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LA Area Lawmakers Fly To Maui To Mingle With Lobbyists During The Pandemic

File: A general view of the Fairmont Kea Lani during the 2010 Maui Film Festival in 2010 in Wailea, Hawaii. (Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Maui Film Festival)
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A number of California legislators — including at least two from Southern California — have reportedly decided to wave off the state’s spiking COVID-19 numbers, and Governor Newsom’s travel advisory, to attend a conference in Hawaii with lobbyists.

Assembly members Wendy Carrillo (D-Boyle Heights) and Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) are among those apparently attending the annual Independent Voter Project event, which is typically attended by lawmakers and lobbyists.

Politico was first to track down the evidence: Carrillo posted a tweet on Sunday with a geolocation tag indicating it was sent from Kihei, Hawaii. In a recent campaign finance filing, Rubio reported spending more than $1,600 on Hawaiian Airlines tickets.

The 2020 version of the yearly shindig is being held at a luxury hotel, the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui. (It looks nice! You can get a room with bed and breakfast for $639 per night.) Several major lobbying interests, including the Western States Petroleum Association, skipped the event because of non-essential travel restrictions.

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Hawaii currently requires travelers to be temperature-screened at the airport and show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of their flight to the islands. The incubation period for the virus is several days, and medical experts, including the CDC, recommend a 14-day quarantine if you come into contact with someone who’s been infected.

Independent Voter Project’s executive director, Dan Howle told the San Francisco Chronicle that about 120 people are attending the event this year, including fewer than 20 lawmakers from Washington, Texas and California. The Independent Voter Project paid for their airfare and a five-night resort stay.

Howle told the Los Angeles Times that Rubio was the only California legislator in attendance to give him permission to confirm her presence at the conference.

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