BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2116
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 28, 2010

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                    AB 2116 (Evans) - As Amended:  April 5, 2010 

          Policy Committee:                               
          JudiciaryVote:11-0 (Consent)

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:               

           SUMMARY  

          This bill extends the limits on gifts and honoraria currently  
          applicable to judges of the superior courts, appellate courts  
          and Supreme Court to subordinate judicial officers (SJOs).

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Minor absorbable costs from this modest expansion of the  
          Commission on Judicial Performance's enforcement authority.   
          (There are about 375 SJOs statewide.)

           COMMENTS  

           1)Background  .  Current law generally treats judges in the same  
            manner as elected state officials with respect to gift limits  
            and prohibitions on acceptance of honoraria, with the  
            following distinctions:  

             a)   No judge shall accept gifts from any single source in  
               any calendar year with a total value of more than $250,  
               excluding wedding gifts, and gifts exchanged between  
               individuals on birthdays and holidays. 

             b)   No judge shall accept an "honorarium," but the term  
               honorarium does not include earned income for personal  
               services which are customarily provided in connection with  
               the practice of a bona fide business, trade, or profession,  
               such as teaching or writing for a legal publisher, and does  
               not include fees or other things of value received for  
               performance of a marriage.









                                                                  AB 2116
                                                                  Page  2

            The Commission on Judicial Performance, rather than the Fair  
            Political Practices Commission, has oversight and the  
            authority to enforce the prohibitions on gifts and honorarium,  
            and the Code of Judicial Ethics.  

           2)Purpose  .  Historically, SJO positions were created and funded  
            at the county level to address courts' needs for judicial-like  
            resources when new judgeships were pending or not yet  
            authorized by the Legislature.  SJOs currently perform some of  
            the most complex and sensitive judicial duties that all judges  
            conduct.  According to the author, this bill is intended to  
            help eliminate actual bias, and the appearance of bias, in all  
            state courtrooms by extending the gift limitations to all  
            those with adjudicative power within the California courts.  

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081