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THE NOONER for January 4, 2013

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Happy last day of vacation, whether you've been in the office this week or not (gauging by out-of-office replies, plenty of you took the extended break). The Legislature returns on Monday, with the Assembly convening at noon and the Senate returning at 2pm. Session will begin with its normal sleepy start, punctuated by next Thursday's release of the governor's proposed 2013-14 state budget and a yet unannounced State of the State Address.

Members will be scrambling to get together bill ideas before the February 22 introduction deadline, although a more pressing deadline is January 25 when bill ideas need to be submitted to Legislative Counsel for drafting. Of course, we can expect lots of "spot" bills devoid of substantive content.

Senators and Assemblymembers are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in each two-year regular session. Thus far, 63 bills have been introduced (excluding HRs). Last session, 1,422 bills were introduced before the deadline in the first year.

CONSOLATION PRIZE: Michael Allen lost a hard fought battle to Marc Levine for the 10th Assembly District. However, he'll be getting a raise after yesterday's appointment by Speaker John Perez to a $128,109 spot on the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Allen joins former State Senator Roy Ashburn, who was appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and lost an election to the Kern County Board of Supervisors in November.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL: It's hard to be a freshman member of Congress. Yesterday, Capitol Hill was filled with questions such as "Where is the bathroom?" "Where'd my voting card go?" "Will I see John Boehner's torture chamber if I vote for former Congressman Allen West for Speaker?"

But, the question of the day had to have been coming out of the office of the new member from California's 36th congressional district. "Who the hell has the website password?" appears to be a continuing question this morning, as the home page still proclaims that it's Congressman Paul Ruiz, not Raul Ruiz, proudly serving the district. (If it gets corrected by Nooner standard time, here's a screenshot.)

WORD OF THE DAY:  Bacchanalian - "Characterized by or given to drunken revelry; riotously drunken." Used by Dan Walters to describe Charlie Sheen's bar opening in Cabo, which was attended by Antonio Villaraigosa.

AURAL PLEASURE: John Myers and Anthony York team up to preview the session ahead on the Capitol Connection podcast.

MUST SEE TEEVEE: Joe Biden's Friskiest Moments From The Senate Swearing-In [Talking Points Memo]

LEGTRACK: My new bill tracking database is nearing completion. Feel free to stop by and poke around at LegTrack.com. For those that tried it over the last couple of days, I've fixed several glitches and added features. There's still a lot to be done, but it's getting there. This is not to be a replacement for CapitolTrack or StateNet, both services I use(d) and find essential for large organizations. However, I knew the AroundTheCapitol.com bill tracking features needed to be improved for the literally thousands of users who use them to track just a few bills.

I am giving a free standard account to all Nooner subscribers for the first year (up to 3 users, 25 bills--a $150 value). Paid Nooner subscribers will receive a professional account for the first year (unlimited users, unlimited bills--a $350 value), although the deal will only be available to paid subscribers as of January 15. Stop by and give me feedback at scott@scottlay.com, but be patient as I'm still building and will undoubtedly break things between now and Monday's launch. (If you are a paid Nooner subscriber, sign up for the free standard account, e-mail me, and I'll manually upgrade you.)

When you discover things that aren't working or have constructive feedback, e-mail me! Some errors are inevitable if you use the Internet Explorer browser, which doesn't handle JavaScript as elegantly as Chrome and Safari. Fixing the IE glitches will be on my todo list, although I strongly suggest Google Chrome as a free browser with continuous development.

 

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Defeated Democratic Assemblyman Gets Six-figure Appointment
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
Defeated Democratic Assemblyman Michael Allen has landed a six-figure job on a state board, courtesy of his former leader in the state Legislature.

Federal Budget Deal Could Be Reprieve For California Finances
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is breathing a sigh of relief this week now that Congress has reached a deal on the federal budget. President Obama signed legislation on Wednesday that will prevent most tax increases and delay or cancel spending...

National Union Of Healthcare Workers Affiliates With Powerful California Nurses Association
Sandy Kleffman @
mercurynews.com
CNA agrees to back NUHW in fights with major health systems over wages, benefits and patient care issues, and to help NUHW in its campaign to defeat a large rival, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, in an upcoming election for the right to represent 43,500 Kaiser Permanente service and technical workers.

Edwatch 2013: School Finance Reform Redux
John Fensterwald @
edsource.org
Gov. Jerry Brown won’t speak the words “weighted student funding formula” when he presents a new state budget next week, along with his plan to refashion the state’s complex and inequitable school finance system. The concept of funneling more education dollars to high-needs children is very much alive, and Brown will press the Legislature to act on it this year. But rebranding his plan to reform school finance is one of the changes that the governor will make to seek more support than he got last year when he introduced a similar plan.

'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Eliminates Estate Tax Revenue For California
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
Because Congress permanently killed an estate tax transfer to states this week, California stands to lose $45 million in inheritance tax revenue that Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers anticipated in their June budget, according to the Department of Finance.

There's No Off-season In California Politics
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
This new year has an odd number, and traditionally that has meant it would be free of elections and campaigning. However, there's no longer an off-season in California politics. It's a 365/24/7 business, and 2013 promises to continue that somewhat dubious trend with a full slate of elections for local and legislative offices.

'Fiscal cliff' deal eliminates death tax revenue for California
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
Because Congress permanently killed an estate tax transfer to states this week, California stands to lose $45 million in death tax revenue that Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers anticipated in their June budget, according to the Department of Finance.

Health Union Alliance Could Threaten Larger Rival
Sam Hananel @
huffingtonpost.com
Two health care unions are joining forces in a move that could threaten a powerful rival's dominance and fuel a new round of labor tensions. The 85,000-member California Nurses Association is forging an alliance with the 10,000-member National Union of Healthcare Workers to form a new union made up entirely of health sector workers.

California Lawmaker Proposes 'Homeless Bill Of Rights'
Jim Sanders @
sacbee.com
California law protects its residents from discrimination based on sex, race, religion and sexual orientation. Now a state lawmaker is pushing to add another category to the list: homelessness.

Educators, Politicians Have Stark Reaction To Gov. Jerry Brown School Funding Revamp
Barbara Jones and Beau Yarbrough @
dailynews.com
School districts that have long struggled to educate large numbers of poor students or English learners could see a massive influx of cash under a new funding formula expected to be unveiled next week by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Tough Gun Control Laws Linked To Lower Death Rates
latimesblogs.latimes.com
A San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws has produced a report that says states with strict gun laws have the lowest gun-related death rates. In contrast, it reports, states with the highest per capita gun death rates have...

White House Seems Poised To Retool Deportation Laws
washingtonpost.com
The Obama administration’s decision this week to ease visa requirements for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants represents its latest move to reshape immigration through executive action, even as the White House gears up for an uncertain political fight over a far-more-sweeping legislative package in the months ahead.

L.A. Budget Official Warns Of Major Cuts If Congress Fails To Act
David Zahniser @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
The top budget official at Los Angeles City Hall warned Thursday that the city could lose up to $115 million in federal grants if Congress fails to stave off automatic across-the-board budget cuts scheduled for March 1. In a report...

Pension Bonds Add Risk To Public Retiree Crisis
JUDY LIN @
fresnobee.com
Oakland's city leaders took a risk when, rather than lay off more staff or cut services, they decided to borrow nearly $213 million to cover pension payments owed to retired city workers. They're betting that the pension fund's investments will earn more than the cost of issuing pension obligation bonds. If they're right, a financial burden is eased. If not, the city is saddled with paying interest on top of the payments it has promised retirees.

First Of Two L.A. Pot Shop Initiatives Qualifies For May Ballot
Kate Linthicum @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Southern California -- this just in

California lawmaker's proposal to protect homeless from discrimination
mercurynews.com
SACRAMENTO, -- A California lawmaker wants to protect the homeless from discrimination. Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco says state law already protects residents from discrimination based on sex, race, religion and sexual orientation and he says homelessness should be added to

Top S.F. Family Court Judge Retiring - Sfgate
sfgate.com
Mahoney, 69, was appointed to the bench by Gov. Gray Davis in 2000 after eight years as chief trial lawyer in the city attorney's office. Earlier, he spent 23 years in private law practice and headed the securities litigation group at Cooley LLP in San Francisco. Another 2008 ruling ordered state officials to crack down on counties whose juvenile halls were overcrowded or provided substandard education or health care.

Ill. Senate panel OKs gay marriage
Associated Press @
politico.com
If the measure becomes law, Illinois would become the 10th state to approve same-sex marriage.

Initiative To Keep Some L.A. Pot Shops Open Qualifies For Ballot
Kate Linthicum @
latimes.com
The development is likely to make such facilities an issue in the mayoral race. A second initiative that would allow even more dispensaries is being vetted by city officials.

Pakistani girl shot by Taliban for promoting girls' education released from hospital
Danica Kirka @
mercurynews.com
Malala Yousufzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls' education, has been released from a Birmingham hospital to live with her family, doctors said Friday.

Health-care Unions Will Join Forces
Kris Maher @
online.wsj.com
Dow Jones Reprints: This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visit www.djreprints.com

Editorial: U.S. Senate should vote quickly on federal judges
sacbee.com
You could call them casualties of the "fiscal cliff" talks that consumed far too much time and energy. Before ending its term Wednesday, the U.S. Senate failed to act on 11 judicial nominees awaiting floor votes, including two for federal courts in Northern California.

Commonwealth Club Finally Gets Own Home - Sfgate
sfgate.com
The club finally settled on a long-unoccupied waterfront building, next door to the swank Boulevard restaurant at Mission Street and The Embarcadero, easily accessible to members arriving by BART, Muni Metro and other transit options. The building, which also opens to 113 Steuart St., now is little more than a shell, Duffy said, and the club has recently hired San Francisco's Gensler, one of the world's largest architectural firms, to draft plans for the construction project. Besides redoing the interior to meet the club's needs, an additional story may be added to the building to accommodate new and existing programs. There also will be a space for smaller programs, studios for podcasts and production of the club's decades-old public radio show, as well as meeting rooms, offices and a members' cafe and lounge. The bodies of the two union workers shot during a clash with police on "Bloody Thursday" lay in state in the hall for four days and the building was the starting point for a funeral procession across the city that drew an estimated 40,000 marchers. Over the years, the club has hosted some of the biggest names in politics, entertainment and the arts, business and world affairs, including President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Dali Lama, Microsoft's Bill Gates, labor leader Cesar Chavez and many others.