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THE NOONER for June 20, 2013
Happy Thursday. You are almost to the end of the week.
GAVEL: There was no decision from SCOTUS this morning on Perry v. Hollingsworth, California's same-sex marriage case. Court-watchers expect the final eleven decisions to be handed down next Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Also outstanding are cases on Voting Rights Act and affirmative action.
GRAPHICS: How the Supreme Court could rule on same-sex marriage [WaPo]
TO THE BALLOT! The Public Records Act controversy continued yesterday as newspapers pounded the Legislature for approving a trailer bill that would have removed mandates added in 2000 and 2001 broadening access to public records. By the end of the day, Darrell Steinberg and the governor were working on a constitutional amendment to place on the ballot that would continue existing public records laws, but exempt them from being a state mandated local program. In doing so, local governments wouldn't be allowed to claim state reimbursement. The governor is expected to sign the trailer bill suspending the records mandates until the voters have their say.
I know that was a lot to read yesterday, but I honestly believe that this was a budget rather than policy decision, and now it is evident by the willingness to place a consitutional amendment on the ballot. After all, it was the voters that required the state pay for the local mandates it creates.
I'm all about the public availability of records. I believe governments should put all salaries online. Following the CSBA issue, I voluntarily put my contract on our website, even though we're not a public agency.
What I have a hard time with, though, is when newspapers owned by large corporations and wealthy individuals editorialize that this trailer bill was a "gutting of government openness rules." The Public Records Act has been around since 1968, and all we're talking about being waived here are the requirements that local governments respond within 10 days about the availability of requested records and provide assistance with the request "to assist members of the public who lack sufﬁcient knowledge to identify and/or locate public records." (LAO's language.)
Yes, these are things that a local government should do, and yes, there are bad actors in government that require us to have laws ensuring the journalistic enterprise can be met.
But, if the Orange County Register makes a large request to suck up a large amount of data or records from the city of Davis, and then puts it behind a paywall that is a profit center, should I as a resident and taxpayer pay for the staff time to fulfill the request?
Maybe it's time to talk not about whether state or local government pays for the costs of providing public records, but perhaps whether the government or the user should.
WE TOLD YOU SO: The Legislative Analyst provided an update of June revenues yesterday, and plans to update it periodically through the remainder of the month. This is the third biggest month for personal income tax collections, with $8.1 billion projected to be collected.
"Specifically, for the state's "Big Three" General Fund taxes, revenues for the 2012-13 fiscal year to date ended May $695 million above the Governor’s May Revision projections. The bulk of this $695 million total results from PIT revenues, which were $561 million ahead of the Governor’s May Revision projection as of the end of May. . . . Assuming that the current trends continue for the remaining seven FTB collection days this month, June 2013 PIT collections would end about $500 million above the Governor’s May Revision projections. We caution that this calculation is dependent on revenue performance for the month to date continuing for the rest of June, including the typically significant collection days remaining this week. Accordingly, if the next two or three collection days differ significantly from the comparable collection days of last June, the $500 million calculation above could rise or fall in line with those differences."
"Assuming that the current trends continue for the remaining seven FTB collection days this month and that [Corporate Tax] refunds for the month rise to meet DOF’s projections, June 2013 [Corporate Tax] collections would end about $300 million above the Governor’s May Revision projections.
Given that Big Three revenues ended May nearly $700 million above the Governor’s May Revision projections and that PIT and CT combined could end June several hundred million dollars above the Governor’s projections for the month of June alone, the potential clearly exists for the state’s 2012-13 General Fund revenues to end somewhat above both the Governor’s May Revision projection and our own.
Wow. The governor better sign those budget bills fast before the Legislature withdraws them from enrollment to spend more money!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
State Lawmakers Get 5 Percent Raise
Wyatt Buchanan @ sfgate.com
The governor, legislators and other state officeholders will get 5 percent pay raises starting in December, restoring some of what they lost starting five years ago when California began running huge budget deficits.
Legislature Plots New Course Following Public Records Act Controversy
Melody Gutierrez and David Siders @ sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate leaders appeared Wednesday to reject an Assembly proposal to uphold key provisions of the California Public Records Act, instead saying the issue should go before voters as a constitutional amendment next year.
Senate Committee Postpones Action On School-bond Legislation
Dan Walters @ blogs.sacbee.com
Legislation aimed at curbing California school districts' use of bonds that have extended repayment periods and high costs stalled in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday after school officials mounted a heavy lobbying campaign against it.
