When it comes to California lawmakers, the first question most people ask is what is their favorite food?
That’s right, they don’t always get to choose.
And if they did, it’s not usually on a menu.
The California Legislative Information Agency (CLIA) says a new law that went into effect on Wednesday requires legislators to sign a statement that states their political affiliation.
It is not mandatory, but it gives lawmakers the ability to be more specific about their political leanings, says Lorna Sorenson, the agency’s director of legislative affairs.
“The purpose of the statement is to ensure that all legislators are fully aware of their responsibilities as legislators and that they are not misusing their positions to support any political cause or campaign,” she says.
While this may seem like a simple, straightforward task, it has led to some surprises for legislators.
The first of the unexpected statements came from state Rep. Richard Pan, a San Jose Democrat.
Pan said in an email that he “cannot read a book,” and that he was “not sure how to use an iPad.”
Pan has a long history of controversial statements.
In 2016, he called for a boycott of the Golden State Warriors because the team is not “really a team.”
He also voted against a bill that would have made it easier for people to sue companies for discrimination.
The LIAA says that Pan’s statements are still subject to a public comment period, but the agency recommends that lawmakers read the statement, which will include the lawmakers’ political affiliation, and take the time to respond to it.
“We hope legislators will consider carefully their statements and make sure they understand the responsibilities of their position,” Sorensey says.
The next surprising statement came from a Republican state senator who also voted for the bill.
“I am a Democrat,” state Sen. Matt Dababneh said.
“My wife is a Democrat.
And my son is a Republican.”
The state Senate passed the bill on a 7-2 vote, and Dabobneh says he is proud to be a Republican.
He also says he believes his son was targeted because of his ethnicity.
The last of the surprising statements came after a debate over a bill to require the labeling of GMO crops.
Jerry Brown, a Democrat, and Sen. Ben Allen, a Republican, had been working on the bill, and the bill’s main sponsor, state Sen, Kevin de León, was an ally of Brown.
The bill passed in the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday and is now headed to Brown’s desk.
The Senate approved the bill in a vote of 14-6.
The Assembly approved it on a 12-5 vote.
Both the Assembly and Senate are now debating the legislation.
It was approved in the Assembly by a vote to 34-18, and it will now head to Brown for his signature.
The Senate will hold another hearing next week on the GMO labeling bill.