New Assembly Speaker Bans Texts from Lobbyists

John Perez doesn't want lobbyists' thumbprints all over legislation

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010  |  Updated 3:29 PM PDT
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New Assembly Speaker Bans Texts from Lobbyists

New California Speaker of the Assembly John Perez set lobbyists atwitter by banning text messages to legislators.

Politicians may have to give up their "CrackBerry" habit in Sacramento if new Speaker of the Assembly John Perez has anything to say about it.

On Monday, he announced that it was now against the rules to receive text messages from lobbyists while "doing the people's business."

But it's a difficult matter to enforce, with the San Jose Mercury News reporting that "lobbyists, as they filed out of the Assembly chambers after Perez's remarks Monday, were joking with one another about the ways they could find to escape the ban."

A more robust law would be one not banning the messages, but requiring the they be handed over if requested under document disclosure rules, even if sent to a lawmaker's personal device such as a cell phone or laptop.

That law passed San Jose's City Council on Tuesday in the wake of a Mercury News expose on meddling lobbyists texting missives to the private accounts of city council representatives during deliberations.

Jackson West thinks taking the campaign money machine away from lobbyists would be more effective than taking texts away from legislators.

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