Bill Lockyer looks back on time as California’s 32nd State Treasurer

The California State Treasurer’s Office plays a key part in helping the so-called Golden State to meet the ever-present challenges surrounding securing a prosperous future for an increasingly diverse and growing population. Appointed as California’s 32nd State Treasurer on November 7, 2006, attorney and former elected official Bill Lockyer looks back on his time in the crucial and highly prestigious role.


“As 32nd State Treasurer, I had many essential tools at my disposal to help create a stronger California,” explains Bill Lockyer, speaking from his home in southern Los Angeles County. Lockyer was, he says, committed to putting these tools to the greatest possible use, ensuring well-paid jobs, improved transportation, superior schools, quality health care, and more affordable housing for the people of California.


Another of Lockyer’s top priorities, he reports, was vigilant stewardship of taxpayers’ money. “I also prioritized environmental protection,” explains the former elected official and attorney. Indeed, during his time as California’s 32nd State Treasurer, Bill Lockyer sponsored ‘green bond’ legislation intended to make government buildings, in particular, more energy-efficient, thereby reducing their contribution to climate change.


Bill Lockyer also sponsored another initiative designed to make it more cost-effective for schools and other governmental entities to install renewable energy sources, he explains. “At the same time, I revived the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority,” reveals Lockyer, “which afforded low-cost financing for renewable energy and alternative fuels projects.”


Elsewhere, while serving as the 32nd State Treasurer of California, Bill Lockyer became a leading voice in the call for meaningful, long-term budget reforms aimed at ending chronic deficits, strengthening the State of California’s credit rating, and bolstering its credibility with taxpayers. “In 2007, I published ‘Looking Beyond the Horizon: Investment Planning for the 21st Century,'” explains Lockyer, “a report in which I advocated for longer-term budget planning and prioritization processes.”


A year into his time in the role, meanwhile, in 2007, then-California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer launched what’s still considered a largely unprecedented campaign to drive the increased purchase of California bonds by investors. “The program received national attention,” Lockyer reveals, looking back, “and was quickly copied by other states.”


As California’s 32nd State Treasurer, Bill Lockyer utilized, it’s said, a wealth of leadership, management, and policymaking skills that the now-retired official had developed over the course of more than 30 years in public service.


From 1999 until 2006, Bill Lockyer served as California Attorney General. Here, he helped to revolutionize crime fighting in the state, cracked down on public health insurance fraud, and recovered billions of dollars for defrauded energy ratepayers, consumers, and taxpayers. Prior to his election in 1998, Lockyer served for 25 years in the California State Legislature.


Bill Lockyer retired from politics in 2015. A graduate of both the University of California and the University of the Pacific, today, attorney and former elected official Bill Lockyer is counsel for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.

Bill Lockyer Leads Campaign that Reduces Hate Crimes in the State of CA

Hate Crimes Have Been a Major Issue in the United States, Including CA, and Bill Lockyer Has Been Able to Reduce Them

Bill Lockyer
Bill Lockyer

During the past few decades, there have been a number of significant changes that have taken place in the United States. Largely, California has led the way. What California has been able to do, the rest of the country has quickly followed. This has to do with the dedicated public servants that have turned California into a leader and model for the entire country. With the help of people such as Bill Lockyer, California was able to significantly reduce its hate crime statistics during his time in office. It is important for everyone to understand why hate crimes are different and what Bill Lockyer has been able to do to improve the situation.

Bill Lockyer Discusses the Impact of Hate Crimes

Crime comes in many shapes and forms. On the other hand, crimes that take place on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation, gender, ethnic background, religion, or any other defining characteristic could be categorized as a hate crime. Bill Lockyer led the way in identifying and stamping out hate crimes. When people think about Los Angeles during the 1970s, they often have visions of police dogs, racial discrimination, and horrible acts of brutality in their minds. Now, California is largely seen as a welcoming place. This is a change that has taken place thanks to the strong efforts of people such as Bill Lockyer who have worked to reduce the frequency of hate crimes in the state of California.

Bill Lockyer Discusses Public Campaigns and Educational Opportunities

One of the major reasons why hate crimes have reduced in the state of California has to do with public campaigns and educational opportunities that have increased awareness regarding the dangers of hate crimes. When Bill Lockyer first took office, the idea of a hate crime was still relatively new. On the other hand, he also led the way as far as pushing for hate crime legislation, ensuring that these crimes were prosecuted appropriately, and ensuring that everyone was educated on the various forms of racial discrimination that used to take place. Thanks to these public pushes, the frequency of hate crimes have reduced.

