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THE NOONER for June 24, 2013

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WARNING: It's campaign finance deadline week for both state and federal candidates. Stay away from the phone and e-mail--except, of course, to read The Nooner.

AURAL PLEASURE: John Myers and Anthony York talk Public Records Act, the Ninth Circuit's prison order, and the car tax on the Capitol Connection podcast. (thank for the shout-out!)

ROARING: Revenues in May were $939 million above the forecast used to build the 2013-14 state budget, confirms the Department of Finance, although $252 million of the extra was likely a timing issue of insurance tax payments. The LAO projects that June revenues could be $650-$750 million above forecast. General fund personal income tax revenue is now likely to total $59.5-59.6 billion in 2012-13. Proposition 30 likely accounts for roughly $4-5 billion of that.

What the conservatives say: "You didn't need Prop. 30!"
What the liberals say: "Growth in revenues shows that Prop. 30 didn't hurt economy."
What the governor says: "What money?"

TALE OF TWO BUDGET CRISES:

  • In 2001-02, personal income tax revenue dropped $11.5 billion (26%), but sales tax remained flat
  • In 2002-03, personal income tax revenue dropped $10.8 billion (20%), and sales tax dropped $2.9 billion (11%)

THE BIG APPLE: Apple seems to be attempting to single-handedly improve the economy of media outlets with a campaign focused on what has previously been in fine print on the back of gadgets like the MacBook I'm typing this on--"Designed by Apple in California." It is of course leaving out the "Assembled in China" that follows and the unwritten but meaningful slogan "Foreign Profits Stored in Ireland."

The campaign follows CEO Tim Cook's May 28 testimony before a U.S. Senate committee after criticism about the amount of profits that Apple, and other large multi-national corporations are storing overseas. This particularly came to light when Apple borrowed $17 billion to pay dividends and buy-back stock, even though the company's balance sheet boasts over $100 billion in long-term investments. The move saved the company $9.2 billion in taxes. Here's a good backgrounder from Planet Money on how Apple ended up in Ireland.

Here's an area where Congress could and should step in with a corporate tax repatriation holiday. In doing so, companies could pay a rate lower than 35% applied on profits earned in the U.S. and the money would be moved here. While critics say that it would just lead to more executive compensation and payouts to shareholders, that would be great for California. Shareholders, aside from lots of residents of California include pension systems. Leaving that money overseas does nothing for the state.

What say you, California lawmakers?

[disclosure: I have a very few shares of Apple stock]

ALL EYES ON SCOTUS

The Supreme Court will rule this week on the two same-sex marriage cases, along with the case on Section 5 preclearance requirements under the Voting Rights Act. This morning the court appeared to uphold affirmative action in higher education, if the instiution can show that no race-neutral alternatives were available to ensure diversity. The court did send Fisher v. UT Austin back to the trial court, however, because the trial court had not used the required strict scrutiny criteria in Equal Protection analysis in granting summary judgment for the university.

Of course, that doesn't change the law in California, as Proposition 209 continues to block the use of affirmative action.

It's a good time to revisit the same-sex marriage issues and options for the Court I wrote about in December. The court returns tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. EDT, and has six cases remaining.

PROP 8: The United States Supreme Court on Friday granted certiorari in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which is the case challenging California's Proposition 8. The Court also took up the New York case challenging of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In both cases, the Court asked the parties to also brief on whether the petitioners have standing in the case. In the California case, the petitioner is former state senator Dennis Hollingworth on behalf of ProtectMarriage.com, as Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris declined to continue defending Prop. 8, and the case was renamed from Perry v. Schwarzenegger. (Party names get switched on appeal.) In the New York case, the defendent is the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives, which is composed of the 5 leaders (Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Majority Whip and Minority Whip), which voted 3-2 to take over the defense of DOMA after the Obama administration refused to continue defending the law.

Why is all of that interesting? Well, it gives the Supreme Court an "out" from deciding the Equal Protection issues raised in both cases and could essentially allow the court to let gay marriage go forth in jurisdictions where the government isn't challenging them and uphold DOMA in areas where it is left unchallenged.

