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How Prop 212 Would Kill California's Ethics Laws

Posted on: June 11, 2008
Written by: UWSA Staff

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How Prop 212 Would Kill California's Ethics Laws

Starting at the bottom of page 100 in your Ballot Paphlet, in the text of Prop 212, you will find these three key provisions:

SEC. 13. Article 1 (commencing with Section 89500) of Chapter 9.5 of Title 9 of the Government Code is repealed.

SEC. 14. Article 2 (commencing with Section 89504) of Chapter 9.5 of Title 9 of the Government Code is repealed.

SEC. 15. Article 3 (commencing with Section 89506) of Chapter 9.5 of Title 9 of the Government Code is repealed.

If you look up these articles in the California Codes, here's what you find:

CHAPTER 9.5. ETHICS

89500. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Ethics in Government Act of 1990.

Article 1. Honoraria

89501. (a) For purposes of this chapter, "honorarium" means, except as provided in subdivision (b), any payment made in consideration for any speech given, article published, or attendance at any public or private conference, convention, meeting, social event, meal, or like gathering.

(b) The term "honorarium" does not include:

  1. Earned income for personal services which are customarily provided in connection with the practice of a bona fide business, trade, or profession, such as teaching, practicing law, medicine, insurance, real estate, banking, or building contracting, unless the sole or predominant activity of the business, trade, or profession is making speeches. The commission shall adopt regulations to implement this subdivision.

  2. Any honorarium which is not used and, within 30 days after receipt, is either returned to the donor or delivered to the State Controller for donation to the General Fund, or in the case of a public official for local government agency, delivered to his or her agency for donation to an equivalent fund, without being claimed as a deduction from income for tax purposes.
(c) Section 89506 shall apply to all payments, advances, or reimbursements for travel and related lodging and subsistence.

89502. (a) No elected state officer, elected officer of a local government agency, or other individual specified in Section 87200 shall accept any honorarium.

(b) No candidate for elective state office or for elective office in a local government agency shall accept any honorarium. A person shall be deemed a candidate for purposes of this subdivision when the person has filed a statement of organization as a committee for election to a state or local office, a declaration of intent, or a declaration of candidacy, whichever occurs first. A person shall not be deemed a candidate for purposes of this subdivision after he or she is sworn into the elective office, or, if the person lost the election after the person has terminated his or her campaign statement filing obligations for that office pursuant to Section 84214 or after certification of the election results, whichever is earlier.

(c) No member of a state board or commission and no designated employee of a state or local government agency shall accept an honorarium from any source if the member or employee would be required to report the receipt of income or gifts from that source on his or her statement of economic interests.

(d) This section shall not apply to a person in his or her capacity as judge or candidate for judicial office. This section shall not apply to a person in his or her capacity as a part-time member of the governing board of any public institution of higher education unless that position is an elective office.

Article 2. Gifts

89504. (a) No elected state officer, elected officer of a local government agency, or other individual specified in Section 87200 shall accept gifts from any single source in any calendar year with a total value of more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

(b) No candidate for elective state office or for elective office in a local government agency shall accept gifts from any single source in any calendar year with a total value of more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250). A person shall be deemed a candidate for purposes of this subdivision when the person has filed a statement of organization as a committee for election to a state or local office, a declaration of intent, or a declaration of candidacy, whichever occurs first. A person shall not be deemed a candidate for purposes of this subdivision after he or she is sworn into the elective office, or, if the person lost the election, after the person has terminated his or her campaign statement filing obligations for that office pursuant to Section 84214 or after certification of the election results, whichever is earlier.

(c) No member of a state board or commission or designated employee of a state or local government agency shall accept gifts from any single source in any calendar year with a total value of more than two hundred fifty ($250) if the member or employee would be required to report the receipt of income or gifts from that source on his or her statement of economic interests.

(d) This section shall not apply to a person in his or her capacity as judge or candidate for judicial office. This section shall not apply to a person in his or her capacity as a part-time member of the governing board of any public institution of higher education unless that position is an elective office.

(e) This section shall not prohibit or limit the following:

  1. Payments, advances, or reimbursements for travel and related lodging and subsistence permitted by Section 89506.

  2. Wedding gifts and gifts exchanged between individuals on birthdays, holidays, and other similar occasions, provided that the gifts exchanged are not substantially disproportionate in value.
(f) Beginning on January 1, 1993, the commission shall adjust the gift limitation in this section on January 1 of each odd-numbered year to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index, rounded to the nearest ten dollars ($10).

(g) The limitations in this section are in addition to the limitations on gifts in Section 86203.

Article 3. Travel

89506. (a) Payments, advances, or reimbursements, for travel, including actual transportation and related lodging and subsistence which is reasonably related to a legislative or governmental purpose, or to an issue of state, national, or international public policy, are not prohibited or limited by this chapter if either of the following apply:

  1. The travel is in connection with a speech given by the elected state officer, local elected officeholder, candidate for elected state office or local elected office, an individual specified in Section 87200, member of a state board or commission, or designated employee of a state or local government agency, the lodging and subsistence expenses are limited to the day immediately preceding, the day of, and the day immediately following the speech, and the travel is within the United States.

  2. The travel is provided by a government, a governmental agency, a foreign government, a governmental authority, a bona fide public or private educational institution, as defined in Section 203 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a nonprofit charitable or religious organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or by a person domiciled outside the United States which substantially satisfies the requirements for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(b) Gifts of travel not described in subdivision (a) are subject to the limits in Section 89504.

(c) Subdivision (a) applies only to travel which is reported on the recipient's statement of economic interests.

(d) For purposes of this section, a gift of travel does not include any of the following:

  1. Travel which is paid for from campaign funds, as permitted by Article 4 (commencing with Section 89510), or which is a contribution.
  2. Travel which is provided by the agency of a local elected officeholder, an elected state officer, member of a state board or commission, an individual specified in Section 87200, or a designated employee.
  3. Travel which is reasonably necessary in connection with a bona fide business, trade, or profession and which satisfies the criteria for federal income tax deduction for business expenses in Sections 162 and 274 of the Internal Revenue Code, unless the sole or predominant activity of the business, trade, or profession is making speeches.
  4. Travel which is excluded from the definition of a gift by any other provision of this title.

(e) This section does not apply to payments, advances, or reimbursements for travel and related lodging and subsistence permitted or limited by Section 170.9 of the Code of Civil Procedure.