,, Around The Capitol
Around The Capitol
Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for August 26, 2011

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Blast from the past! Steve Kuykendall was part of the Assembly Republican Class of 1994, which eventually wrested control from Democrats the day after Willie Brown resigned from the lower house to be sworn in as mayor of San Francisco, putting an end to the delightful puppet era of Doris Allen and Brian Setencich.  Kuykendall then beat Janice Hahn after Jane Harmon sat out the 1998 election, only to be defeated when Harmon returned in 2000.

CD47 will be the location of a very interesting race, even without Laura Richardson's participation. Don't be fooled by the 10.6% Democratic advantage over Republicans. However, there is a 20.5% block of independent voters, which seem to lean conservative. John McCain won this district in 2008 (+3.3%), while Jerry Brown won it two years later (+8.2%), making it the only district in the state that McCain and Brown won.  Proposition 8 prevailed here by 23%.

Thus, we have a fascinating three-way race with Alan Lowenthal (D), Gary DeLong (R) (a Long Beach city councilmember accused by some to be a RINO), and a Republican in Kuykendall that can use the title "Congressman." Also, there may be room in this race for a moderate woman, Republican or Democrat...

The Appropriations committees set quite an agenda for the last two weeks of session, releasing a combined 228 bills from their suspense files. It was a good day for those that love (but not to eat) sharks, but not for hotel housekeepers

Of course, most of the bills were "do pass, as amended," and we won't really know what's left in them for a few days.

Perhaps the biggest issue that appears to be left off the end-of-session agenda is pension reform. SB 27 (Correa and Simitian) we held in Assembly Appropriations.  There had been talk about a compromise bill that would have grudging support from unions to head off a ballot initiative that might severely curtail defined benefit pensions. However, with the failure of Roger Niello's effort, and with a shift of focus of the California Republican Party to the referendum for State Senate self-preservation, there might not be a measure next year.  And, by the time 2014 comes around, the economy might be better and public pensions may no longer be a popular target.

The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall writes up the interesting battle over the bill allowing teachers to volunteer to administer emergency epilepsy medication. SB 161 (Huff) is opposed by the California Teachers Association and the California Nurses Association, two groups that often get their way in the Capitol. The bill made it off Assembly Approps suspense yesterday, however, and appears to be on track to passage.

Two high-profile criminal justice bills were shelved -- SB 9 (Yee) and SB 490 (Hancock).  SB 9 would have allowed youthful offenders to petition to have their sentences reduced, and SB 490 would have placed a ballot measure before voters to consider abolishing the death penalty.  Jerry Brown, who yesterday suggested that voters should be able to vote on the death penalty, is probably just fine with the parking of the bill.

While Loni Hancock lost her death penalty bill, she got her Amazon bill out of committee.  AB 155 (Charles Calderon) would trigger the same sales tax collection included in the budget act, although as an urgency bill, it would not be subject to referendum.  Of course, as an urgency bill, it will need four Republican votes, and we remember how that went earlier this year...  Nevertheless, Amazon doesn't give much cash to Republicans in California and Wal-Mart does, and Wal-Mart wants this bill passed. It'll definitely make for a fun end-of-session spectacle.

ARTICLE DU JOUR AMUSE BOUCHE: Joel Fox: With Redistricting and Top-Two Primary, Republicans Likely Will Decide Which Veteran Democrat Goes Back to Congress in CD30

ARTICLE DU JOUR DESSERT: Trounstine: The Sad Spectacle of Pete Wilson Taking a Dive
Ouch: "In [endorsing the referendum], this former advocate for a redistricting process free of partisan influence has become one of the Crybaby Republicans who don’t like the results and now demand a do-over for strictly partisan purposes."

Have a great weekend!

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On to the headines...

Portantino Proposes Repeal Of Legislature's Public Records Act - Jim Sanders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Legislation to force the Assembly and Senate to comply with the same public records standards imposed on local governments was proposed today by Assemblyman

Dan Walters: Jobs Plan And Infrastructure Needs Underscore Our Dilemma - sacbee.com
It was just coincidence that Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a billion-dollar tax proposal – which he said would improve California's struggling economy – on the same day that the Legislature's budget analyst released a long report on the state's infrastructure crisis.

Jerry Brown Suggests Support For Death Penalty Vote - David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown, for whom few issues have been as politically difficult as capital punishment, suggested today that he might support a measure asking voters to repeal the death penalty.

Shark Fin Ban In California Clears Key Senate Vote - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Shark fin ban in California clears key vote, now heads to full Senate. Some Chinese-American lawmakers oppose ban of fin, which is featured in popular soup.

