counsel, county treasurer, county planning commissioner, and member of the or county board of supervisors.

(8)

(G) A city manager or, if there is no city manager, the chief administrative officer, officer. and anyone holding
(H) A person holding, or candidate for, the office of city council member, city treasurer, city attorney, city planning commissioner, and or mayor.
(I) A county planning commissioner or city planning commissioner.

(9)Other city or county official who manages public investments for the city or county.

(J) A county chief administrative officer.

(10)

(K) A judge and a judge, court commissioner. commissioner, or candidate for judge.
(L) A head of a local government agency or member of a local government board or commission, for which the Commission is the code reviewing body, if the Commission has been designated as the filing officer in the conflict of interest code of the respective agency, board, or commission.

(11)

(M) A designated employee of each house of the Legislature. Legislature directed by the house of the Legislature by which the designated employee is employed.

(12)

(N) A designated employee under contract to of more than one joint powers insurance agency and who elects to file a multiagency statement under pursuant to Section 87350.

(b)Members of the Commission shall file their original statement with the Commission, which shall retain a copy and forward the original to the Attorney General's office. The Attorney General is the filing officer.

(c)(1)Heads of agencies, members of boards or commissions not under a department of state government, and members of boards or commissions

(b) A statement of economic interests filed by a public official, for whom the Commission is not the filing officer, shall be filed as follows:
(1) Members of the Commission shall file electronically using the Commission’s electronic filing system and the Commission shall send a copy of the filing to the office of the Attorney General, which shall be the filing officer.
(2) Except as provided in subparagraph (L) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) and this paragraph, a head of a local government agency, member of a local government board or commission, or member of a board or commission not under the jurisdiction of a local legislative body shall file their one original statement with the agency, board, or commission, which shall make and retain a copy and forward the original to the code reviewing body. body, which shall be the filing officer.
(2)The code reviewing body may require that the original be filed with it directly with the code reviewing body and that a no copy not be retained by the agency, board, or commission.

(3)If the Commission is the code reviewing body for the local government agency, board, or commission, the agency, board, or commission is the filing officer, unless, at its discretion, the Commission elects to act as the filing officer. In this instance, the original statement shall be filed electronically with the Commission.

(d)Members of local government agencies, boards, or commissions who manage public investments on behalf of their agency shall file one original with the filing officer of the local agency, board, or commission.

(3) Except as provided in subparagraph (M) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), a designated employee of the Legislature shall file one original with the house of the Legislature by which the designated employee is employed.

(e)

(c) A person not specified otherwise designated in subdivisions (a) to (d), inclusive, this section shall file the one original statement with the agency or with the code reviewing body, as provided by the code reviewing body in the agency's conflict of interest code.

SEC. 5.

 Section 87500.3 of the Government Code is amended to read:

87500.3.
 (a) The Commission shall operate an online system for filing statements of economic interests required by Article 2 (commencing with Section 87200) and Article 3 (commencing with Section 87300). Consistent with Section 87500.4, the online system shall enable a filer to comply with the requirements of this chapter relating to the filing of statements of economic interests and shall include, but not be limited to, both of the following:
(1) A means or method whereby a filer may electronically file, free of charge, a statement of economic interests that includes an electronic transmission that is submitted under penalty of perjury in conformity with Section 81004 of this code and subdivision (b) of Section 1633.11 of the Civil Code.
(2) Security safeguards that include firewalls, data encryption, secure authentication, and all necessary hardware and software and industry best practices to ensure that the security and integrity of the data and information contained in each statement of economic interests are not jeopardized or compromised.
(b) (1) A system developed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall issue to a person who electronically files the person’s statement of economic interests, or an amendment to a statement of economic interests, an electronic confirmation that notifies the filer that the statement of economic interests or amendment was received. The confirmation shall include the date and the time that the statement of economic interests or amendment was received and the method by which the filer may view and print the data received.
(2) A paper copy retained by the filer of a statement of economic interests or amendment that was electronically filed and the confirmation issued pursuant to paragraph (1) that shows that the filer timely filed the statement of economic interests or amendment shall create a rebuttable presumption that the filer filed the statement of economic interests or amendment on time.
(c) The Commission shall conduct public hearings to receive input on the implementation of the online system, maintain ongoing coordination among affected state and local agencies as necessary, and develop training and assistance programs for state and local filing officers and filers regarding use of the online system for filing statements of economic interests.
(d) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Commission may make all the data filed on a system operated pursuant to subdivision (a) available on the Commission’s internet website in an easily understood format that provides the greatest public access, and shall provide assistance to those seeking public access to the information.
(2) (A) The Commission shall redact private information, including, but not limited to, the signatures, personal addresses, and telephone numbers of filers, from the data that is made available on the internet pursuant to this subdivision. The Commission shall develop and implement a policy regarding redaction of private information for the purposes of this paragraph, and shall conduct one or more public hearings to receive input on the development of that policy.
(B) The Commission shall not make available on the internet statements of economic interests filed by officials other than those officials specified in Section 87200.

SEC. 6.

 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. 7.

 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.