Republican Senators Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Ted Gaines (R-Roseville), and Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) said today that Californians deserve real legislative reforms to address the ongoing ethics challenges at the state capitol, especially in light of the legal situations involving three Democratic state senators. They plan to amend existing legislation into a new proposal that would increase criminal penalties on any elected official who is convicted of bribery or selling votes.
"While we appreciate some of the efforts of our friends across the aisle, we're concerned they are only bringing forward window dressing solutions and Californians will see right through them," said Morrell. "We need to hold ourselves to higher standards, such as increasing the criminal penalties for egregious acts like bribery and show that we have zero tolerance for these situations."
"Rather than enacting piecemeal changes that tinker around the edges, we think it's time for permanent changes in state law," said Senator Gaines. "Public officials must be held to the very highest moral and ethical principles. We were elected to represent the people and have a duty to uphold that trust. We want to make it crystal clear that breaking that trust by taking bribes or any other corrupt behavior will draw severe punishment."
California Penal Code Section 86 reads "Every Member of either house of the Legislature, or any member of the legislative body of a city, county, city and county, school district, or other special district, who asks, receives, or agrees to receive any bribe...is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three or four years..." Senate Republicans want to double those sentences to four, six or eight years.
"If legislators should be held to a higher ethical standard, then the Senate needs to take swift and strong action against any Senator who violates the law and the public's trust," said Senator Knight. "Californians expect and should receive better representation from their elected officials."