Senator Morrell endorses Assembly Bill 1620 to strengthen legislative accountability

By on September 16, 2017
Mike Morrell

Assembly Bill 1620 by Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D- 45th District-Van Nuys), which seeks to further discourage legislators from leaving office to take jobs as lobbyists, has been approved by both houses of the state legislature and now awaits Gov. Brown’s signature. Senator Mike Morrell (R-23rd District-Rancho Cucamonga) principally coauthored the bill which strengthens the current law which prohibits state legislators from lobbying the legislature for one year after leaving office.

AB 1620 seeks to extend these current revolving door restrictions on elected officials who depart the legislature before the conclusion of their term. Under this bill, the ban would apply to the remainder of the two-year session in which a legislator resigns, at which point the current one-year cooling off period would begin.

“As elected officials, our duty is to protect the public who has entrusted us with representing their best interest, not ours,” said Morrell. “The current one-year ban on lobbying is not enough to build and maintain this trust. Under current law, a legislator can introduce a bill at the beginning of a session and then work for an outside party to influence votes on the same issue before the end of the same session, which is wrong. Californians should be confident that there is a sufficient cooling off period before former legislators can become lobbyists.”

Senator Morrell had authored SB 679 earlier this session which originally sought to increase the cooling off period to five years. The National Conference of State Legislatures has indicated that at least 34 states have cooling-off periods, during which former legislators are prohibited from working as lobbyists. Eight states ban former legislators from lobbying the legislature for two years.

AB 1620 required a two-thirds vote and was approved with unanimous support. The legislation now awaits Gov. Brown’s decision; he has until Oct. 15 sign the bill into law.

Sen. Morrell represents the 23rd Senate District which includes portions of Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties including the city of Yucaipa.