Assemblywoman Garcia introduces legislation to reign in local government lobbying associations

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

SACRAMENTO – After numerous reports of inappropriate behavior during raucous events sponsored by the California Contract Cities Association, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia introduced legislation limiting how the associations- funded by monies from the local governments or special districts -can expend funds.  AB 315 limits the associations of local agencies or districts from using funds paid from local agencies for purposes that are not for lobbying the Legislature or Congress or strictly educational activities. The bill also requires the associations to disclose funds expended for educational activities and lobbying activities.

“Taxpayers expect their money to be used responsibly and there to be transparency, at the state level and in their local governments.  This should extend to these local government lobbying organizations”.  Continued Garcia, “These groups are extensions of governments and therefore the taxpayers themselves - who don’t expect governmental activities to result in drunken brawls”.

Numerous news articles have detailed an incident that occurred on May 18, 2019. Two Commerce City Council members engaged in an argument, which escalated into a brawl that eventually included seven people.  The fight occurred around 12:30 a.m.  during the Annual Municipal Seminar, held at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa. The yearly seminar was characterized in a recent AP article as, “spring break for city council members”.  While educational panels were conducted over the course of the seminar, also included was a golf tournament and swag bags containing wine, and tickets for free alcoholic drinks at sponsored events. The California Contract Cities is an organization representing the interests of communities that contract for services like police, fire, and trash collection. It’s been reported that these seminars are usually held at upscale resorts and cost upwards of $600 a person, which is paid for by local governments, who also pay thousands in annual dues to belong to the organization.

Said the Assemblywoman, “For local governments to be subsidizing frat parties under the guise of civic engagement is a slap in the face to the residents of these cities, who are often working class and struggling to make ends meet.”

This bill applies to all associations advocating on behalf of local governments.  AB 315 introduced on July, 5 2019 will be eligible for hearing in January of 2020.

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The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.

CONTACT: Ashley Labar, (916) 319-2058