Bill Lockyer Discusses the Future of California

Even though hate crimes have reduced in the state of California, Bill Lockyer knows that the state still has a long way to go with respect to other issues concerning racial discrimination, housing opportunities, the environment, and more. It is the hope that California will continue to serve as a model for the rest of the country as far as progressive movements and legislation that improve the quality of life of people everywhere. It will be interesting to see where the state goes from here.

Bill Lockyer Reveals Unfair Legislative Burden Set To Hit Insurance Companies Following Coronavirus Losses

Attorney and former politician Bill Lockyer explores proposed legislation likely to unfairly burden California’s insurance companies with mounting COVID-19 losses.

According to Bill Lockyer, most companies carry insurance policies that take care of business interruption, protecting against the financial impact of disruptions caused by physical damage to a property. While such policies do not typically cover events such as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a new bill looks set to alter California legal rules in this regard, unfairly burdening insurance companies, the attorney and former politician says, following losses stemming from COVID-19.

“How does a centuries-old fundamental idea, dating back to the 1750s, relate to the coronavirus controversies of 2020?” asks Bill Lockyer of the Code of Hammurabi, speaking from his home in Long Beach, California. “It counsels keeping your word,” says the attorney and former politician.

“Unfortunately, the legislature in California is currently considering AB1552, which would reject the code’s settled principles,” reveals Bill Lockyer. The bill, he says, proposes a solution to losses suffered by restaurants and a variety of other businesses by shifting the cost of COVID-19 to property insurance policies designed to compensate, instead, for a broken water pipe, a kitchen fire, or similar.

“In an attempt to mitigate the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic, lawmakers are pressing forward,” Bill Lockyer goes on, “with legislation that essentially rewrites pre-COVID-19 insurance policies.”

Intended to provide financial relief to struggling business owners, such a change would, first and foremost, however, Bill Lockyer says, instead significantly undermine the ability of insurers to pay for claims occurring as a result of fires, for example, or from violent storms. “The bill would require insurers to cover losses that they never collected premiums for,” says the expert.

Attorney and former elected official Bill Lockyer reports that insurance companies have estimated that premiums collected in a year would likely be exhausted with just one week’s closure losses. “If enacted, AB1552 would expose insurance companies to staggering liability for claims on which policyholders simply did not purchase coverage,” adds the attorney and retired politician.

A better solution, Bill Lockyer suggests, would be a federal pandemic relief program. “This pandemic is unprecedented, and singling out insurance companies to shoulder the financial burden would not only cripple the industry,” he adds, wrapping up, “but also their fundamental ability to pay out for covered claims, such as wildfire losses, slowing down—rather than accelerating—California’s recovery.”

Bill Lockyer
Bill Lockyer

Bill Lockyer is counsel for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Lockyer served as California’s state treasurer and attorney general, during which time he also acted as president of the National Association of Attorneys General. A graduate of both the University of California and the University of the Pacific, prior to holding statewide office, attorney and former elected official Bill Lockyer served in the California State Legislature for over two decades and led the upper house as president pro tempore of the California State Senate.

Bill Lockyer Discusses the Difference Between a 401(k) and a Pension Plan

Bill Lockyer is the former State Treasurer of California. He also served as a state senator and as the Attorney General of California

Bill Lockyer Explains What a 401(k) Plan Is

A 401(k) plan is a retirement account available to employees through their employers. When you add money to your 401(k), a portion of your salary is held back by your employer, and that money is placed in a fund that you’ll receive upon retirement. The money is “tax-deferred” meaning that it’s taken from your paycheck before taxes and won’t be taxed until you access it when you retire.

“Some employers offer what’s called a ‘401(k) match’,” explains Bill Lockyer. “That means they will match employee contributions up to a certain percentage with their own money. You should always take advantage of a match program if your employer offers it – it’s basically free money!”

Because 401(k) plans are meant for retirement, there are often heavy penalties for withdrawing the money before you’re 59 ½.

What Is A Pension Plan? Bill Lockyer Explains

A pension plan is a retirement account funded and sponsored by your employer on your behalf. It is based on a formula that includes factors like age, salary, and how long you’ve worked with the company. “For example, your pension benefit may be two percent of your average salary for the last five years you were employed times your total years of service,” explains Bill Lockyer. Over your years of employment, your employer makes contributions on your behalf and you receive regular predetermined payouts every month from the day you retire.

Bill Lockyer Discusses the Difference Between 401(k) and Pension Plans

“The major differences between 401(k)s and pension plans are who pays into them, who’s in control of the money, and the guarantee of money during retirement,” says Bill Lockyer.

  • A pension plan is funded by your employer, while 401(k)s are funded by you – the employee. Remember that some employers do match employee contributions, but usually only up to around 3-6 percent of your salary.
  • A 401(k) gives you control over your fund contributions – you can put as much or as little as you like into it. A pension plan is based on a formula so you can’t put in extra.
  • Pension plans guarantee a monthly check during retirement – usually until your death. A 401(k) offers no such guarantee. Your monthly allowance will depend on how much you contributed and the state of the market.
Bill Lockyer
Bill Lockyer

Pension plans have existed for a long time, while 401(k)s are relatively new. However, there are very few companies left in America that offer pension plans. “401(k)s are much cheaper for companies,” says Bill Lockyer. “Even if they offer a match, that requires an employee to invest in their 401(k), which an alarming majority of people don’t do.” Bill Lockyer encourages readers to invest in any retirement plans available through their employers. “And if they don’t offer one, you need to be putting away at least 10 percent of your income somewhere to save for retirement. 12-15 percent is much safer.”

Bill Lockyer

Bill Lockyer Discusses the Top 3 Non-Fiction Histories You Must Read in 2020

Bill Lockyer served in a distinguished political career as the former California State Treasurer and former Attorney General of California. He served in the legislature for over twenty-five years – more than half of that time was spent in the senate. As a lover of the law, he also found a passion for historical non-fiction and the lessons that it can teach us today.

“After all, as George Santayana said, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,’” says Bill Lockyer. “I think that’s true in politics, in the law, and in life. I’m fascinated by the patterns of the past and the lessons that we can glean from them. With everything that’s going on in the world, I think we could all use a little historical perspective to help us make sense of things.”

The books on his recommendation list are from multiple decades and comprise a sort of “greatest hits” list, Lockyer informs us.

Bill Lockyer’s Recommendation for a Good History of Economics Read
“Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, is one of the all-time classics for a reason,” says Lockyer, long-time non-fiction enthusiast. At its core, it’s exploring the answer to why economics developed so unevenly around the world.

The author, Jared Diamond, published the book in 1997 and it quickly became a New York Times bestseller and a Pulitzer Prize Winner. In the book, he hypothesizes that the arc of human history drastically shifted under the pressure of geographic, biological, and environmental factors, creating the superpowers that still rule the world today.

“If you love non-fiction, this is not really an original recommendation,” admits Bill Lockyer. But it’s a fantastic read and completely worth your time if you haven’t read it yet.”

A Perfect Read if You Love Teddy Roosevelt Says Bill Lockyer

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War takes a closer look at Teddy Roosevelt’s time in office and explores the dark side of American foreign policy.

“It almost reads like a thriller,” enthuses Lockyer. “This is a truly thorough examination of the development of foreign policy through the lens of racism and how it affected every aspect of the growth of our nation.” Bill Lockyer calls it a “must-read.”

Bill Lockyer Loves This Examination of Homelessness in America

Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America explores the question, “Why are there so many homeless people in America?”

“As a country, we were built on the belief that everyone deserves a shot at the American dream. This a look at what happens when that dream is unobtainable. It’s a discussion about the systemic problems that promote homelessness in our country – and it’s an examination of how we can fix this growing epidemic,” says Lockyer.

Bill Lockyer

How Bill Lockyer Has Helped Fight Against Hate Crime

Hate crimes are just a terrible thing, dealing with a perpetrator victimizing another because of an aspect of themselves. Bill Lockyer explains how he has helped fight this.

Hate crimes can come in a wide variety of different types, but typically, hate crimes are committed by a powerful group against a weaker group. Whether the reason is due to skin color, sexuality, gender, religion, or any number of other qualities of a person, it is sadly an all-too-common thing, growing more prevalent in recent years, perhaps most notably the 2017 ‘Unite the Right’ protest that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a number of prominent white supremacists and Neo-Nazis gathered. Bill Lockyer has a history of pushing against hate crimes, and he discusses how he employs various tactics to succeed at this.

