In an election year, it was thought that a bill that would place specific limits on how much schwag lawmakers could accept as gifts—and from whom—would be a slam dunk.
Tell that to Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo).
On Aug. 16, a Blakeslee co-sponsored bill limiting gifts to lawmakers died a quiet death at the hands of his former colleagues in the state Assembly Appropriations Committee. It never even made it to the Assembly floor.
“This is obviously very disappointing,” Blakeslee wrote in an e-mail to New Times. “At a time that families are struggling to provide for the basics, some Sacramento legislators are fighting to protect their special interest gifts. I can’t think of a worse message for Sacramento to be sending to the public right now.”
The measure was Blakeslee’s fifth attempt at closing a loophole and prohibiting legislators from accepting perks worth more than $10 per month, as well as barring them from taking gifts from any lobbyist or lobbying firm.
Though Blakeslee has announced he will not be seeking re-election in November, he said he is certain the issue will re-emerge in some form in the near future.
“This issue will not go away,” he said. “The public is watching and expects the Legislature to get its house in order. It is just a matter of time before this loophole is closed.”