Essentially, when the California state government and Obama administration refused to defend Prop. 8 and DOMA in the two respective cases, the defendent didn't "show up." It would be like the cop not showing up to argue that he really clocked you going 80MPH down I-5.

Typically, in a case like this, standing is an issue on the plaintiff's side of a lawsuit, when we ask whether they will be imminently harmed by a law that she seeks to challenge. Defendents are defending their action, or in the case of California, the action taken by its voters or in the United States, by the Congress and President in enacting DOMA. So, in absence of the government willing to defend a law, can a private citizen of that government step in and act in the government's stead? In both California and New York, the lower courts said "yes," but the Supreme Court might be looking to say "no," thus allowing it to sidestep the issue of "gay marriage" altogether.

By denying the ability of Hollingsworth/ProtectMarriage.com and the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to step into the governments shoes, the two cases would likely be remanded to the trial court (Northern District of California and Southern District of New York), where, unless the State of California or Obama Administration had a change of heart, a default judgment would be issued on behalf of the original plaintiffs holding unconstitutional Proposition 8 and DOMA, but only as applied in California and New York. 

Okay, you have to be a geek to think about the same-sex marriage cases in the construct of Article III standing, but it is important to recognize that the Supreme Court likes incrementalism and might find a way out that avoids the national question of same-sex marriage while settling the issue in areas where the government is not fighting it.

It would be a lose-lose for both sides, as gay marriage advocates want to win on Equal Protection grounds, and opponents want Prop 8 and DOMA to be upheld, but it might be win-win for a reluctant SupCt.

 

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**CLASSIFIEDS**

  • K Street Consulting, Councilmember Allen Warren, Councilmember Jay Schenirer, and SCUSD Board Vice President Patrick Kennedy invite you to attend a fundraiser celebration for Sacramento District Attorney candidate Maggy Krell. Wednesday June 26, 5:30-7:30pm 1001 K Street rooftop. RSVP to KrellforDA@gmail.com or by clicking here.
  • Assemblymember Anthony Rendon and Senator Fran Pavley invite you to attend a free screening on Tuesday, June 25th of the Natural Resources Defense Council's new film Wild Things, a 38-minute documentary that introduces audiences to progressive ranchers learning to coexist with native carnivores. Event co-sponsors include The Humane Society of the United States, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Animal Welfare Institute and Project Coyote. Reception at 6 pm, screening/panel discussion at 7 pm. Crest Theater, 1013 K Street. Free and open to public. RSVP at www.wildthingsmovie.org.
  • Earn a Master of Science in Law Degree
    Pacific McGeorge is accepting applications for its new Master of Science in Law Program, designed for professionals who want quality part-time legal training but don't need a JD degree. Apply for August 2013 at go.mcgeorge.edu/MSL

 

 

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
The Man Behind The Proposition 8 Lawsuit
Timothy M. Phelps, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
When Chad Griffin challenged Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban, gay rights groups feared it was too risky. Now he's hailed as a visionary.

Tom Hayden's Anti-toxics Law May Get A Makeover
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
Tom Hayden gained fame – or notoriety – as an anti-Vietnam War activist in the 1960s, later moved to California and attempted, with mixed results, to become a political power in the state.

Gay Marriage In Supreme Court: Nation Will Be Glued To Web Awaiting Rulings
Local @
mercurynews.com
With the U.S. Supreme Court in the final week of its term, justices are on the brink of major rulings in the Proposition 8 and federal Defense of Marriage Act cases.

Wait continues for Supreme Court's Prop. 8, voting rights rulings
David Lauter and Timothy M. Phelps @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court’s eagerly awaited decisions on same-sex marriage and voting rights will have to wait until later this week, as the justices finished Monday’s public session with a ruling on affirmative action but nothing on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Boxed In By The Prison Issue :: Fox&hounds
foxandhoundsdaily.com
On one side, Brown is threatened by the courts to free prisoners. On the other side, political opponents are mounting a campaign against Brown arguing that freed prisoners threaten public safety.