Bill Lockyer’s History of Fighting Hate Crime: How He Did It

One major contribution Bill Lockyer made to the fight against hate crime was when he introduced the very first legislation in California in 1984 relating to hate crime. This legislation sought to protect people from hate crimes based on their race, skin color, religion, ancestry, nationality, disability, gender, or sexuality. For example, American Sikhs sometimes face violence or discrimination based on the perception that they are Muslim, a group that itself has been an increasingly popular target for hate crimes since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Bill Lockyer spent 1999 to 2007 as the Attorney General of California, and during that time, he has taken up a number of issues, including the subject at hand. Bill Lockyer’s second major contribution was opening the Civil Rights Office at the Department of Justice soon after replacing former AG Dan Lungren. This department was responsible for the investigation into Tyisha Miller’s 1998 shooting death. 

This led to the intervention by state AG Bill Lockyer, who ordered the Police Department to adopt a sweeping reform plan designed to root out any racism. Miller was killed Dec. 28, 1998, when four officers were called to a location where she had locked herself in her vehicle, and then passed out while a friend had gone for help. The officers were fired for their conduct and a federal investigation was conducted. 

In 2005, he noted that hate crimes experienced a drop compared to 2004, dropping 4.5 percent. It was the fourth time California had seen a decrease in a row. Mind you, despite experiencing a drop in 2005, some rose; for example, anti-Hispanic hate crime increased by 6.5 percent. Bill Lockyer notes, the only good number of hate crimes to have is zero. We still have a long way to go to reduce hate crimes, especially as violent hate crimes have hit a 16-year high in 2019 (while interestingly seeing a drop in nonviolent hate crimes).

One barrier to dealing with hate crimes, which Bill Lockyer wants to tear down, is one that makes people feel reluctant to report when they are a victim of a hate crime. In 2001, when Bill Lockyer discussed this in the Civil Rights Commission on Hate Crimes. He brought up multiple avenues to approach this problem, including human relations outreach to affected communities, while a bill by then-Senator Liz Figueroa proposed conferring resources to schools to create programs that help students understand, identify, and report hate crimes, which will help give people an understanding of the difference at an early age, Bill Lockyer notes.

Bill Lockyer

Bill Lockyer Discusses How Treasury Departments Can Impact the Education Gap

In 2020, the average cost of in-state tuition for a four-year public college is $21,950 per year. For a private university, the average cost is $49,879 annually.

Bill Lockyer Speaks Out About The Price of Higher Education

Bill Lockyer
Bill Lockyer

These prices are staggering compared to costs even just ten years ago. “The rising costs of education are making it impossible for people to pay for college on their own,” says Bill Lockyer, former State Treasurer of California. “There is a disturbing gap between the importance of obtaining a college degree and the ability to pay for one.”

While America has one of the most educated workforces in the world, our country also leads the world in student debt. “Starting out with an average of $80,000 dollars of debt – that’s a burden on our young people and on our economy,” says Bill Lockyer.

Bill Lockyer Discusses State Treasury Savings Programs

But Bill Lockyer thinks State Treasury Departments can help close that gap a little. “You have to empower people – give them the tools they need to save for their children’s education,” says Lockyer.

During his time as State Treasurer, Lockyer instituted a program called “ScholarShare.” Run through the State Treasurer’s office, the ScholarShare savings plan was a 529 college savings plan – meaning it grew tax-deferred, and when it was used for tuition and other college expenses the disbursements were tax-free.

“When you’re talking about money that people are saving for their children’s education, you want every dollar to go directly to that cause,” says Bill Lockyer.

“Entry-level jobs that used to be available to high-school graduates now require a college degree to even be considered as an applicant,” Lockyer points out. “And many higher-level jobs – directors, executives, c-suite jobs – require advanced degrees. We have to make sure that the education level of our young people rises. Not just to ensure their future financial security and happiness, but to keep our state – our country – economically competitive.”

“Creating and implementing a plan like ScholarShare isn’t enough,” stresses Lockyer. “You have to incentivize people to use it. There should be no annual fees, no income limits – remove as many entry barriers as possible.”

Bill Lockyer adds, “And you have to advertise the program. You have to get the word out. Make sure that your state’s elementary schools, education counselors, parents, and grandparents all know about their options. They can’t save if they don’t know the program exists.”

About Bill Lockyer