Speaker Atkins, Assembly members Stone and Levine Introduce Bill to Make Coastal Commission More Accountable
Feb 17, 2016 04:14PM
● By Paul Spear
SACRAMENTO—Speaker Toni G. Atkins and Assemblymembers Mark Stone and Marc Levine today introduced AB 2002, which would require any person who communicates with Coastal Commission members regarding an administrative action of the commission, and who qualifies as a lobbyist, to comply with provisions of the Political Reform Act of 1974.
“Coastal advocates, environmental groups, and newspaper editorial boards across the state have all called for a brighter spotlight on the Coastal Commission,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “There is a loophole in current law that says so-called ‘consultants’ whose job is to influence members of the Coastal Commission don’t have to register and disclose spending the way other lobbyists do. The existing loophole gives these lobbyists an edge with commissioners when they are pushing development projects along our coast. AB 2002 simply requires Coastal Commission lobbyists to register with the Secretary of State and disclose their clientele and expenditures, the way other lobbyists must.”
“As we have seen over the past several weeks, the actions of the Coastal Commission have a profound impact on the lives of Californians. It is without question that decisions with such gravity should be held to the highest standards of public disclosure. However, current law lacks the transparency that Californians clearly expect and deserve about who is working to influence decisions that commissioners make,” said Assemblymember Stone (D-Monterey Bay), joint author of AB 2002. “I am pleased to join Speaker Atkins and my colleagues to make the necessary changes to the law to ensure that future commissioner decisions have higher standards of disclosure and public scrutiny.”
Assemblymember Levine (D-Marin County) added, “The public has entrusted the Coastal Commission to act as stewards of California’s coast. The public has a right to know who is trying to influence Commissioners’ votes. This legislation will bring desperately needed transparency to the perception of back room deal making at the Commission.”
Coauthors of AB 2002 include Assemblymembers Richard Bloom, Lorena Gonzalez, Richard Gordon, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Kevin McCarty, Patrick O’Donnell, Anthony Rendon, Tony Thurmond, Phil Ting, Shirley Weber, Das Williams and Jim Wood and Senators Ben Allen, Marty Block, Hanna-Beth Jackson, Fran Pavley and Lois Wolk.
Atkins: John Casey (916) 319-2408
Stone: Arianna Smith (916) 319-2029
Levine: Michael Miiller (916) 319-2010