Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for August 21, 2012

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TWEET DU JOUR: @clayaiken - "2nd place on Idol. 2nd place on Apprentice. And now thanks to @reptoddakin I'm only the 2nd stupidest Aiken!"



Some of the most watched bills on Around The Capitol had developments yesterday . . .

After a three-year effort, SB 9 (Yee) was approved by the Senate 21-17 and sent to the governor. The bill to allow inmates who were sentenced as juveniles to life without the possibility of parole (LWOPP), and who have served at least 15 years, to petition the court for a rehearing that could lead to a conversion of sentence to a minimum of 25 years.

Now it's up to the governor, who certainly has experience on the topic as the former mayor of Oakland. The arguments are equally passionate on both sides, as I have seen over the last three years through comments on ATC and e-mails from subscribers to the bill. 

Some of these LWOPPs are cold blooded murderers, while some were not involved in the actual killing but charged under the felony murder rule because they were in the car. Others knew that if they didn't pull the trigger, it would be pulled on them by a fellow gang member. If you heard Rod Wright's speech on the floor yesterday (at 3:13:50) about the situation in his district, you likely had a flashback to The Wire.

Speaker John Perez's AB 2451, which would have significantly expand death benefits for cops and firefighters and which has been the subject of significant media scrutiny, as significantly amended. The bill now extends the statute of limitations for presumed death benefits to 480 weeks from the date of injury, rather than the current 240 weeks. The Sacramento Bee was particularly critical of the bill, as it bypassed the Appropriations Committees in both houses, while local governments cried foul at its cost, which L.A. County alone pegged at $20 million.

SB 1221 (Lieu), the bill relating to the use of dogs in hunting bobcats and bears, was significantly amended to limit, rather than prohibit the use of dogs. 

AB 1000 (Perea), which would require health insurers to cover oral anti-cancer medication if similar intravenous medications are covered, passed the Senate and returns to the Assembly for concurrence. The bill is a fight between doctors and insurers.

The Assembly weighed in on whether the State Bar should admit undocumented individuals through ACR 167 (Alejo) on a vote of 50-24. The bill is in response to the case of Sergio Garcia, who had been admission, after being preliminarily approved, has been put on hold. The case is now pending before the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Dept of Justice has weighed in against his admission, even though he qualifies to stay and work in the fields under Obama's new DREAM Act program.

SB 924 (Price and Steinberg and Walterss), the recurring fight between physical therapists and physicians, was amended yesterday. It's unclear if the amendments ameliorate the concerns of the docs. Under current law, patients must be referred by a physician to a physical therapist. The bill would allow a physical therapist to treat a self-referred patient for 30 business days, during which they must refer the patient to a physician, and would only allow continued treatment if a physician diagnoses the patient with a condition necessitating continued treatment.

Anyway, the amendments adopted in last Thursday's suspense file are mostly in print today.




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CEQA REFORM IS COMING, LOBBYISTS ARE GETTING FAT: Business, labor groups propose environmental act changes [Michael J. Mishak and Patrick McGreevy @ LAT]

. . . but where is pensions? Session - 8 days.

WE ALL GO DOWN TOGETHER: Standard & Poor's downgrades Fresno's debt [George Hostetter @ The Fresno Bee]

$$$: New Carbon Emissions Rules Could Cost UC, CSU $28 Million [Brian Joseph @ OC Register]

BIG THUMBS UP: Ryan Hughes tackles my long to-do list for ElectionTrack and creates an awesome site.

CD10: While Jeff Denham failed in his attempt to walk on water, he says that he and his wife were clothed when they took a dip in the Sea of Galilee. The story also brings up the fact that the American Israel Education Foundation paid $20,227.46 for the Denhams' trip. [Michael Doyle @ McClatchy]

California-based Apple is now the most valuable company in history. Now, if only the feds could reach a repatriation compromise. Meanwhile, Minnesota-based Best Buy may be goingthe way of Circuit City.

MO SEN: Todd Akin looks like he's staying in with a new ad.

FYI: California American College of Emergency Physicians invites you to be the first in Sacramento to see the award-winning movie about the human impact of ER overcrowding "The Waiting Room." August 21, 2012, The Crest Theatre, 5:00 p.m. RSVP at:


Nurses Union, Purveyors Of 'queen Meg,' Back For Second Act
David Siders @
The California Nurses Association, which antagonized Republican Meg Whitman with its relentless "Queen Meg" parody during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, is back for a second act - this time poking fun at wealthy people opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's November ballot initiative to raise taxes.

Swalwell Undertakes Dragon-slaying Effort Against Rep. Stark In California Race - Shane Goldmacher -
Ronald Brownstein @
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Survey: More than 55% of voters favor Prop. 32
Jon Ortiz @
More than half of California voters favor Proposition 32, according to new poll by the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University, although the support for the measure has declined in the last two weeks.

Obama Criticizes Ryan On His Budget’s Impact On Education
COLUMBUS, Ohio — President Barack Obama drew a sharp line with Republican Mitt Romney on education Tuesday, telling Ohio voters that “putting a college education within reach for working families doesn’t seem to be a priority” for his opponent.

Push To Overhaul California Environmental Quality Act Picks Up
David Siders @
An effort to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act in the last two weeks of the legislative session appeared this morning to pick up, with business leaders calling publicly for changes and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg saying he expects a bill to come up in the Assembly.

