|Member of the California State Assembly
from the 43rd district
June 10, 2010
|Preceded by||Paul Krekorian|
October 19, 1974 |
Los Angeles, California
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles (B.A.)
Loyola Law School (J.D.)
Michael Anthony "Mike" Gatto (born October 19, 1974) is an American elected official. He has served as Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Chairman of the Privacy & Consumer Protection Committee, and Chairman of the Utilities & Commerce Committee, and is the author of several pieces of notable legislation.
He worked as an aide to Congressman Brad Sherman for five years, during and after law school. As an attorney, he worked first at O'Melveny & Myers and later at Mayer Brown; his practice focused on representing small- and medium-sized businesses to resolve issues with the government. Gatto also served in the administrations of three different mayors of Los Angeles as President of the El Pueblo (Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority) Commission.
Gatto won three elections in seven weeks in 2010, and was sworn into the Assembly in mid-June. During the election, Gatto secured the endorsement of the Los Angeles Daily News, which wrote that Gatto was "fiscally minded and intelligent... the kind of legislator California needs."
Gatto's 43rd Assembly District includes Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta, La Canada Flintridge, and the Los Angeles communities of Atwater Village, Franklin Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, the Hollywood Hills, and half of Hollywood.
In 2010, Gatto introduced legislation to reduce municipal pension costs. His bill sought to cap the exposure of well-managed cities when less frugal (or corrupt) municipalities offered top officials large salaries.
In October 2010, Gatto authored ACA 4, an enhanced version of a Rainy Day Fund (or "savings account") for the State of California. The constitutional amendment mandated that the legislature, during years of strong revenues, follow a strict program limiting expenditures. First, the state would have to fulfill all obligations to education, then deposit up to 10% of general fund revenues into a savings account, to be used during years of weak revenue. After that, the state would be mandated to pay down bond debt. Gatto's Rainy Day Fund legislation passed both houses of the legislature and was approved by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
One of Gatto's bills in 2011 would have required the state to study embedding piezoelectric sensors in state highways, which produce electrical energy by the vibrations vehicles make as they traverse the pavement.
Gatto authored the California Homemade Food Act to allow small startup businesses to produce certain food products without the regulations for large commercial operators applying to them. The Act was noted by KCRA as being beneficial to small businesspeople in the food-production sector.Forbes Magazine stated the measure "created over a thousand local businesses."
In August 2012, Gatto was appointed chair of the assembly's Appropriations Committee.
In September 2012, Gatto introduced a bill requiring the California DMV to establish the California Legacy License Plate Program, bringing back exact replicas of black license plates issued in California in the 1960s.
Gatto's 2013 legislation included a bill to forbid cities from writing tickets to motorists who park at broken parking meters that a city has failed to repair. He also authored legislation which would give small businesses a safe harbor for correcting deficiencies in Proposition 65 warnings without being subject to financial penalties and lawsuits, the first substantive Prop. 65 reform ever. Gatto also authored legislation to make better use of carpool lanes during off-peak hours.
In mid-2013, Gatto pushed for an audit of the Child Protective Services departments in the state of California, based on the concern that they were not spotting child abuse fast enough.
In 2014, Gatto introduced legislation to force Congress to address campaign-finance reform. He introduced a number of measures to address hit-and-run crashes. Gatto also introduced measures to curb child abuse at elementary schools, and to address the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses.
In 2014, Gatto also authored and got signed into law significant legislation to keep film and television production jobs in California.
Two measures of Gatto's in 2014 were novel for government. One was a "Wiki-bill", using a Wikipedia-like platform to allow the public to draft legislation in the open. The other was a "Government X-Prize, whereby members of the public could win awards for providing the government with intellectual property (patents or plans) to make government processes more efficient.
Gatto was the lead Los Angeles negotiator for the California Water Bond of 2014, securing just under a billion dollars for the Los Angeles region to clean up polluted groundwater reservoirs, which were still full despite the California drought, so that the region did not need to import so much water from elsewhere.
In 2015, Gatto introduced legislation to restrict the ability of government to store indefinitely the blood and DNA of newborn children and to crack down on government selling the blood to for-profit researchers for experimentation without the knowledge of parents. He teamed up with Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey Kasem, to author a bill allowing adult children of seniors to obtain visitation rights for their loved ones.
Also in 2015, Gatto authored a major probate reform bill that allows homeowners to pass their property to loved ones without hiring a lawyer, paying to create a trust, or facing the cost and bureaucracy of probate. Of this bill, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said, "Other than Proposition 13, there is no greater bill that we support for this year." 
Gatto has one of the best attendance records in legislature, and one of the longest streaks of not missing a vote for any legislator nationwide. For example, in the 2013-2014 session, Gatto had the only perfect attendance record in the California legislature, not missing one of the Assembly's 5,897 votes.
In 2012, a data analysis conducted by the Sacramento Bee newspaper on voting records concluded that Mike Gatto was the second-most independent democratic legislator in the California State Assembly. Subsequent analyses by the same newspaper have confirmed the same.