Governor Newsom Signs Into Law Lobbying Loophole Closure Bill Authored By Assemblymember Marc Levine

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) - Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1783 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D - North Bay) to ensure ethical and transparent conduct in state government. AB 1783 is an important bill that will ensure transparency and accountability in lobbying activities in California.

Most lobbying in California is subject to strict lobbying disclosure rules. Lobbyists and the companies that pay them must register with the state and file public disclosures on a quarterly basis. However, while lobbyists are prohibited from charging success fees for achieving the outcome desired by their clients, political and policy consultants have exploited a loophole in the law that allows individuals who are not technically lobbyists to charge bounties for their influence peddling.

As enacted, AB 1783 closes the loophole in existing law that allows political and public policy consultants to influence the approval of an insurance merger, while evading public reporting requirements.

AB 1783 expands existing lobbyist disclosure requirements to require all individuals seeking to influence the Insurance Commissioner and the Director of the Department of Managed Health Care regarding insurance company mergers and acquisition decisions, to disclose their identities, the identity of anyone who contracted them to lobby, the amounts paid to them to lobby, the identities of any officials they are trying to influence, and the types and costs of activities they used to try and influence public officials.

Since the bill applies existing lobbying regulations to political and public policy consultants, any consultant attempting to influence the Insurance Commissioner and the Director of the Department of Managed Health Care is prohibited from charging success fees and will have to file the requisite lobbying disclosures with the state.

“This is a victory for good government”, said Assemblymember Marc Levine. “Californians have a right to know who is influencing important decisions that will impact their lives. Because insurance is such an essential product and service, mergers and acquisitions of insurance companies are uniquely important to consumers. Changes in the control of insurance companies can have dramatic implications for all Californians. This is a win for consumers and for transparency and accountability.”

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