Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for April 25, 2012

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TWEET DU JOUR: @AnthonyYorkLAT - "Gotta love the headline: NBA Suspends World Peace."

Good morning from the Nooner lair near downtown Davis, where Comcast is delivering "high speed internet" reminiscent of the 300 baud modem I used to log on to local BBSs back in the XT days, and seemingly slower than the vastly superior 14.4k bps when I was a partisan student chronicling the 1994 Speaker's battle via Usenet newsgroups.

Policy deadline week was in full effect yesterday in the Capitol, with several interesting showdowns. Perhaps one of the juiciest was AB 1742 by Dr. Richard Pan, which pits the doctors/dentists/hospitals against health insurers and consumer groups. The bill deals with whether patients visiting out-of-network docs can assign billing rights to physicians. The bill failed, but the reason I like bills like this shows that, once in awhile, you still find good policy debates under the dome, and votes can be unpredictable and bipartisan

Don't put on your bear flag party hat just yet. Alyson Huber, despite a passionate plea, couldn't woo Assembly Judiciary to approve her ACR 95, which would place a measure on the November ballot to ask the voters if they would like the Legislature to call a Constitutional Convention. In the end, Huber was only able to win her own vote and that of San Diego Assemblymember Toni Atkins.

Meanwhile, in what could be one of the hottest social issue bills to emerge this session, Christine Kehoe's SB 1338 to allow a handful of physician assistants, nurse practitioners and midwives to conduct a specific type of abortion passed out of committee with amendments.

THE LETTER: Assemblymember Warren Furutani, chair of both the policy committee and conference committee covering pensions, sent a letter to Assemblymember Cameron Smyth informing him that in tomorrow's Asm Public Employees, Retirement & Social Security hearing, he will be asking the committee to refer the GOP's pension bills to "interim study" pending the results of the conference committee. 

THE RESULTS: Assemblymember Roger Hernandez's BAC tested at .08 and the case has been turned over to the Contra Costa DA's office.


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THE BIZ WORLD: Apple nets $11.6 billion, McClatchy (Bee) loses $2.1 million, and Facebook's IPO appears to be delayed until June.

LOOK AT THE KING, THE KING, THE KING!: No, the King wasn't in the altogether, but he was taking pot shots handing out flyers ridiculing AD46 candidate Laurette Healey across from the Capitol yesterday. This is turning into one of the nastiest Democratic primaries that's going to require some healing after June 5, or perhaps after November . . .

Jerry Brown Glad Death Penalty Measure On November Ballot
David Siders @
SAN JOSE - Gov. Jerry Brown, who has personal reservations about the death penalty but enforced it as state attorney general, said this morning that he is glad a measure to abolish the death penalty will be on the November ballot, though he declined to say how he will vote.

Nurses Union Puts Politics Ahead Of Health
Dan Morain @
State Sen. Lois Wolk wants to encourage – not require – that health care workers get annual flu vaccinations if they come into contact with patients in hospitals and nursing homes.

Analyst Says Some State Worker Contracts 'modestly' Increase Costs
Jon Ortiz @
The Legislative Analyst's Office figures that four union contracts that Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to extend for one year will "maintain or modestly increase the state's costs for employee compensation."

Brown v. Villaraigosa: California's Dueling Tax Plans
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe @
It’s clear that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is working hard to build his legacy on successfully expanding public transportation in and around the City of Los Angeles.

Commission Headed By Geena Davis Gets Last-minute Funding From Assembly
Torey Van Oot @
The California's Commission on the Status of Women is getting a second act with a last-minute funding pledge from the state Assembly.

Close Look At California Bills Reveals True Beneficiaries
Dan Walters @
If you look closely at your telephone bill, you will see a few cents labeled "TDD." Those pennies raise millions of dollars for the California Public Utilities Commission to make telephone service available to about 30,000 hearing-impaired Californians, mostly through typewriter-like devices. A worthy program, one could easily conclude, but the history is less seemly.