Obama to push contrast on education in Ohio, Nevada
Michael A. Memoli @
WASHINGTON – President Obama on Tuesday kicks off a new campaign push on the issue of education, part of an effort to highlight how a budget proposal offered in Congress by GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan would impact key areas beyond Medicare. Ryan’s proposals have been the focus of skirmishing since Romney added the Wisconsin lawmaker to the ticket.

Taxpayer Group Takes On County, Water District
Tracy Seipel and Paul Rogers @
The Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to remove the countys sales tax measure from the Nov. 6 ballot, and is threatening to do the same against the Santa Clara Valley Water District

California Lawmakers Call For Navy Ship To Be Named After Harvey Milk
State lawmakers have no power to name U.S. Navy ships, but that didn't discourage the state Senate from a long, passionate debate over a proposal to name a vessel after slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk.

Peninsula Leader Wants PG&E To Foot Bill For $5 Billion Project
Local @
Assemblyman Jerry Hill said Monday that PG&Es customers should not have to pick up the nearly $5 billion tab for proposed work to fix the companys gross mismanagement of its failed pipeline system.

Congressional Swim In Sea Of Galilee Draws Criticism
Michael Doyle @
Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, says he and his wife were properly clothed for their Galilee swim during a 2011 congressional junket.

Obama Defends Campaign, Says He Had Nothing To Do With Controversial Anti-romney Ad | Mcclatchy
Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers @
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama defended the tone of his campaign Monday, distancing himself from one controversial attack on rival Mitt Romney by an ally but standing by his own ads and political accusations. “If you look at the overall trajectory of our campaign, and the ads that I have approved and are produced by my campaign, you’ll see that we point out sharp differences between the candidates,” Obama said. “But we don’t go out of bounds.”

Life-without-parole Bill Lands On Governor's Desk - Sfgate
Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has been pushing the bill for three years but only last week succeeded in getting enough backing in the state Assembly, after amending SB9 to exempt offenders convicted of torture or of killing law enforcement officials. The state Senate, which passed the bill last August, approved those changes Monday on a party line vote, 21-16, with no Republican support.

Dan Walters: Overhauling CEQA Now A Hot Topic
Dan Walters @
On Monday, a coalition of mostly business groups, albeit with some union backing, dispatched a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders, calling for "modernization" of CEQA to curb abusive uses and setting forth a broad outline of how the 42-year-old law should be changed.

Brown promotes tax increase in S.D.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday in San Diego peddled his tax measure to raise $6 billion annually for education and other services, promising “real suffering by you and really our whole future” if the proposal fails in November.

Todd Akin Reaffirms Decision To Stay In The Senate Race
Fighting back against enormous pressure by Republican leaders to drop out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin used a radio interview Tuesday to turn his embattled campaign into a cause for “the regular people” against “the big party people.”

New Carbon Emissions Rules Could Cost UC, CSU $28 Million
Large campuses in the University of California and California State University systems are bracing for the implementation of new state rules that will force them to cut carbon emissions or pay as much as $28 million a year to offset their greenhouse gases.

Business, Labor Groups Propose Environmental Act Changes
A coalition of business and labor groups is proposing changes to California's landmark environmental law, saying it is time to modernize a 40-year-old measure that is often used to block even so-called green development. At a Sacramento press conference Monday,...

AB 5 Falls Short Of Meeting NCLB Waiver Requirements
John Fensterwald @
Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes said that the passage of AB 5, the teacher evaluation bill that he authored, could “potentially serve as a key piece” of the state’s application for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law – and free up hundreds of millions of federal dollars to fund districts’ evaluations and other education needs.

Bill calls for vote on greater campaign disclosure
The Associated Press @
California voters would get a chance to decide whether they favor greater disclosure about donors in campaign advertising under a bill that passed the state Assembly Monday.

California Senate Sends Jerry Brown Bill To Parole Some Juvenile Murderers
Laurel Rosenhall @
California lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would allow some juvenile murderers the chance to get out of prison on parole.

Apple's Market Value Hits $623.5 Billion
Andrea Chang and Salvador Rodriguez @
Apple's surging share price makes it nominally the most valuable company of all time, surpassing rival tech firm Microsoft's $616.3-billion valuation in the late 1990s.

Sutter Neuroscience Institute Launching Trial Of Cord Blood Stem Cells In Autistic Children
Cynthia H. Craft @
The Sutter Neuroscience Institute in Sacramento plans to launch groundbreaking research today to discover whether infusing umbilical cord stem cells into the bloodstreams of autistic children will help them overcome debilitating characteristics of the condition.

Great Whites Chomping In Area Waters - Sfgate
A great white shark off San Francisco put on a spectacular show alongside a fishing boat this month - and then munched a big salmon just as an angler was about to bring it aboard. The episode started when Jim Robertson, captain of the charter boat Outer Limits out of Sausalito, found a school of salmon at the channel buoys eight miles west of Lands End. Joseph Meyers of Daly City, an orthopedic surgeon and longtime salmon angler, was battling a salmon estimated at 20-plus pounds. On Saturday, another shark tale was broadcast over marine radio, an encounter reported by Rich Fitzpatrick, better known as "Skeet," of the commercial boat Josephine out of San Francisco. Over the radio, Fitzpatrick said he found a fresh, half-eaten sea lion floating at Duxbury off Marin, and when he guided his boat for a closer look, a great white shark returned for the rest.