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Should state lawmakers be allowed to accept gifts -- tickets to Disneyland, concerts, games?

May 27, 2011 |  9:26 am

Photo: State Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo). Credit: Associated Press

Talk back LAState lawmakers killed a measure banning gifts to themselves, meaning that companies lobbying for favorable treatment can continue to shower them with tickets to Disneyland, Dodgers games and rock concerts.

Members of a state Senate committee cited the $204,000 annual cost of enforcing such restrictions among the reasons they abandoned the proposal, The Times' Patrick McGreevy reports.

State Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) said the cost of enforcing his proposal would likely have been covered by fines collected from violators.

"Once again, the Legislature failed to act on good-government reforms to improve the culture and transparency in the Capitol," said Blakeslee, who also supported an unsuccessful proposal to regulate automated political calls. "Instead, Sacramento yet again killed reform bills behind closed doors."

The bill would have barred lobbyists and their clients from giving state legislators and their family members specific gifts, including tickets to concerts, sporting events and amusement parks. The lobbyists would have been forbidden to pay for legislators' golf games, spa treatments and skiing.

Elected state officials accepted $637,000 in gifts last year, including tickets from AT&T to a Lakers game, a San Francisco Giants World Series game and golf at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, according to disclosures that lawmakers are required to file with the state.

What do you think? Should lawmakers continue to be allowed to accept gifts as long as they report it? Or should they be banned? Do you think these gifts sway how politicians feel about a company or issue? Share your thoughts.

Photo: State Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo). Credit: Associated Press