California Sports-betting Bill Advanced By Senate Panel
Gamblers may one day be able to legally bet on sports in California under a measure that was approved unanimously by the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee.

Judge faults California controller for docking legislators' pay
Patrick McGreevy @
The tentative ruling says John Chiang lacked the authority to take the action after he concluded the budget that passed was not balanced. The leaders of the state Senate and Assembly sued in January.

Senate Committee Votes In Favor Of School Seismic Reform
A state Senate committee voted today to support legislation that would create a task force to strengthen the state's oversight of earthquake protections for public schools.

California Legislature tentatively wins court battle over pay
State Controller John Chiang cannot block lawmakers' pay based on his interpretation of the budget they pass, a Sacramento judge tentatively ruled Tuesday, handing the Legislature a significant win as it enters the busy season for budget writing.

California Hunting Bill To Ban Dogs Draws Hundreds
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Hundreds of animal lovers and hunters packed the Capitol on Tuesday to testify about a bill seeking to ban the use of dogs to hunt bears and bobcats in California, legislation that arose after a top state fish and game official drew heat for killing a mountain lion during a legal hound-hunting trip in Idaho.

Ranked-choice Voting Repeal Blocked | Seven Days | The Weekly News Roundup | East Bay Express
It looks as if the effort to repeal ranked-choice voting in Oakland has unraveled already. A group with close ties to ex-state Senator Don Perata's campaign manager admitted to the Oakland Tribune that it won't be able to gather the 20,000 signatures needed to qualify its proposal for the November ballot. And an alternative plan by Oakland Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, a longtime close friend and ally of Perata's, to ask the city council to place the measure directly on the ballot does not have the necessary votes.

Judge: Controller cannot block lawmakers' pay
The Associated Press @
In a tentative ruling, a trial judge said Tuesday that the state controller has no authority to block lawmakers' pay, as he did last summer after deciding they had failed to meet their constitutional deadline for passing a balanced budget.

California state worker pay cap proposal killed in committee
Jon Ortiz @
A measure that would have limited state workers' pay to what the governor earns died in the Senate Government Organization Committee on Tuesday, with six votes in favor and seven against.

San Jose City Council Blocks Bonus Payments To Retirees
The San Jose City Council voted Tuesday to continue blocking bonus payments to retirees from a pension system they said is billions of dollars short of funds needed to cover benefits promised to the workforce.

Sources: Gingrich to end presidential campaign
Philip Elliott @
WASHINGTON -- Two advisers to Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich say he will formally end is campaign next Tuesday and will likely to endorse Mitt Romney.

Dan Morain: Nurses union puts politics ahead of health
State Sen. Lois Wolk wants to encourage – not require – that health care workers get annual flu vaccinations if they come into contact with patients in hospitals and nursing homes.

The Politics Of TMI: Three Arguments Against Twitter
As sheer hypocrisy, the spectacle of Calbuzz criticizing Twitter ranks right up there with Paula Deen attacking butter, Jose Canseco bashing steroids or Jerry Brown banning Teilhard de Chardin.

District Attorneys Protest Measure That Would End Death Penalty
The California District Attorneys Association, of which Ramos is past president, is opposed to the SAFE California Act, a November ballot measure that would replace the death penalty with the punishment of life in prison without parole.

Considering Arizona Immigration Law, Justices Are Again in Political Storm
s aggressive 2010 immigration law, is the second in a month at the Supreme Court over the scope of federal power.

USC Demographers See Much Slower California Population Growth
Dan Walters @
California's population will grow much more slowly than current official projections as immigration and birth rates decline and the state's residents will grow markedly older, according to a massive new study by University of Southern California demographers released today.

Undoing Redevelopment: State Slaps Down O.C. Cities
Teri Sforza @
The state Department of Finance is challenging several Orange County cities over redevelopment bills – throwing into question the fate hundreds of millions of dollars that the cities say must be paid, while the state says, not so much.