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THE NOONER for January 23, 2013
Good morning from Oxnard, where I was with my local community college district last night. I will likely be a bit short this morning, as the sun is just climbing above the harbor and there is only decaf coffee in my room here at the Hampton Inn. Now, do I take it out on the maid in the tip?
Speaking of tips, thank you to those of you in my first generation subscribers class that just renewed. And, while you can never be a first generation person, you can still be a superstar subscriber to show your Nooner love.
WHEN IS A TRAILER BILL A TRAILER BILL?
Dan Walters writes about the Third District Court of Appeal's decision on Friday relating to the use of AB 1499 to reorder the ballot in favor of Proposition 30 last year. The decision, by Presiding Justice Vance Raye, was carefully written to not address the substance of bills related to the budget, but the contemporaneous nature of budget bills. It was a decision that left neither party completely satisfied.
Proposition 25 lowered the threshold for approving the state budget and "and in other bills providing for appropriations related to the budget bill" from two-thirds to 55%, changing the requirement that any bill appropriating money required a two-thirds vote. Petitioners, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association argued that the ballot-reordering AB 1499 did not qualify for this because it was not contemporaneous with the budget and because the token $1,000 appropriation was placed in the bill simply to make it look like an appropriations bill.
You have to be a pretty big budget geek to know why there is a significant difference in those arguments and why the court's choice of disposition is so important. The court did not find that the $1,000 appropriation was a sham provision to make it look like an "appropriations related to the budget," and left that determination to the Legislature. Instead, the court held that the problem with AB 1499 was that it was named as a bill related to the budget in the budget bill (AB 1464), which was enacted on June 15, 2012. However, the bill was simply a spot bill at the time and had no substance in it. The court found that, using Proposition 25's majority vote authority, the Legislature can't identify a bill with nothing in it as "related to the budget" and adopted later--in this case ten days later.
If the court had held against the Legislature on the $1,000 issue, the situation would be much stickier. Every budget requires a significant number of trailer bills, which make the statutory changes necessary to implement the budget. The budget bill doesn't change statutory code, only provides for appropriations and the control thereof. Thus, the Legislature adopts trailer bills that make the statutory changes and, pursuant to the constitution's single-subject requirement, they must be separated by subject area.
The decision clearly allows for trailer bills to the budget that can be passed after the budget is adopted. And, they probably can be amended after the budget is adopted.
Here's the law as I read it: You can't cite a nothing and later make it into a something. The trailer has to be hitched to the vehicle, and there's only one shot-- when the vehicle is leaving. But, the size and contents of said trailer is still at the Legislature's discretion.
The Third District's decision, while pleasing neither side, offers a sensible balance, keeping the majority in the Legislature in check while upholding the will of the voters in enacting Proposition 25.
KIBBLES AND BITS:
What were once grandiose ideas for government reform by California Forward that fizzled with Proposition 31 now is down to a constitutional amendment to have bills in print for three days.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Jerry Brown Reigns In Political Arena
Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
In an age of caustic partisan division, Gov. Jerry Brown sits in the political catbird seat as he prepares to lay out the agenda for the rest of his term in a State of the State address to Californians on Thursday in Sacramento.
Proposition 8: Backers Of Same-sex Marriage Ban Make Arguments To Supreme Court
Howard Mintz @ contracostatimes.com
Gay marriage foes open their effort to preserve Californias ban on same-sex marriage, urging the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Also Tuesday, House Republicans submitted arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal ban on same-sex marriage benefits.
Barbara Boxer Sees Carbon Tax In The Mix
Wyatt Buchanan, Michael Collier, Richard Dunham, Bob Egelko, Joe Garofoli, Marisa Lagos, Carolyn Lochhead, Carla Marinucci, @ blog.sfgate.com
Barbara Boxer sees carbon tax in the mix
Lawmaker Entangled In Legal Turmoil - Capitol And California - The Sacramento Bee
Assemblyman Roger Hernández chairs the influential labor committee and served on the Democratic leadership team, but has been dogged by legal difficulties including FPPC complaints against him, a dispute with West Covina officials, and a drunken-driving charge.
Westlands Water District's $1 Billion Claim Against U.S. Rejected
Michael Doyle @ fresnobee.com
A federal court has quietly dismissed a $1 billion claim by the Westlands Water District, leaving unresolved the long-standing problem of coping with irrigation drainage in the San Joaquin Valley.
Assembly Democrat Wants Grocery Store Ban On Plastic Bags
Kevin Yamamura @ blogs.sacbee.com
Assemblyman Marc Levine announced today he will revive a proposal banning all single-use plastic bags in California grocery stores.
Prop. 8 supporters urge US high court to preserve same-sex marriage ban
Supporters of California's Proposition 8 on Tuesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve the state's ban on same-sex marriage, firing the first legal volley of many to come before the justices hear arguments in the historic case in late March.
