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THE NOONER for June 27, 2011

The Supreme Court put California's violent video game statute to rest today, finding that prohibiting the sale or rental of violent video games violates the First Amendment.  Leland Yee finally got to hold that presser that he has noticed every day for the last couple of weeks, in which he blasted the Supreme Court for putting corporate interests before kids.

As a consolation prize for Yee, appointed San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee reiterated today that he won't be a candidate for mayor this November.  Willie Brown had reportedly been pushing Lee to change his mind and stay on for an elected term.  

The governor has until midnight tomorrow night to act on Senator Steinberg's farmworker card check bill, SB 104.  It provides an interesting subtext to the negotiations between Brown and Democrats for their development of a Plan B budget.  And, we're told, there will be a Plan B budget--either with the governor or without--on Thursday.

Of course, don't be shocked to see the budget debate bleed over into Friday--at least for some trailer bills, a delayed adjournment, or an early morning check-in session.  With Monday's holiday, lawmakers would love to get those per diem checks coming in again and wouldn't want to give up on the normal three-day weekend per diem playbook.  

Any "cuts-only" budget will almost certainly contain the additional education spending deferrals proposed by the governor in January, but then criticized by the governor in May. John Fensterwald asks how many deferral accounting gimmicks school districts can handle before some start going under.  

If you, like I, have never really cared to understand the "single sales factor" corporate tax debate, George Skelton lays it out in an understandable way, and notes that this may be one of the tax "hikes" that the Chamber is willing to accept in a budget deal.  

But, that's assuming a two-thirds vote deal on the budget, which is increasingly unlikely, particularly with the guv's press secretary calling legislative Republicans "basically moronic" for their handling of the budget.

Anyway, signing off from Baltimore, where I caught a great O's game at Camden Yards yesterday, but now have to suit up.  eureka, what else is going on?

Brown, Dems Leave GOP Out In Budget Plan B Talks - Phillip Matier,Andrew Ross @ sfgate.com
It's crunch week in Sacramento, with Democratic lawmakers clenching their jaws in an effort to reach a budget agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown . Why just Democrats? Because everyone has pretty much concluded that...

Jerry Brown's Office Calls Republicans 'Basically Moronic' - latimesblogs.latimes.com
With California's new fiscal year starting Friday and no compromise with the GOP on a budget in sight, Gov. Jerry Brown's chief spokesman called Sacramento Republicans "basically moronic" for failing to strike an agreement.

Capitol Journal: GOP Expected To Balk At Good-news Tax Bill - George Skelton @ latimes.com
Legislation that would increase jobs in California and raise revenue for the state isn't likely to get Republican support.

Budget Talks Test Jerry Brown's Campaign Promises - Wyatt Buchanan @ sfgate.com
Gov. Jerry Brown has spent the first six months since taking office focused on solving California's chronic budget deficit, and this week his efforts - and his campaign pledge to avoid accounting gimmicks - will face...

Supreme Court Strikes Down Arizona Matching Funds Campaign Law - Jordan Fabian @ thehill.com
The Supreme Court on Monday axed an Arizona campaign finance law that provided additional taxpayer money to in-state candidates outspent by well-funded opponents and independent political groups.

Legislature's Deception On Budget Backfires - Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Sir Walter Scott wasn't writing about politics when he sagely observed two centuries ago, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

Countdown To 2011-12: Deep Cuts To Health Programs Looming - Hanh Kim Quach @ californiabudgetbites.org
In recent days, we have been highlighting reductions that will take effect in 2011-12 to underscore the depth and breadth of the cuts. Today, we’ll focus on Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, the state’s two health coverage programs that have experienced cuts of roughly 10 percent and nearly 25 percent, respectively, from 2010-11 funding levels. These cuts will profoundly affect the lives of the 8.3 million Californians who rely on this coverage.

Public Pension Debt: How Big Is It? - Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
While not complying with an apparently flawed state law, CalPERS is opposing a similar federal bill calling for a report showing how pension debt could soar if long-term investment earnings are well below average.

Danger Zone For Deferrals? - John Fensterwald @ toped.svefoundation.org
The Democrats did that, by $3 billion, in their budget on June 15, which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed and Controller John Chiang declared unbalanced and unfit.

John Chiang Blazes Future Of CA Politics - JOHN SEILER @ calwatchdog.com
As they said in old-school physics, nature abhors a vacuum. Passed last November, Proposition 25 marginalized California Republicans by dropping from two-thirds to a majority the threshold for passing a state budget. That left the Democratic majority in the Legislature unfettered in its spending mendacity.

Does California Need A Budget Cop? - John Myers @ blogs.kqed.org
My story for our weekend newsmagazine edition of The California Report looks at the broader dispute behind the week's news of Controller John Chiang declaring the vetoed legislative budget imbalanced, and thus not good enough for legislators to get paid.

California Budget Deadline Thursday; Brown's Office Says Republicans Are 'basically Moronic' | 89.3 Kpcc - Southern California Public Radio @ scpr.org
Correction: This story originally said that the Thursday was the last day for the legislature to pass the budget, but it's the last day for the governor to sign the budget.

Jane Morrison A Tireless Campaigner At 91 - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
Jane Morrison, at 91, still has a twinkle in her steely blue eyes when she recalls her one-on-one meeting in a San Francisco hotel room with then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy. And then there was that drink...

It's No NY, But CA Still Mulling Same-sex Rights - Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
New York State on Friday enacted a law allowing same-sex couples to marry, and while the California Legislature is somewhat stymied from following suit until courts figure out whether our state constitutional ban on the practice will stand, it is moving on other same-sex equality fronts.

Fight Looms Over Prop. 13's Biggest Scam - calbuzz.com
What regular folks do know, however, is that they don’t like the idea when they learn a little about it: while 55 percent of Californians still say Prop. 13 is a good thing, 58 percent in a 2009 PPIC poll said they would favor taxing commercial property at current market rate by using a split roll assessment system.

For Dems, Health Law Is Chronic Pain - David Nather @ politico.com
Democrats may be on the offensive against the Republican Medicare plan, but they’re not finished playing defense on their health care law.

California ban on sale of 'violent' video games to children rejected - cnn.com
The Supreme Court has struck down a California law that would have banned selling "violent" video games to children, a case balancing free speech rights with consumer protection.

California Fiscal Year Looms Without Plan As Brown Tax Falters - Bloomberg - bloomberg.com
At issue is how to erase a $10 billion deficit for the year beginning July 1, the remnant of a $26 billion budget gap the state faced in January. Spending cuts passed in March and better-than-projected revenue narrowed the shortfall. Without a budget, the biggest issuer of municipal debt in the U.S. is unable to borrow on Wall Street to pay bills.

Unbalanced? Let Us Count The Ways - sacbee.com
Controller John Chiang threw the budget process for a loop with his decision to block pay for lawmakers because the Democratic budget was "unbalanced." But bringing the budget into balance is not as simple as satisfying Chiang's concerns.

Frank McCourt Takes Dodgers Into Bankruptcy Court - Bill Shaikin @ latimes.com
The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection on today. Owner Frank McCourt said he had lined up $150 million in interim financing so he could keep control of the team during the bankruptcy proceedings.

Yee, Video Game Makers React To Scotus Ruling - ibabuzz.com
By Josh Richman Monday, June 27th, 2011 at 10:23 am in California State Senate, Leland Yee.

For San Diego Schools, A Fear That Larger Classes Will Hinder Learning - nytimes.com
SAN DIEGO — Many in the forefront of what is called the education reform movement — like Bill Gates, the philanthropist, and Arne Duncan, the nation’s education secretary — have attended private schools with small class sizes. Others, like New York’s mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, and its former schools chancellor Joel I. Klein have sent their children to private schools with small class sizes.

Education: Many Inland Districts In Financial Jeopardy - DAYNA STRAEHLEY @ pe.com
Ten of the 23 school districts in Riverside County and 11 of the 33 districts in San Bernardino County may not be able to pay their bills in the next couple of years, according to a recent state report.

The Buzz: Lawmakers Jockey To Lead Senate Republicans - sacbee.com
Sens. Joel Anderson and Bob Huff have both told other members that they are interested in serving as leader of the 15-member Republican Caucus. Dutton, who is termed out next year and considering running for Assembly, has yet to signal when he will step down from the leadership job.