Assemblymember Stone and Speaker Atkins Introduce Coastal Commission Transparency Legislation

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Mark Stone joined Speaker Toni G. Atkins, Assemblymember Marc Levine and others today to introduce AB 2002, legislation to ensure that people lobbying Coastal Commissioners become registered as lobbyists and become subject to public disclosure laws. Specifically, the measure requires any person who communicates with Coastal Commission members regarding an administrative action of the commission, and who qualifies as a lobbyist, to comply with provisions of the Political Reform Act of 1974.

“As we have seen over the past several weeks, the actions of the Coastal Commission have a profound impact on the lives of Californians. It is without question that decisions with such gravity should be held to the highest standards of public disclosure. However, current law lacks the transparency that Californians clearly expect and deserve about who is working to influence decisions that commissioners make,” said Assemblymember Stone (D-Monterey Bay), joint author of AB 2002. “I am pleased to join Speaker Atkins and my colleagues to make the necessary changes to the law to ensure that future commissioner decisions have higher standards of disclosure and public scrutiny.”

“Coastal advocates, environmental groups, and newspaper editorial boards across the state have all called for a brighter spotlight on the Coastal Commission,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “There is a loophole in current law that says so-called ‘consultants’ whose job is to influence members of the Coastal Commission don’t have to register and disclose spending the way other lobbyists do. The existing loophole gives these lobbyists an edge with commissioners when they are pushing development projects along our coast. AB 2002 simply requires Coastal Commission lobbyists to register with the Secretary of State and disclose their clientele and expenditures, the way other lobbyists must.”

Assemblymember Levine (D-Marin County) added, “The public has entrusted the Coastal Commission to act as stewards of California’s coast. The public has a right to know who is trying to influence Commissioners’ votes. This legislation will bring desperately needed transparency to the perception of back room deal making at the Commission.”

Stone, Atkins and Levine are joined by 17 additional Assemblymember and Senator co-authors of AB 2002.

CONTACTS:
Atkins: John Casey (916) 319-2408
Stone: Arianna Smith (916) 319-2029
Levine: Michael Miiller (916) 319-2010