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THE NOONER for July 8, 2011

Both houses wrapped up their policy committees yesterday and have bailed for the weekend.  They have one more week of work before the month-long summer recess that begins July 15.  Yes, recess.  A real recess.  No "on call" sessions.  Nada.  Zilch.  

For those of us coping with the Budget 15, the respite is just what the good doctor ordered.

As expected, the biggest bill yesterday was Loni Hancock's SB 490, which would place a measure on the June 2012 ballot to abolish the death penalty.  The Chron's Wyatt Buchanan writes an interesting piece about two unexpected, but vocal, proponents of the bill.  The bill was approved by Assembly Public Safety on a 5-2 party-line vote.

On the budget front, the latest national jobs numbers don't bode well for a trigger-free holiday season.  While S&P yesterday characterized California's budget plan as "largely realistic," the clock is ticking on the economy to generate the tax revenues that will avoid the $2.4 billion in triggers.  John Myers reports on another possible revenue problem -- a dispute between the state and Indian tribes with casinos.

Indeed, the economy still sucks and more government job cuts are likely coming.  As a consolation prize to the jobless, you'll now get plastic and can skip those trips to the liquor store to cash your gov't check.

Meanwhile, while the Real Politicians from Orange County fight to get their $48 million restored, new cities in the Inland Empire are saying "What about us???"  They were put in the budgetary penalty box through the removal of a VLF subsidy.  Like OC, these cities are mostly represented by legislators that didn't support the budget, so you can imagine that there's not exactly a welcome mat lying in front of Bacteria Bear

MUST READ: Special interests pour money into Brown's favorite charities

Let me get this straight.  Corporations and interests that oppose taxes and embolden the anti-tax fever in the Capitol, which is costing our public schools billions, have poured $2.3 million into two charter schools?

POLITICAL ANALYSIS DU JOUR:  From Calbuzz: "Memo to the [Fresno] Bee: The only thing 'key to Feinstein’s re-election chances' is that she’s still breathing come election day."  (responding to the Bee's story that her re-election is dependent on a water bill)

WEEKEND WEATHER AROUNDTHECAPITOL: Fri: 93/60, Sat: 94/55, Sun: 90/56

SOCAL READERS: Remember, next weekend is Carmageddon.  If you have to go anywhere, do it this weekend.



A Constitutional Change Taxpayers And Businesses Should Pursue - Joel Fox @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
As taxpayers and businesses consider the political landscape during and after the coming election year, they might want to think about making a small but powerful change to the state constitution. Article 2, Section 9 (a) grants the people referendum power to challenge bills passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor. However, the constitution prohibits the use of referendums for tax levies. Excising that prohibition from the constitution would add an important taxpayer protection by potentially giving voters the final say over taxes.

California Assembly Speaker Battles Fellow Democrats Over Latino Caucus Disclosure - Torey Van Oot @ sacbee.com
Assembly Speaker John A. Perez is battling with fellow Democrats in the Latino Legislative Caucus, urging them to fully disclose donors to its nonprofit foundation.

California Again Defends Healthcare Reform Law - Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
California Attorney General Kamala Harris – who already had joined friend-of-the-court briefs defending the constitutionality of last year’s federal healthcare reform law in the 6th, 4th and 11th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal – has now done so again in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Bill Fights Death Penalty - Timm Herdt @ vcstar.com
The measure, largely inspired by the publication last month of a study that concluded California taxpayers have spent $4 billion since 1978 on a system that has produced just 13 executions, has quickly emerged as perhaps the most emotional issue the Legislature will confront this year.

Special Interests Pour Money Into Brown's Favorite Charities - Will Evans @ californiawatch.org
Jerry Brown's term as governor promises big returns for the two Oakland charter schools he founded. So far this year, Brown has raised $2.3 million for the Oakland Military Institute and Oakland School for the Arts. American Indian tribes, foundations and companies that lobby state government regularly poured in donations at Brown's request.

Key To Feinstein's Re-election: A Beating Heart - calbuzz.com
We're still vigorously scratching our corporate head, if not tearing out our collective hair, about a Fresno Bee piece that came over the mojo wire just before the three-day weekend, propounding one of the weirder political theses since one of us (we name no names) picked Dick Gephardt as the man to beat in 1988. "Water a key to Feinstein's re-election chances," proclaimed the hed on this mysterious yarn. Memo to the Bee: The only thing "key to Feinstein's re-election chances" is that she's still breathing come election day.

Unlikely 2 Back Bill To Close State's Death Row - Wyatt Buchanan @ sfgate.com
California's death penalty could be repealed by voters under a measure that is backed by two unlikely people: the author of the 1978 ballot initiative that greatly expanded the scope of capital crimes and a former San Quentin warden who oversaw four executions.

