A bill by state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) that prohibits public members of government agencies from immediately influencing former colleagues on behalf of their employers was approved this week by the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

Correa’s measure was prompted by the actions of former Orange County Transportation Authority board member Peter Buffa.

Buffa left the transportation agency last spring and within days was working for Barclays Capital, an investment firm that does business with OCTA. Shortly afterward, Buffa attended meetings in New York with former OCTA colleagues.

Current state law prohibits elected officials who serve on the boards of government agencies from trying to influence former colleagues on behalf of their employers for a year after leaving their agencies. But the so-called “revolving door law” doesn’t cover nonelected officials who serve on public boards.

“I was shocked to discover that appointed members of local boards and commissions aren’t subjected to the same strict revolving door laws that all elected officials, including the Legislature, have to follow,” said Correa in a news release.

Correa’s measure would close that loophole. It cleared the elections committee on a 5-0 vote Tuesday and was sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Correa is chairman of the elections committee.

In November, OCTA adopted its own policy against public members trying to influence the board as soon as they leave.


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