California's Proposition 8: Backers of same-sex marriage ban make their arguments to U.S. Supreme Court
Howard Mintz @ mercurynews.com
Gay marriage foes open their effort to preserve California's ban on same-sex marriage, urge Supreme Court to overturn lower court decision declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional
Lawmakers Ask Californians To Do As They Say, Not Do
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
When members of the California Legislature pass legislation, they are, in effect, writing rules they expect everyone to obey. It's particularly strange, therefore, that legislators skirt, or even ignore, the rules they are supposed to follow.
New Push For More Public Review Of State Legislation
John Myers @ news10.net
Reopening a debate that stalled with the defeat of a November ballot initiative, a bipartisan duo of legislators wants an amendment to the state constitution requiring almost all bills to be in print for at least three days before any final vote.
Despite Budget Woes, Superintendents' Pay Rises
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With California’s public school system facing economic uncertainties – even with the passage of a tax increase under Proposition 30 ...
One Possibly Futile Gesture To Keep The Kings
Dan Morain @ sacbee.com
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is no John Belushi. But he became somebody in the battle to keep the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle when he wrote a pointed letter intended to give pause to one of the Seattle investors, billionaire Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.
California lawmakers split on Mickelson's tax comment
Juliet Williams and Don Thompson, Associated Press @ mercurynews.com
SACRAMENTO -- Republican state lawmakers reacted Tuesday with an "I told you so" after golf champion Phil Mickelson said he might leave California because voters approved higher income taxes on the wealthy.
Ambitious governors dominate tax debate
Rachael Bade @ politico.com
Some prominent governors are using their megaphones to propose bold state tax initiatives.
Cal State System Has $250 Million Funding Gap
Christina Hoag @ sacbee.com
California State University officials said Tuesday they will need nearly $250 million more in state funding for the next academic year than is currently proposed, an amount that Gov. Jerry Brown called "a dream more than reality."
Calif. lawmakers split on Mickelson's tax comment
Republican state lawmakers reacted with an "I told you so" after golf champion Phil Mickelson said he might leave California because voters approved higher income taxes on the wealthy.
Cal State Won't Hike Tuition Next Fall
Carla Rivera @ latimes.com
Cal State officials say Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget falls short of what they need but that they plan to hold the line on fees anyway.
Westlands Water District’s $1 billion claim against U.S. rejected
A federal court has quietly dismissed a $1 billion claim by the well-known Westlands Water District, leaving unresolved the long-standing problem of coping with irrigation drainage in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
Va. redistricting try draws fire
Emily Schultheis @ politico.com
Republicans in the state Senate passed the plan in a surprise vote Monday.
University of Oregon hires DC lawyer for case
The University of Oregon has hired a high-profile Washington, D.C., lawyer to seek a Supreme Court review of a case in which a graduate student alleges the school retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination.
Councilmen Question $3.8-million LAX Public Relations Contracts
Robert Lopez @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
Two Los Angeles council members want to know why a city oversight board voted to spend nearly $4 million in taxpayer money for what they describe as a "public relations" contract at Los Angeles International Airport.
Oakland Hires Police Consultant Bratton - Sfgate
The Oakland City Council approved the hiring early Wednesday of a police consultant whose aggressive tactics as chief in New York and Los Angeles made him attractive to some crime-weary residents but anathema to others who fear he lacks sufficient concern for civil rights. Mayor Jean Quan proposed hiring William Bratton to develop a public safety plan in the state's most violent city. With Oakland facing a public safety crisis, Police Chief Howard Jordan called Bratton's hire important and referred to him "one of the brightest minds in policing." Critics had pounced on Bratton's record, which in New York included support for an aggressive form of "stop and frisk," a practice that allows police officers to stop people they think could be armed and pat them down for weapons. The debate took on a familiar divide, with Bratton supporters saying police were vital to a comprehensive crime plan. Critics said police don't address the roots of crime, which can be solved with greater social services and educational opportunities. In addition to the Bratton contract, the City Council unanimously approved three other measures intended to strengthen law enforcement - hiring 20 police technicians, temporarily hiring 10 Alameda County sheriff's deputies and a supervisor to patrol Oakland streets two days a week, and starting a new police academy class to train more officers. Police are also operating under the oversight of a federal judge, who is monitoring the department's compliance with directives from a civil rights lawsuit settlement. The $250,000 consulting contract that the City Council approved is not with Bratton himself but with Strategic Policy Partnership, a police consulting outfit headed by Robert Wasserman, a former Houston police chief and deputy commissioner of the U.N. International Police Task Force. Councilwoman Pat Kernighan waged an aggressive lobbying campaign to urge "sane Oaklanders" to come to the meeting Tuesday night and "outnumber the disrupters," according to an e-mail she sent to her district over the weekend.