Complaint Against State Board Member - John Fensterwald @ toped.svefoundation.org
Patricia Rucker, a State Board of Education member whose day job is lobbyist for the California Teachers Association, is facing a conflict of interest complaint by supporters of the Parent Trigger law that the CTA wants to gut.

Jerry Brown struggles to get rid of state cars - David Siders @ sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown said in January that he wanted to sell off half the state's passenger vehicle fleet, one of several highly symbolic measures Brown proposed to cut costs.

Bill To Abolish Death Penalty In California Advances - latimesblogs.latimes.com
A proposal to ask California voters to repeal the death penalty was advanced Thursday by a state legislative panel after opponents of the current law argued it was an expensive and ineffective approach to violent crime. The Assembly's Public Safety...

Death penalty bill advances but its fate remains murky - Paresh Dave @ sacbee.com
A push to ask voters to abolish the death penalty cleared its first legislative hearing Thursday, but its political viability – among lawmakers and the electorate – remains questionable.

The Redistricting Commission: Descending Into A Racial Quagmire - Tony Quinn @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
Republican Assemblyman Roberts was defeated in 1934 by a Democrat, Augustus Hawkins, who went on to Congress in 1962, and ended up serving for half a century in public office. His successor in Congress is Rep. Maxine Waters, well known for her long advocacy of African American causes.

CalPERS, Pension Reform Measures Face Major Test - blogs.sacbee.com
Measures to end pension spiking, reduce gift limits for the state pension funds' employees and shut the pension funds' "revolving doors" now sit in the Legislature's appropriations committees, facing a major test they before they can reach Gov.

Dan Walters: Will redevelopment emerge in new form? - Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Redevelopment, a powerful and controversial tool that has remade – for better or worse – California's urban landscape for the past six decades, will soon die. Or will it?

Candidates Clash In Debate In Cal House Election - The Associated Press @ signonsandiego.com
The candidates in a Southern California congressional race clashed over tax cuts and government regulation in what's expected to be their only debate before next week's election.

Efforts To Restore New Cities' Funding Under Way In Capitol - JIM MILLER @ pe.com
SACRAMENTO - Riverside County's newest cities are ramping up efforts to reverse a potentially bankrupting hit to their general funds, but there were no signs this week of an imminent breakthrough.

Legislator's Blood Alcohol Nearly Double Legal Limit, DA Says - signonsandiego.com
Newly released court documents allege that Assemblyman Martin Garrick had a blood-alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit when he was arrested by California Highway Patrol officers for driving under the influence the night of June 15.

State Poised To Lose Indian Casino Cash? - John Myers @ blogs.kqed.org
As legislators ratified a new state budget last week, it's doubtful that many of them considered the dangers to that budget posed by the final legal smackdown of California's attempt to get a cut of millions of dollars in tribal gaming revenue.

Oc Lawmaker Helps Residents Get Clean Water - Total Buzz - The Orange County Register - totalbuzz.ocregister.com
While Orange County lost $48 million a year thanks to the state budget, there was some good news for the OC tucked into the spending plan. Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana, announced this week that a line item in the budget helps solves a dire water quality problem facing some 90 families in Santa Ana, who live in the Valley Adams neighborhood just north of Valley High School

California's Debt Rating Outlook Raised By S&P - Tom Petruno @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
Standard & Poor's has removed the immediate risk of a downgrade of California's debt rating, saying the state's plan to balance its budget was "largely realistic."

Nancy Pelosi Blasts Plan To Trim Social Security Benefit Growth : Politics Blog - Carolyn Lochhead @ sfgate.com
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum to the White House on Social Security and Medicare today, saying House Democrats won't back a budget deal that cuts these programs. The...

National Groups Adding Fuel To Fiery Congressional Runoff In South Bay - latimesblogs.latimes.com
For an election that wasn't supposed to be much of a contest, the race to succeed former Rep. Jane Harman in Congress has grown increasingly hot -- and garnered more and more national attention -- as Tuesday's balloting nears. Republican...

Obama Faces Heat From The Left Over Social Security - Michael A. Memoli @ latimes.com
The political left is steaming amid reports that President Obama is offering changes to Social Security and Medicare as part of a grand compromise to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

State Starts Delivering Jobless Benefits Via Debit Card - Adam Weintraub @ sacbee.com
The monthly unemployment check is disappearing for the 1.2 million Californians who receive jobless benefits, to be replaced by a state-issued debit card, officials said Thursday.

Brown Says 3,800 Vehicles Cut, $16.4 Million Net - ibabuzz.com
By Josh Richman Thursday, July 7th, 2011 at 12:02 pm in Jerry Brown, state budget.