Senate Supermajority Pauses On Prop 13 Changes :: Fox&hounds
Of course, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who already signaled that 2013 was not the year to deal with Proposition 13, controls the Rules Committee.
Assembly Reverses Course On Open Records Limits
Anthony York @ latimes.com
If the measure passes the Assembly and Senate, Gov. Jerry Brown would essentially be left with a choice: signing a budget bill that places restrictions on the state’s open meeting laws or one that instead could leave the state on the hook to pay tens of millions of dollars to local governments for their compliance with parts of the law.
Maldonado Pushes Initiative As Gubernatorial Run Nears
Mark Walker @ utsandiego.com
Former California lieutenant governor and state legislator Abel Maldonado was in San Diego Wednesday to push his proposed initiative to repeal the 2011 legislation that shifted low-level offenders to county jails and what he says led to early release for some.
Legislature changing course on Public Records Act challenge
Melody Gutierrez @ blogs.sacbee.com
Battered by criticism from open government activists, the Assembly will vote Thursday to undo a budget bill that made some provisions of the state's Public Records Act optional for local governments.
Brown Poised To OK Temporary Limits On Public Records Law
Anthony York @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown indicated that he would support protecting public access to government records in a constitutional amendment to be voted on next fall, but still supports temporarily weakening the law that ensures public access to official documents.
New CalPERS Rate-Hike Era Begins With Cost Cut
Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
State pension costs drop slightly in the new fiscal year under CalPERS rates set yesterday, a short break before a new full-funding policy adopted in April is expected to boost costs nearly 50 percent during the next seven years.
California Lawmakers Support Extension For Suits By Abuse Victims
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
Survivors of child molestation would have more time to file lawsuits against institutions that employed their abusers under a proposal making its way through the California Legislature.
Editorial: Trailer bill reform is long overdue
Following a statewide outcry, it now appears the Assembly will redo Assembly Bill 76 so that local governments won't have the option of disregarding open records laws. That's a good step. Senate leaders want to enshrine the Public Records Act in the state constitution. That's also a good step. Yet these proposals don't deal with the larger problem of murky budget trailer bills loaded with troublesome provisions.
California legislative leaders clash over public records' access
Anthony York @ latimes.com
Assembly speaker offers plan to rescind governor's changes to let governments opt out of parts of Public Records Act. But Senate's leader and governor reject plan.
California Legislature Creates Confusion Over Records Bill
Judy Lin @ scpr.org
The California Legislature's Democratic leaders are pledging to address a budget bill that threatens public access to information held by local governments, but to do so in different ways.
Immigration: Senators near compromise with border security plan
David Espo and Erica Werner @ mercurynews.com
Â‚WASHINGTON -- White House-backed immigration legislation gained momentum in the Senate on Thursday as lawmakers closed in on a bipartisan compromise to spend tens of billions of dollars stiffening the bill's border security requirements without delaying legalization for millions living
District Attorneys, Victims' Advocates Urge Veto Of Budget Trailer
David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
While open-records advocates urge Gov. Jerry Brown to veto legislation that would weaken California's open-records law, crime victim advocates are raising objections to language in the same bill that would relax requirements for how local agencies handle domestic violence cases.
California Appeals Court Overturns Governor, Orders Parole For Baby Killer
Denny Walsh @ sacbee.com
A state appellate court, brushing aside Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to keep Yolo County baby killer Chris Michael Fowler in prison, has ordered him released on parole.
Assembly sends Senate a bill reversing public records changes
Assembly Democrats sent a bill reversing changes to the California Public Records Act to the Senate on Thursday following a 52-25 vote along party lines.
Gutting Public's Right To See Records Would Be Huge Mistake
George Skelton @ latimes.com
Gov. Brown should veto the budget bill that would let official business escape scrutiny. Citizens' right to know what government is up to is paramount.
Court Hears Testimony On State Of Mental Health Care In California Prisons | Represent! | 89.3 Kpcc
Julie Small @ scpr.org
Join Alex Cohen and A Martínez for a conversational and witty look at the issues people are buzzing about.
Assembly passes bill to reverse records-law change
The state Assembly has passed legislation removing one provision of a budget bill that has the potential for cutting off the public's access to records held by local governments.
California Assembly to restore Public Records Act
Thomas Peele and Mike Rosenberg @ mercurynews.com
Critics had called for Gov. Jerry Brown to veto a measure that critics say would have gutted access to local government records by changing the Public Records Act from a legal requirement to a 'suggested best practice.'