State Health Exchange Taps Obama Aide For Director Job - Kevin Yamamura @ blogs.sacbee.com
The state's new health benefit marketplace, an instrumental arm of the 2010 federal health care overhaul, will announce today that it has tapped an Obama administration official as its first executive director.

Governor's Jobs Plan Has A Familiar Look - blogs.pe.com
Earlier this year, Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, introduced legislation to create a partial sales-tax exemption on purchases of equipment used for manufacturing and software development.

Attempt To Keep Cogdill, Kelley On Water Panel Blocked In Senate - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to remove two GOP appointees to the California Water Commission sparked a partisan dispute under the dome this morning as Senate Republicans sought to approve the appointees despite Brown's plans to replace them.

With Redistricting And Top-two Primary, Republicans Likely Will Decide Which Veteran Democrat Goes Back To Congress In CD 30 - Joel Fox @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
The combination of a newly drawn congressional district in a heavily Democratic area along with California's experimental top-two primary probably means Republican voters will determine whether Congressman Howard Berman or Congressman Brad Sherman will represent the newly drawn 30th Congressional District.

Gov. Brown proposes tax changes to promote CA jobs - JUDY LIN @ pe.com
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday offered a tax plan designed to promote job growth within California by proposing to close one corporate tax loophole on out-of-state companies while offering incentives for businesses to hire workers in the state.

Only One Legislator Releases Budget Info - Michael Gardner @ signonsandiego.com
Curious about how much Assemblywoman Toni Atkins spends on mail or how well Assemblyman Brian Jones pays his Capitol team? They won't tell you.

Assembly Rejects Bill To Allow Parole For Some Young Murderers - Jim Sanders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Hotly contested legislation that would have given some hope of eventual release to juvenile offenders sentenced to life without possibility of parole was rejected today by the Assembly.

Ranking Republican Dismisses Brown's Jobs Plan - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Even before Gov. Jerry Brown formally announced his new jobs package Thursday morning, a ranking Republican budget committee member dismissed it as "window dressing." At an 11 a.m. Sacramento press conference, Brown is expected to call for returning California's corporate...

State Has Adjusted Taxes For Inflation - sacbee.com
The Franchise Tax Board announced Thursday that state income tax brackets, credits and deductions for 2011 have been adjusted, as state law requires, for a 2.7 percent inflationary factor, three times as large as last year's adjustment.

Senator To Amazon: Drop Dead - Wyatt Buchanan @ sfgate.com
Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, just told us that she will make a move today to completely undercut Amazon's referendum effort on the Internet sales tax. UPDATE: AB 155 passed out of the appropriations committee today.

Prospects Already Dim For Jerry Brown's Corporate Tax Plan - David Siders and Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
The tax and jobs plan Gov. Jerry Brown proposed this morning was immediately assailed by Republicans as "creative packaging," and even Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg -- who stood beside Brown at the podium for the announcement -- said he doesn't expect it to pass.

Sen. Loni Hancock Acts To Thwart Amazon Referendum - Wyatt Buchanan @ sfgate.com
Lawmakers are aiming to torpedo a well-funded referendum that would undo a piece of the budget package requiring major online retailers to collect sales tax. On Thursday, Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, amended a bill...

The Sad Spectacle Of Pete Wilson Taking A Dive - petewilson.png @ calbuzz.com
What a sorry disappointment, seeing Pete Wilson behaving like a low-rent political hack at an age when he ought to be a senior statesman.

Calif. death penalty bill stalls until next year - DON THOMPSON @ pe.com
A legislative committee on Thursday shelved a bill that would have asked voters to close California's death row and replace capital punishment with life prison terms.

Vernon Council Adopts Reforms As Alternative To Disincorporation - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Vernon reforms: The Vernon City Council has voted unanimously to adopt reforms proposed by a state senator as an alternative to disincorporation.

California Bill On Epilepsy Medication Bucks Opposition From Teachers, Nurses - Laurel Rosenhall @ sacbee.com
It's not often that the Democratic-controlled Legislature takes a stand against the state's Democratic Party chairman and the labor unions that are the party's main allies.

Torlakson Calls For NCLB State Waiver - John Fensterwald @ toped.svefoundation.org
Entering the Beltway’s latest fray, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has joined leaders in other states in calling for a reprieve from the No Child Left Behind law – but without the strings that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is considering attaching. The most contentious would be a waiver to states contingent on adopting teacher evaluations linked to student test scores.