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THE NOONER for March 22, 2013
The Legislature is on Spring Break, but many turned in their homework before leaving, with 194 bills amended yesterday. When they return on April 1 (yes, the Legislature is taking Cesar Chavez day on March 29, while the state is taking it April 1), policy committees go into turbo mode, with four weeks to review fiscal bills and five weeks to review non-fiscal bills.
Before lawmakers put on their bermudas and flip-flops, Ben Hueso was sworn into the State Senate. The governor now has 14 days to call a special election for Hueso's AD80. The most likely dates are a June 4 primary with an August 6 runoff, if no candidate gets 50% in June.
San Diego-Imperial Labor Council secretary-treasurer Lorena Gonzalez is the overwhelming favorite to win the seat, although another Democrat-- former Chula Vista councilmember Steve Castaneda--has jumped into the race.
As the Bee's CapitolAlert reports, Anthony Rendon takes over as chair of Water, Parks and Wildlife, which Hueso chaired. Jerry Hill also took over as chair of Environmental Quality, which Michael Rubio chaired before resigning. Lois Wolk takes over Hill's spots on Senate Budget and Sub 4 on State Admin.
When they come back, it sounds as if the teachers pension issue will be on the table. Chris Megerian writes: "Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) told reporters on Thursday that lawmakers can't ignore the growing costs. . . 'This is a serious issue,' he said. 'We have to address it.'"
$$$: DNC continues to bleed money - [Aaron Blake @ WaPo] "The Democratic National Committee, which borrowed more than $20 million at the end of the 2012 election, continues to fall further into the red at a time when it is supposed to be paying off its debt."
Meanwhile, John Burton's California Democratic Party keeps raking in the dough. The party has raked in $3,034,713 since January 1, compared to $552,593 rasied by the California Republican Party.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Teacher Pension Problems Catch Lawmakers' Attention
Chris Megerian @ latimes.com
For years, problems with California's pension fund for teachers and school employees have been growing. Now a new report says the fund needs an additional $4.5 billion every year -- more than Sacramento spends on both university systems combined -- to stay above water.
State Senate To Move 'Quickly' On Business Filing-Backlog Bill
Jon Ortiz @ blogs.sacbee.com
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said his chamber will "act quickly" on a bill aimed at easing the backlog of business filings at the Secretary of State's office.
Competition Means An Early Start For California House Campaigns
Torey Van Oot @ sacbee.com
The never-ending campaign season isn't new. The high cost of winning a congressional seat, which is up for a vote every two years, has accelerated the process of raising cash and actively campaigning for competitive seats across the country.
Editorial: Strip The Pork From State Water Bond | Opinion | Pe.com - Press-enterprise
A Senate hearing last week started looking at potential changes in the $11.1 billion water bond measure that legislators approved in 2009. The Legislature has twice postponed putting the bond before voters, for fear that the electorate would reject a package that is too expensive and weighted down with frivolous spending. The bond is now slated for the 2014 ballot, but Gov. Jerry Brown and ranking legislators have said the measure needs to be less costly to have a chance of passing.
Gov. Brown, Lawmakers Likely Won't Get Raises This Year
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers may have to get by on their current salaries for another year.
Steinberg Pushes Privately Funded Career Training Program
Jeremy B. White @ blogs.sacbee.com
Citing a desire to get the business community involved in public education, Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is promoting a bill that would encourage industry to invest in what he's calling "social investment bonds."
State Controller Orders San Jose To Return Ballpark Land
Local @ mercurynews.com
San Joses years-long quest to move the Oakland As to a stadium in downtown San Jose hit an anticipated major road block Thursday after state Controller John Chiang ruled the citys transfer of assets in 2011 from its then-redevelopment agency to the city for safekeeping -- including seven parcels in the Diridon Station area slated for a ballpark -- is illegal
California's Watchdogs Could Be Chained Up
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
This week, a judge in San Jose struck a blow for open government by ruling that the electronic communications of officials are just as subject to open records laws as paper communications. But it also was revealed this week that the state court system wants to impose a very burdensome $10 fee for even requesting a court document, plus heavy charges for copying. Gov. Jerry Brown's budget includes those onerous provisions. Brown had already pushed for repealing the legal requirement on local governments to post public notices of their meetings.
