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THE NOONER for February 9, 2012

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  • AD51 - removed Ruben Sierra (D)
  • AD63 - removed Maria Santillan-Baes (D)

BALLOT BLOAT: Two more initiatives were cleared for circulation yesterday--one to cap state spending and the other to require shareholder approval for corporate campaign contributions. There are now 65 measures in circulation, and those that qualify by June 28, would be on the November ballot. To complete the signature validation process, they likely need to be turned in by early May. Based on funded efforts, I would bet we'll see 10-15 measures on the ballot.

Whether or not labor wants to truly fund shareholder approval has yet to be seen, although some think qualifying it is worth the $1.5 million it would likely take. It would distract the chamber and others that might help finance paycheck protection/deception by spreading their resources on two battlefronts. Of course, labor has multiple battlefronts, particularly if the spending cap qualifies.

It is unclear who will finance the spending cap measure, although Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has an assortment of money that, if it decided to prioritize the spending cap, might suffice. Tony Strickland dumped $70,000 of his state campaign money into the effort, since that money couldn't be transferred to his congressional account.

This is when California truly needs the ability of proponents or the Legislature to remove or amend qualified measures, as paycheck protection/deception is on the ballot to stay and few inside interests on both side really want to play mutually assured destruction.

WHAT YOU WON'T BE SEEING: Claiming the title and summary given the measure by attorney general Kamala Harris was "false and misleading," supporters of a pension limiting initiative have dropped their campaign. [Jon Ortiz @ SacBee] 

Here's the summary, which you have to admit is a pretty craft piece of work:

Reduces pension benefits for current and future public employees, including teachers, nurses, and peace officers, but excluding judges. Eliminates constitutional protections for current and future public employees' vested pension benefits. Creates hybrid pension plan for new employees, capping collective benefits at 75 percent of salary. Limits cost-of-living adjustments for retired and current employees. Prohibits public retirement systems from providing death or disability benefits to future employees. Requires that current employees add up to three percent of their salary to their pension contribution annually, when pension plan is underfunded.

The real reason? The campaign had only raised $128,600 and no big fish want to swim in their tank.

BEER SUMMIT? Time for a Truce on Tax-Hike Initiatives [George Skelton @ LAT]

$$$ - SEIU/UHW put $1.2 million into two lower-profile initiatives--one that would require large nonprofit hospitals to provide at least 5% charity care and the other to limit hospital charges at 125% of cost and cap executive salaries.

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AD50 POLL (by Osborn):

Torie Osborn (D): 15%
Brad Torgan (R): 14%
Richard Bloom (D): 10%
Betsy Butler (D): 8%
Will Hess (D): 2%
Undecided: 51%

(FM3, 1/29-2/1, n=400, +/- 4/9%)

SINGLE-PAYER BACKLASH? Were supporters of Leno's single-payer health bill SB 810 a little too aggressive down the stretch, causing some members to stay off? Single-payer backer California Church Impact says so in a letter to friends.


CAN'T BUY ME LOVE: After collecting $311,000 in fees from the California Redevelopment Association last year, Nielsen Merksamer reports that its no longer representing the association. I doubt you'll see CRA on any of their successful client lists. [h/t Capitol Morning Report]

ON DEFENSE: National Journal reports that the US Chamber of Commerce is out with its list of targeted congressional races for its $10 million budget. The only one in California is CD07, which is held by Republican Dan Lungren, who faces off again this year with Ami Bera. Bera had $919k on hand while Lungren had $521k at the end of 2011. Jerry Brown won the seat by 5 points in 2010.

Interestingly, the Lungren commercial highlights his commitment to repeal "Obamacare." I'm not sure how well that plays in Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights and Elk Grove, particularly when running against a physician.

BE MINE: President Obama has made you a mixtape in time for Valentine's Day, although you probably won't hear it much in California [Buzzfeed] 

IN MEMORIAM: Former staffer and lobbyist Jerry McFetridge (1939-2012) [great piece by the Capitol Morning Report] Nooner lovin' goes out to Duncan and the rest of the family.

Another Shot At Tax Break Democrats Love To Hate
John Myers @
The 2012 edition of "Cancel That Corporate Tax Break" at the state Capitol kicks off with a novel, and perhaps politically powerful, proposal from Assembly Speaker John Perez: use the resulting $1 billion in extra tax revenue to dramatically downsize the cost of a college education for middle-class families. Perez formally introduced his plan Wednesday afternoon, to be contained in two bills -- AB 1500 and AB 1501. One bill will modify the state law allowing national corporations to calculate their tax liability based on their sales revenues inside California; the second bill will create a need-based scholarship for all UC and CSU students whose families make between $70,000 and $150,000 a year... a scholarship paid for with the higher corporate tax revenues.

LAO Sees Problems With Jerry Brown's Higher Education Plan
Kevin Yamamura @
The Legislative Analyst's Office raised concerns with Gov. Jerry Brown's higher education budget in a new report today, including his plans to tighten Cal Grant requirements and automatically increase funding if his tax plan passes.

LAO Nixes Gov's Community College Budget
Kathryn Baron @
Gov. Brown missed a chance to save millions for community colleges by reining in Board of Governors fee waivers, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The LAO released its review of Brown’s 2012-13 higher education budget plan yesterday, and raised red flags on that program and on the governor’s proposals to make major changes in the way community colleges are funded, as well as big changes in categorical programs.

Washington State Lawmakers Pass Gay Marriage Bill
Map shows states that have passed laws favoring same-sex couples, including gay marriage.

California Pension Reform Group Suspends Initiative Campaign
Jon Ortiz @
A group that hoped to put a sweeping public employee pension reform measure on the November ballot is suspending its campaign.

Assembly Speaker John Perez unveils plan to help UC and CSU students from middle-income families
Steven Harmon @
Under legislation unveiled Tuesday by Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, 42,000 University of California and 150,000 California State University middle-income students would see their tuition and fees cut by two-thirds.

Assembly Speaker Wants To Trade Tax Breaks For Scholarships
On politics in the Golden State

Gay Marriage Foes Weigh Their Next Move
With Proposition 8 scrapped for now, lawyers must decide whether to take fight over same-sex marriage ban to Supreme Court or try again in federal appeals court

Budget Analyst Questions Tougher GPA Requirement For College Aid
Chris Megerian @
The state legislative analyst's office said in a report released Wednesday that Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal could curtail college financial aid for some of California's neediest students. In his proposal, Brown said students should need a 3.25 grade point...

See the court documents filed by CCPOA, CSLEA, to drop furlough laws
Jon Ortiz @
Today's State Worker column breaks down which unions are in and which are out of the court fight over furloughs. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association are the latest to lay down arms.

California Democrats Push To End Tax Break To Generate College-tuition Aid - Bloomberg
The plan by Assembly Speaker John Perez of Los Angeles would no longer allow companies to choose a formula that provides favorable tax treatment for businesses with property and payroll outside the state. Instead, multi-state businesses would calculate their California income tax based on the percentage of their sales in the state.

Time For A Truce On Tax-hike Initiatives
George Skelton @
Competing measures threaten Brown's plan; he needs to call a sit-down

Pension-reform Group Suspends Initiative Campaign
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A conservative group announced Wednesday that it was suspending its campaign to put public employee pension reform on the November ballot.

Viewpoints: 9th Circuit's narrow ruling on Prop. 8 is based on fiction
Two of three judges on a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Judge Stephen Reinhardt stipulated that the ruling skirted the larger issue of whether same-sex couples have a right to marry. That's a shame, because at least an equal-right-to-marry claim makes for a clean argument.

Spending Limit Launched :: Fox&hounds
The Investors Business Daily posted an editorial recently on the spending limit proposal saying it offers an alternative to voters considering the many tax increase plans that are also proposed for the ballot.

Birth-control fight turns into a campaign and fundraising tool
Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey, Washington Bureau @
The contraceptive rule in the new healthcare law becomes a political weapon for Democrats and Republicans. GOP candidates rail against it on the campaign trail.

Union Launches Effort To Cap Pay Of El Camino Hospital Executives
Local @
The union that represents 1,200 El Camino Hospital workers formally kicked off an effort Wednesday to qualify a measure for the November ballot that would slash the pay of the health care providers top brass.

Gay Marriage Fight May Hinge On Supreme Court's Anthony Kennedy
David G. Savage, Washington Bureau @
Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican, hasn't toed the conservative line on gay rights. That may deter the Supreme Court from taking the Proposition 8 case.

Wash. moves step closer to legalizing gay marriage
RACHEL LA CORTE, Associated Press @
The last time same-sex marriage was debated in the state Capitol, the Legislature's sole gay lawmaker watched as his colleagues passed the state's version of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1998 banning gay marriage. Fourteen years after that "lonely moment," Sen. Ed Murray stood in the wings as lawmakers approved his bill allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Silicon Valley Democrat Tops In Fundraising, Even Though He's Not Running Yet
Ro Khanna -- a little-known Silicon Valley lawyer and former Obama administration official -- has quickly and quietly reached rarefied heights in one of politics most crucial qualifiers for success: campaign fundraising.

Ap Enterprise: Ca Mine Dispute Recalls Wild Past - Folsom/el Dorado News -
In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, the waters of Weber Creek are seen flowing near in Placerville, Calif. The creek runs near the Big Cut MIne, whose owner, Joseph Hardesty, is in a legal battle with authorities. Hardesty has been charged with multiple violations of environmental laws, including releasing sediment into the creek, while mining the gold rush era mine.

Assembly Drops Bill That Would Have Helped Hold Polluters Responsible
Under pressure from construction, architect and other industry groups, state legislators killed a bill that would have closed a loophole used by businesses to evade pollution lawsuits.

Editorial: Ruling against Prop. 8 could be hard to overturn
Proponents for Proposition 8 have long claimed that their efforts to ban same-sex marriage in California were all about protecting "traditional marriage" and were not an attempt to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Stanford University nets $6.2B in 5-year campaign
The Associated Press @
Stanford University says it raised more than $6 billion in its latest five-year fundraising campaign.