California Insurance Commissioner candidate Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, is pushing his new bill, SB 174, to amend existing state law that would allow the appointment of any resident over the age of 18 to a civil office regardless of citizenship or immigration status.
Current California law states that someone cannot hold office if they are not a citizen at the time of their appointment. In a statement released Monday Lara said, “California is stronger when we utilize talents of all our residents, and opening state and local boards and commissions to every Californian will allow us to better serve our diverse communities. Undocumented Californians are our neighbors, co-workers and parents, and as lawmakers we can’t make good policy if their voices are left out of the discussion."
If the bill passes, each board or commission would have to analyze federal law to determine if the appointee can be compensated for the work based on their individual immigration status. Federal law prohibits residents without legal status from seeking salaried positions, for example, but immigrants granted work authorization under the Federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would be eligible for pay.
Lara gutted an unrelated bill and amended it with new language on appointments.
SB 174 is currently in the Assembly.
California Senate Makes Push
The California Senate has already waded in these waters when a panel of lawmakers appointed Lizbeth Mateo, a 33-year-old attorney and civil rights activist, to the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee. It was the first time the Senate appointed someone living in the U.S. without legal authorization to a state post.
Who is Running Against Lara?
IVN posted a story in March noting those running for Insurance Commissioner.
Here's how those candidates appear in the Secretary of States 2018 Voter Guide:
Steve Poizner | NO PARTY PREFERENCE
From 2007–2011, I served as the California Insurance Commissioner, and am seeking your support for a 2nd term of public service. My Background: I have a proven track record of success in the private sector starting and leading pioneering technology companies for over 35 years in California (e.g. my company SnapTrack invented GPS for mobile phones), and now as the founder of a nonprofit focused on expanding the innovation economy in Southern California. Why run for another term now? Californians face urgent issues: under-insured homeowners exposed to an increasing number of wildfires and floods, ongoing premium increases in health insurance markets, and the growing economic threat of cyber-crime. My record as Insurance Commissioner: We saved drivers and homeowners almost $2 billion in lower insurance rates; recovered $30 million for wildfire victims who were shortchanged by insurance companies; saved taxpayers $17 million by permanently cutting 13% of the budget (that’s a first and without layoffs!); arrested over 2500 people for insurance fraud (a record!); and restored insurance for thousands of innocent consumers after health insurance companies illegally canceled policies. Why I am running as an Independent: The California Insurance Commissioner is a regulator requiring fierce independence from insurance companies and partisan party politics. I pledge to press the Legislature to make this office officially non-partisan, and I will refuse insurance industry contributions to my campaign like I did during my first term. For a report card of my first term in office by the San Jose Mercury News, please see:www.bit.ly/Poizner
Healthcare is a right! Abolish health insurance companies. State must create non-profit provider for all required insurance. Vote Hrizi 2018!
Asif Mahmood | DEMOCRATIC
I’ve based my life’s work on a single principle taught to me by my parents: helping others is our highest calling. That’s why I became a doctor, and why I’m running for Insurance Commissioner. I was born and raised in rural Pakistan, where I attended a school that didn’t have a roof let alone chairs or desks. With my teachers’ help, I was the first person in my town to earn the grades to attend medical school and move to the United States. Now as a doctor of internal medicine, I’ve seen my patients’ struggles—ranging from insurance coverage issues, prescription drug issues, in- and out-of-network issues, follow-up issues, and support beyond medical care. I’m proud to say I’ve never asked for reimbursement from any patient who didn’t have insurance. Because of my years of experience, I’m the best person to serve Californians as Insurance Commissioner. In fact, I’ll be the first doctor to ever hold the seat. My first priority will be fixing the state of health insurance. I’ll take on Pharmaceutical companies that are putting profits before people and support Medicare for All. That’s why I refuse to take contributions from insurance companies or pharmaceuticals—because Californians are my constituents, not Big Pharma. As a Muslim immigrant from the state of California—I’m a triple threat to Donald Trump. I’ll be the first Muslim ever elected to statewide office in the country. Let’s send a clear message—it’s time to get tough on hate.