Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi loves the cameras. Remember this lovely photo? Sometimes these things backfire, though. The San Jose Mercury published Sunday a year-long study focusing on the power of special interests introducing legislation through lawmakers and features a photo of Hayashi chatting with a lobbyist who represents Verizon Wireless, the San Francisco 49ers and Anheuser-Busch. Sixty percent of the bills sponsored by special interest were signed into law in 2007-80, according to the Mercury News.
In 2009, Hayashi came under fire for AB 1200 which consumer rights advocates said weakened then-state Sen. Jackie Speier's landmark anti-steering legislation prohibiting insurance companies from advocating for the body shops of their choosing. Hayashi's bill was signed last September by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and was co-sponsored by some of the insurance industry's biggest players. In return for her help, Hayashi received a total of $8,000 in campaign donations from Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Farmers, the Personal Insurance Federation of California and the Association of California Insurance Company PAC.