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Correa Measure Seeks Transparency in Local Government

SACRAMENTO, CA — State Senator Lou Correa (Orange County) presented Senate Bill 501 (SB 501) on the Senate Floor last week. This legislative measure requires each officer or designated employee in local government to annually file a compensation disclosure form that provides compensation information for the proceeding year.

Sen. Lou Correa speaking on Senate floor (File Photo)

Senator Correa has introduced SB 501 in response to recent scandals, where local public officials are receiving exorbitant salaries. The measure is aimed at increasing transparency in local government.

“This reform measure provides “easy access” for the public and the press to know first hand what the compensation and employer costs are for those in the public trust, and those entrusted with the finances of their governmental agency,” said State Senator Lou Correa

SB 501 specifies that the compensation disclosure form is a public record and shall be provided to a person upon request as soon as practicable, but not later than the second business day following the day on which the request was received. The governmental entity is required to post the information onto the website if the entity does have a website, making accessibility easier. This measure further authorizes the district attorney or any interested person to commence an action by mandamus or injunction to compel an officer, designated employee, county, city, city and county, school district, special district or JPA to comply with the provisions of this measure.  SB 501utilizes existing reporting infrastructure created by the Political Reform Act to provide greater ease of use, and minimizing any cost possibly associated with respecting the public’s right to know.

SB 501 is now in the Assembly for consideration.

Senator Correa Supports Antifraud Legislation

Senator Correa also joined a unanimous Senate in supporting Senate Bill 146 (SB 156-Wright) that will help lower the cost of worker’s compensation premiums by requiring that insurance providers send a summary Notice of Services to injured workers to protect against the filing of false claims.

“When worker’s compensation fraud occurs, just like with any other form of fraud, the cost is pushed on the consumer,” said Senator Correa. “SB 156 will help lower the cost of worker’s compensation premiums while strengthening antifraud efforts.”

The California Department of Insurance regulates more than $ 123 billion dollars of insurance business annually. Workers’ compensation business accounted for $ 11.5 billion dollars of that business in 2006.

A 2008 report issued by the Department of Insurance Advisory Task Force estimated that insurance fraud of regulated businesses amounts of $ 15 billion dollars per year, costing each resident an average of more than $ 500 dollars per year.

Perpetrators often defraud more than one insurance program. An effective antifraud effort requires greater cooperation, coordination, and communication of impacted insurers, services, and regulating agencies.