Districts To Get $1.25 Billion This Fall To Implement Common Core
John Fensterwald @
edsource.org
With uncommon speed, school districts and charter schools this fall will receive substantial money they didn’t foresee coming their way a few months ago to prepare for the Common Core standards. The catch: They first have to tell the public how they plan to use it.

White House launches healthcare outreach campaign
Noam N. Levey @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration moved anew Monday to demonstrate its progress in implementing the president’s 2010 healthcare law, announcing new call centers and a new website to help consumers find insurance coverage next year.

CalPERS Wants Lien On Local Government Assets
Ed Mendel @
calpensions.com
When San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy last August, staying debt collection, the city stopped payments to CalPERS this fiscal year but plans to resume next month. In the Stockton and Vallejo bankruptcies, the cities did not skip CalPERS payments.

For These Senators, Immigration Is A Personal Story
Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
As debate unfolds on a contentions immigration bill, senators open up about their foreign-born parents or other immigrants they've known.

Jerry Brown: Disciplinarian
Daniel Weintraub @
healthycal.org
Jerry Brown was the kid the first time he was governor, nearly 40 years ago. Now he is definitely providing adult supervision in Sacramento.

Political Blotter: Former Senate candidate to seek House seat in 2014
Josh Richman @
mercurynews.com
Elizabeth Emken, the Republican who challenged Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 2012, is moving to Fair Oaks and challenging freshman Rep. Ami Bera next year.

The Caucus: Poll Shows Lead for Democrat on Eve of Massachusetts Senate Election
thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com
The most recent poll in the special Senate election in Massachusetts showed the Democratic candidate, Representative Edward J. Markey, leading Gabriel Gomez, his Republican challenger.

DWP To Build Groundwater Treatment Plants On Superfund Site
Louis Sahagun @
latimes.com
The facilities will restore pumping of drinking water from scores of polluted San Fernando Valley wells, lessening L.A.'s reliance on imported water, agency says.

La Mayor Exits After Bumpy Term, Looking Ahead - Yahoo! News
news.yahoo.com
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa …

Weeklong Reprieve For Citrus Heights Family Facing Eviction - Business - The Sacramento Bee
sacbee.com
Cindy Amrine and daughter Lauren, left, and three other daughters thought they might have to split up.

Gay marriage suspense mounts at U.S. Supreme Court
Howard Mintz @
mercurynews.com
No ruling issued Monday, more rulings expected Tuesday morning as nation waits for decisions in challenges to Proposition 8 and federal Defense of Marriage Act

AM Alert
Jeremy B. White @
blogs.sacbee.com
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, raised some eyebrows when he

This Time, More Will to Overhaul Immigration
nytimes.com
Political realities have shifted since 2007, the last time a major immigration bill was in Congress, making legislation likelier to pass today.

Dan Walters: Tom Hayden's anti-toxics law may get a makeover
sacbee.com
Tom Hayden gained fame – or notoriety – as an anti-Vietnam War activist in the 1960s, later moved to California and attempted, with mixed results, to become a political power in the state.

Senate On Glide Path To Passing Immigration-reform Bill - Nationaljournal.com
Ronald Brownstein @
nationaljournal.com
Question? Call us at 800-207-8001 | Sign In | Learn About Membership

Feinstein: Snowden Could Leak Even More Damaging Information - The Hill's Video
Meghashyam Mali @
thehill.com


Hospitals Cut Some Surgery Prices After CalPERS Caps Reimbursements
Chad Terhune @
latimes.com
When the California Public Employees’ Retirement System told its Anthem Blue Cross members it would pay only up to $30,000 for a knee or hip replacement surgery, some patients shopped around for a cheaper hospital.

Child Protection Commission Proposed By Los Angeles County Board Of Supervisors
Christina Villacorte Staff Writer @
dailynews.com
Following the shocking death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy allegedly tortured by his mother and her boyfriend, the Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on whether to create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection.