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Anschutz insisted its changes would let any "Business Improvement District" a specially created association of property owners and government agencies apply for the funds. But only the district near the Staples Center did, receiving the maximum award of $30 million, according to state housing officials.

SACRAMENTO Imagine: At a time when California is lurching from crisis to crisis, a legislator has an idea to make life better. He puts together a bill, gathers support and shepherds it into law.

The FBI's sting operation known as Shrimpscam landed five legislators in prison but he concedes had little long term effect. "It's been going on forever and it lends itself to corrupting the whole process," Wedick said of sponsored bills. "The whole process has been hijacked."

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session. Several legislators whose names were attached to the bill dropped off, leaving only Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu D Los Angeles, as legislative backer of the amended bill.

Everybody does it. Out of 122 legislators who served at least partial terms in 2007 08, just one Sen. Tom McClintock, R Thousand Oaks refused to introduce any sponsored bills. Democrats introduced more sponsored bills than Republicans, but Republicans introduced a larger percentage of bills sponsored by private interests.

This is how plumbing manufacturers ensured that industry friendly labs and not state regulators would conduct the testing that determines whether drinking faucets sold in California are lead free. This is how a Los Angeles County billionaire crushed a legal challenge over whether his plans for a new football stadium violated the state's long standing environmental protection law.

If only Sacramento worked like that. Instead, it often works like Blue Prada Wallet

Maneuvers at midnight

Legislators, continued Pittsburg funeral home director Canciamilla, "are supposed to be the buffer between the interest groups and the public and that buffer no longer exists. Now, they're a direct conduit."

This is the path of the "sponsored bill," a method of lawmaking little noticed outside California's capital but long favored on the inside. In many states lobbyists influence legislators; Prada Wallet With Strap

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Although lawmakers in recent years have routinely failed to grapple with health care, the state budget and other matters of public interest, they've managed to do the bidding of the private interests who tout sponsored bills at an impressive clip.

Lobbyists have long been known in California as the Third House, referring to their entrenched status alongside the Legislature's two official houses, the Assembly and Senate. But through interviews with current and former legislators and aides, as well as lobbyists and outside government experts, the Mercury News documented a changed pattern: Today, lobbyists function almost as a shadow legislature, pulling the strings at every turn for short term lawmakers who have become accustomed to letting private interests monopolize the public debate. At the center of this reality is the sponsored bill.

Sponsored bills succeed. Almost half of the 1,883 bills that were sponsored in the last session became law; about one in five of the 2,982 bills that had no listed sponsor became law.

in California, they have quite baldly taken center stage in lawmaking.

A lobbyist has an idea to make life better but only for his client. The lobbyist writes the bill, shops for a willing lawmaker to introduce it and Prada Pouch Bag lines up the support. The legislator? He has to do little more than show up and vote.

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Cressman said the result is that "organizations with deep financial pockets can present their issues to the Legislature, and those that don't are in essence invisible."

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Christine Minnehan, director of legislative advocacy for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, lamented the award, saying many affordable housing projects were awarded less than half that amount. She called the outcome "a theft of public funds, and a deception of the voters."

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"You don't learn this in American civics class," said Derek Cressman, a regional director for the nonpartisan group Common Cause. "You don't learn that some interest group drafts this and gives it to a legislator along with a contribution and says, 'We would like a law introduced.' "

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Sponsored bills swamp the Legislature. They amounted to 42 percent of the bills introduced in the Assembly and a third of the Senate bills.

Profit seeking bills abound. While advocacy groups, trade associations and government agencies also sponsor legislation, more than 500 of the sponsored bills introduced in the 2007 08 session came from private industries and industry trade groups, often seeking to increase market share, repel regulations or limit lawsuits.

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Recalling his first encounters with lobbyists seeking legislative backing for their bills, former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla said, "It's like being in a Middle Eastern bazaar. You are surrounded by hawkers saying, 'Take this one, no, take this one, no, I've got a better one over here.' The openness of that the 'oh yeah, that's the way things are done' attitude was the most shocking."

The Mercury News analysis, the first ever undertaken of sponsored bills in California, revealed:

For as long as anyone now in Sacramento can remember, the California Legislature has identified outside parties pushing bills.

But at the urging of a lobbyist for the sports and entertainment giant Anschutz Entertainment Group, a different, sponsored version of the bill suddenly appeared amid a flurry of bills on the last days of the legislative Prada Sunglasses For Women 2017

Lobbyists take center stage in lawmaking

Hugh Bower, the lead staff member of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, was stunned when the bill came up that night; he had been told the issue was dead. There was such chaos, Bower recalls, that one committee member still thought the next day that the amended bill had died.

Here's one example of how sponsored bills hijack the process of lawmaking allowing private agendas to overwhelm the public interest. The bill initially sought to ensure that projects would be efficient and geographically diverse, and that they would reduce homelessness.

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A Mercury News analysis found that in 2007 08, the most recent complete two year legislative session, more than 1,800 bills about 39 percent of the total were sponsored by outside interests. And those sponsored bills made up 60 percent of the legislation that was passed into law.

A California tradition

James Wedick goes further. Now retired, Wedick was the lead undercover FBI agent who established a phony shrimp processing company in California in 1985, then documented lawmakers taking bribes to support a sponsored bill crafted to help his fake business.

What was Anschutz's interest? Its version of the bill allowed some affordable housing funds to be used for parks, landscaping and fancy sidewalks in the neighborhood around the company owned Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

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