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Sacramento proposes new ethics rules for lawmakers

by AirTalk®

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California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg speaks during a session of the California State Senate February 18, 2009 in Sacramento, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Senate Democrats are proposing major changes to the state Political Reform Act following a series of scandals, including criminal charges, against California politicians.

Senate President Darrell Steinberg formed the Senate Ethics Working group to address issues involving improper contributions and new restrictions.

The group, led by Senator Ricardo, has proposed reforms that include stricter rules about gifts -- California lawmakers will be prohibited from accepting event tickets, spa treatments, and many other entertainment-related benefits from special interest groups.

The current limit of $440 in gifts will be tightened to $200, and state candidates will have to report on their spending practices more frequently.

What ethics should California lawmakers abide by? What constitutes an excessive gift? How should the California Senate approach these issues?


Senator Ricardo Lara, 33rd Senate District, which includes Vernon, Bell Gardens, Huntington Park, and most of Long Beach

Bob Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies

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