Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for June 18, 2012

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CRICKETS: As expected, Democrats the Legislature approved the budget and six trailer bills on Friday, with three Democrats sitting out the vote (Lou Correa, Michael Rubio, and Sandre Swanson). As newly financially secure members jumped to catch those Southwest flights, everyone was checking their #cabudget Twitter feeds to see if the governor has anything to say about the plan.

And, nothing . . .

Presumably, leaders will return to negotiations with the governor today to see how insistent he is for changes to the CalWORKs program and other cuts that Democrats oppose. With twelve days left before the new fiscal year begins, there is no rush. There is an argument that showing some tension between the austere governor and legislative Democrats will help November's tax measure, particularly with headline writers putting "Gov. Brown demands legislators make deeper budget cuts on the front page.

Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who supported the governor's veto of the budget last year, though, called the plan adopted Friday "financeable." That means that he believes Wall Street will give a credit thumbs up to the Revenue Anticipation Notes needed to get through the year.

Meanwhile, Dems will work on trailer bills (likely Thursday), with as many as two dozen more completing the budget. Also brewing in the next couple of weeks is a stopgap pension bill for members of the State Teachers Retirement System, who will have post-retirement employment significantly curtailed on July 1 without action. 

PROP 29 COMEBACK?: In reports late last week, proponents of the of Proposition 29 (tobacco taxes) has cause for optimism following what seemed to be diminishing chances. By Friday night, the measure trailed by only 16,778, or 0.4% ofhe ballots cast. 

With 425,293 ballots outstanding, of which 245,444 are VBM, it is still possible that the Yes side could prevail. It's impossible to say exactly what share of ballots are needed for Yes to take the lead, as a substantial number of the 159,450 provisionals and 20,399 damaged/other will not be added to the final total.

However, if we just look at the vote-by-mail absentees, which include both ballots received in the mail on Election Day and those dropped off at polling places, proponents need 53% in order to win the final tally. While the mo was certainly on the No side due to heavy spending down the stretch, the trend over the last couple of updates suggests it is possible.

Key will be Los Angeles County, which has 30.8% of outstanding absentee ballots. Prop. 29 currently is losing there, with 49.4% of the vote. For Prop. 29 to pass, there will need to be a reversal of that trend. There is a group of strongly pro-29 counties (Marin, Napa, Santa Cruz, Sonoma) with about 50,000 votes outstanding, and big anti-29 counties (Butte, Fresno, Placer, San Joaquin) with about 63,000 ballots outstanding.

It's a tough row to hoe for backers of Proposition 29, but it is still possible.

Friday's vote updates did nothing to change the leads in close contests. In AD46, Jay Stern (R) leads Brian Johnson (D) by 42 votes for the second spot. Los Angeles has 131,177 (75,660 VBM) ballots left to count.

There are a still a few others others that are mathematically possible to change--such as the leads held by Regy Bronner over Andy Pugno (150 votes) in AD05, John Hernandez over Blong Xiong in CD21 (492 votes), Steve Fox over Tom Lackey in AD38 (252 votes). However, the uncounted ballots (425,293, of which 245,444 are VBM) are running out and we probably have our November election pretty much set. I'll hold off on the final contest results, however, until we are certain.

Yesterday, I fixed the script that I had broken affecting the county-by-county results.

SOMETHING FISHY: Tomorrow, California Trout and Trout Unlimited will be hosting a "Casting Call" at the Capitol to highlight the history of trout and Coho salmon in the Golden State. The event will include a friendly fly-casting competition among Assemblyman Jared Huffman, (D), Senator Tom Harman (R), Assemblyman Wes Chesbro (D), Assemblywoman Alyson Huber (D), Senator Bob Huff (R), Senator Tom Berryhill, (R), and Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R)



The 2012 American Association of Political Consultants Conference in Sacramento June 27-28 provides key networking opportunities with those that have been in the trenches as well as topical and relevant information related to what is going on in California this year, including open primary, redistricting, ballot initiatives and how top consultants are utilizing all the tools available to them to reach and engage voters. Register today!

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Calif. Voters Curbed GOP On Budget, But Not Taxes
Marisa Lagos,Wyatt Buchanan @
For two years in a row now, the Legislature has managed to meet its constitutional deadline to pass a budget - and it's all thanks to voters. Whether that's a good thing depends on whom you ask. In 2010, the California...

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David Siders @
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Southern California Lab, Radiology Company Accused Of Health Care Fraud
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Morgan Little @
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Dan Walters Daily
Hannah Madans @
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Dakota Smith @
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Mexican President Calderon praises Obama's immigration move
Kathleen Hennessey @
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Former Bell Officials' Pensions Reduced Even Further
Jeff Gottlieb @
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Trustees Overseeing Ailing Pension Systems Expense Local Hotel Stays
Jennifer Gollan @
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Brian Naylor @
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Farm Bill Splits Produce Growers, Food Activists
Carolyn Lochhead @
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Steve Lopez: Rodney King Was Tragic Figure, Unlikely Symbol
Shelby Grad @
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Senate measure proposes to honor former Sen. Jenny Oropeza
Jim Sanders @
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Michael Weissenstein and Jack Chang @
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Obama's immigration move wins support in battleground states
Paul West @
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