Riverside Supervisor Proposes Overhaul of County Endorsement Process After Gas Tax ‘Endorsement’ Takes Him by Surprise
Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries was surprised last month when he learned that his board had ‘endorsed’ Senate Bill 1, which would raise gasoline taxes to pay for transportation infrastructure improvements. Jeffries had never voted to endorse such a tax. To his recollection, the board hadn’t either.
As it turns out, the endorsement was an error that arose out of some heavy presumptiveness. Based on the board’s stated support for increased funding for state and federal transportation obligations, as well as its endorsement of a similar bill in 2015, the county’s lobbying team went ahead and registered the county as a supporter of Senate Bill 1. Now Jeffries is seeking a change in the way county endorsements of state or federal legislation are made.
Policy A-27 would overhaul legislative advocacy efforts for Riverside County. Under the supervisor’s proposal, letters of endorsement sent to state or federal lawmakers would show how each supervisor voted on a particular proposal, making clear whether the vote was split or unanimous. The letters would also make it clear that the endorsement is limited to the legislation’s wording as of that date, not including any future amendments. All endorsements would be placed on the board’s calendar for public consumption and the executive office would provide the board with monthly updates on the legislation being endorsed.
"Improved communication between the county's legislative advocates, our executive office and the Board of Supervisors will allow the county to more effectively achieve its legislative goals on behalf of constituents," Jeffries’ proposal reads. "Requiring publication of legislative endorsements and status will provide more transparency and information to the general public and the media."