State Seeks Own Plan To Curb Valley Fever Outbreak In Prisons
Paige St. John @ latimes.com
California corrections officials are seeking help from other state agencies before moving on recommendations to divert large numbers of inmates from valley fever -stricken prisons.
Pay Panel Boss Says Changes To CA Lawmakers' Pay Unlikely
Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
The chairman of the state panel that sets pay for California legislators and statewide officials said today he expects the salaries to remain the same next year, even if the state's finances are strong enough to justify raises.
Solving Teacher Retirement System’s Shortfall Would Cost Billions | Edsource Today
That amount is almost as much as the state expects to bring in from annual revenue from Prop. 30; it is more than what the state spends now for the UC and CSU systems combined. But the alternative is worse, said the speakers. Each day of failing to act to replenish the defined benefit fund increases the liability by $17 million and moves a step closer to 2044, when the pension fund would run out of money.
After Pension Meeting, Business Group Reaffirms Support For Greuel
David Zahniser @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday reaffirmed its support for mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel after calling her in to clarify remarks she made about retirement benefits. Chamber president Gary Toebben said Greuel reassured his group that she...
Senate settles in for votes
Ginger Gibson @ politico.com
And it moves closer to voting on the Democratic budget proposal in what could be a close vote.
Paying for a place in line to hear Prop. 8 arguments
Maura Dolan @ latimes.com
Want a seat in the courtroom when the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday on Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage?
Teen victim sues Sacramento school district
A teenage victim is suing the Sacramento City Unified School District and a former special education teacher serving prison time for sex crimes.
Is Silicon Valley Losing Its Foreign Talent?
As immigration laws make it harder for foreigners to stay and work in the U.S., Silicon Valley is losing some of its most promising talent -- and its unrivaled reputation as ground zero for tech innovation.
The Buzz: Assembly Speaker John A. Perez ponders his next move
rez said he is looking for opportunities to work on education issues after he terms out of office in 2014.
Oakland Council President Wants Protocol To Censure Members
Matthai Kuruvila @ sfgate.com
In response to an audit that found that two Oakland City Council members violated a city law by giving orders to city employees, the council president said she will begin to develop a process by which to censure colleagues when necessary.
Atherton considers asking voters to renew parcel tax in November
Bonnie Eslinger @ mercurynews.com
Atherton voters may be asked in November to renew a parcel tax that now contributes nearly $1.9 million a year to the town's budget.
Lake Perris: Metropolitan On Board With Dam Repairs
JIM MILLER @ pe.com
SACRAMENTO -- The Metropolitan Water District has signed on to the Brown administration's plan to share the costs of building a new dam at Lake Perris to maintain fishing, boating and other activities at the popular Inland reservoir.
Dan Walters Daily
Jeremy B. White @ blogs.sacbee.com
Dan muses on the fact that a commission is weighing whether to change how California lawmakers are paid just as a new poll shows slim public support for the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown.
Californians Show Strong Support For Strict Gun Control Measures
Seema Mehta @ latimes.com
Background checks and tougher penalties for the illegal purchase of firearms have broad support in California, as does the proposed federal assault weapons ban
New Lead Investor Joins Efforts To Keep Kings In Sacramento
Dale Kasler, Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis @ sacbee.com
Sacramento's drive to keep the Kings took a dramatic detour Thursday as a new lead investor emerged for the team and the city missed its self-imposed deadline for wrapping up a deal for a new arena.
Fish, Wildlife: Millions Mishandled, Director Says
JIM MILLER @ pe.com
The review stems from a December state audit of improper lease payments at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in western Riverside County. Auditors found that lease payments meant for the state Wildlife Restoration Fund were improperly diverted to pay for maintenance and other expenses.