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Former state Sen. Gloria Romero warned about lobbying

July 5, 2011 |  4:00 pm

The state’s ethics watchdog agency has issued a written warning to former state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) for violating a ban on lobbying the Legislature for one year after leaving office.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission said Romero’s advocacy on legislation regarding parental controls in troubled schools ran afoul of the state’s Political Reform Act.

“Your actions violated the act because, within a year of having left office with the Senate, you contacted members of the Legislature for the purpose of stating the position of your employer, Democrats for Education Reform, regarding one Assembly Bill, AB 203, and two Senate bills, SB 161 and 355,’’ wrote Gary Winuk, the commission’s chief of enforcement.

However, Winuk told Romero she was only getting a warning, rather than a fine,  because she stopped the contact once she realized it was improper and had her attorney notify the FPPC of the activity.

Before she left office, Romero wrote legislation allowing parents to petition for the overhaul of poor-performing schools, and she said Tuesday that she didn’t realize she was prevented from weighing in for her employer on new legislation that would alter those powers.

“I didn’t think writing a letter would qualify as lobbying,’’ Romero said.

--Patrick McGreevy

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