State lawmakers long ago lost credibility with Californians. Last week's decision to kill a bill that would have banned lobbyists from showering them with gifts isn't going to win back any of that lost respect.
We find it shameful that legislators, who can't balance a budget, collect some of the highest taxes in the nation and provide mediocre services, decided to continue accepting expensive meals, tickets and other perks from businesses, utilities, unions, developers and other influence peddlers. Among the gifts cited in Friday's Los Angeles Times were tickets to theme parks, baseball games (the World Series among them), golf at exclusive courses and rock concerts.
A state Senate committee reviewing legislation that would restrict gift-giving claimed that the $204,000 cost of making sure their peers didn't accept certain gifts was a poor use of funds. A couple hundred grand is not much to pay for integrity, so the only logical explanation is that lawmakers want to continue riding in first-class cabins aboard the gravy train.
State Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) told the Los Angeles Times that his reforms would not have been too costly, clearing the smokescreen unleashed by opponents. But senators, apparently overwhelmed by the scent of transparency and good-government ideas, dashed the bill before it escaped committee.
"You'd think a Legislature with a single-digit approval rating," said USC Professor Dan Schnur, "would be more conscious of the low regard in which the voting public holds them."
You'd think.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun