In the context of public outrage following the California Coastal Commission’s closed-door firing of Executive Director Charles Lester last week, Assemblymember Jim Wood today sent the following statement regarding a new bill that would increase public oversight of lobbying activities:
California Legislators announced a new bill in response to recent calls for action following the Coastal Commission firing their executive director. AB 2002 would require anyone, with the exception of volunteers, who engages the Coastal Commission with the intent of influencing decision making to register as a lobbyist.
Assemblyman Wood said, “The fact that this is not already required is an egregious loophole. The public and the legislature have the right to know who is influencing decisions made by the Coastal Commission and a responsibility to hold the Commission to the same standards as other policy making bodies. ”
The Political Reform Act of 1976 (PRA) sets the parameters for what qualifies as lobbying, what lobbyists must do to ensure transparency and the penalties for noncompliance. AB 2002 applies these obligations to people attempting to influence “administrative actions” of the Coastal Commission including the proposal, drafting, development, consideration, amendment, enactment, or defeat of any rule, regulation, permit action, federal consistency review, appeal, local coastal program, port master plan, public works plan, long range development plan, categorical or other exclusion from coastal development permit requirements, cease and desist order, restoration order, or any other quasi-judicial or quasi-legislative matter requiring commission action.
“We depend on the Coastal Commission to protect one of our state’s greatest resources,” said Wood. “If there are outside influences affecting decisions made by the Commission we should know about it.”