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THE NOONER for June 25, 2013

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DISTRICT CHANGES:
  • AD03 (Northeast): removed Sutter supe Jim Whiteaker (R)
  • AD03 (Northeast): removed Tehama supe Bob Williams (R)

SUBSCRIBERS can download a spreadsheet of all candidates, with district geography and score.

 

Good morning. The Supreme Court will rule tomorrow on the same-sex marriage cases. The speculation is that Chief Justice Roberts will issue the opinion in Perry (California) and that Justice Kennedy will issue the opinon on Windsor (Defense of Marriage Act).

If that is the case, I would guess the court rules that California violated the Equal Protection clause by providing a benefit to a class of citizens and subsequently withdrawing it, using an intermediate scrutiny standard found in gender cases. DOMA will likely be held unconstitutional. With that result, there will be no significant changes in non-same-sex observing states, except California.

The court this morning ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconsitutional. Section 4 is the provision that sets forth the formula that determines whether jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance requirements of Section 5. Preclearance requires covered jurisdictions to obtain approval from either the Department of Justice or a 3-judge panel from the DC district court whenever they change election procedures.

For example, the state's redistricting plans were subject to preclearance because lines were changed in districts in Kings, Monterey, and Yuba--counties that are covered jurisdictions determined by Section 4. Nine states are covered in their entirety, but only those three counties in California are covered jurisdictions.

Congress has repeatedly renewed the Voting Rights Act, including Section 4, most recently in 2006. The vote was 398-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate.

Today's decision was made on the principal of federalism and on the reservation of powers not identified in the Constitution as granted to the state being reserved for the states and their citizens. The court's majority writes "In 1966, we found these departures from the basic features of our system of government justified. The 'blight of racial discrimination in voting' had 'infected the electoral process in parts of our country for nearly a century.'"

The court's opinion goes on to report that Mississippi's voter registration favored white voters by 63.2% in 1966, and that data available when the law was renewed in 2006, black voters outnumbered white voters by 3.8%. The court credits the Voting Rights Act for improvements.

Four of the five justices in the majority only ruled on the constitutionality on section 4, and declined to rule whether section 5's preclearance requirements are unconstitutional. In short, the court is telling Congress to update its criteria for covered jurisdictions. Justice Thomas wrote separately to say that he would find section 5 unconstititional as well.

Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan dissented, arguing that the contemporary renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006 is evidence that the body (with large majorities) found sufficient evidence that the section 4 formula was still justified.

I have mixed feeling about this case. There is still plenty of discrimination in voting, even if just by staffing decisions. But, after all, most of Florida and all of Ohio are not covered jurisdictions.

That said, the California counties that require pre-clearance were all added to the list because of the existence of military bases that led to large numbers of non-registered residents. (Fort Ord in Monterey, Beale in Yuba, and NAS Lemoore in Kings County.) If the City of Marina decides to switch from an at-large system to an ward/area system to comply with the stricter California Voting Rights Act, should they really need pre-clearance from the Department of Justice because Monterey county was added in 1972?

With the court's action, preclearance is dead for now, although Section 2 still prohibits voting discrimination and plaintiffs can still sue if they believe a jurisdiction is discriminating.

The court has put this in Congress' lap. Congress needs to act to update modern jurisdictions that have pervasive discrimination in voting. The overwhelming majorities of both parties that voted for the law's renewal need to step to the plate. I can't say I'm holding my breath.

LAND USE: While likely to be less talked about than the Voting Rights Act case, the 5-4 decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District is also very significant, which could significantly limit land use restrictions and fees.

EWWWW: United Airlines wipes up a PR mess

PREPARE: BART Strike could cause transit chaos [Michael Cabanatuan @ SFChron] - "With a BART strike appearing increasingly possible, Bay Area transportation officials are urging commuters to start planning for the gridlock and chaos that could be unleashed on Monday morning . . . Labor agreements with BART and its five unions expire at midnight Sunday, and while there's been a lot of interaction in recent days between the transit agency and its labor unions, much of it has taken place away from the bargaining table and has been decidedly antagonistic."

 

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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
Jerry Brown, Senate Democrats Push Enterprise Zone Plan Forward
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
After Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate the state's enterprise zone program appeared to stall earlier this month, the Brown administration and Democratic legislative leaders rushed forward Monday with a slightly modified version of the plan, anticipating a floor vote in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon.

Senate Set To Approve Rewritten Budget Proposal
Anthony York @
latimes.com
A budget bill stripped of language that could have weakened access to government records is expected to clear the Senate.

Assemblyman Alejo Takes Heat From Ufw For Refusing To Vote
Dan Walters @
blogs.sacbee.com
Assemblyman Luis Alejo, a long-time supporter of the United Farm Workers Union, is taking heat from the union and its members for refusing to vote for a bill that would make it easier for the UFW to obtain contracts with growers.

Immigration Reform Passes Key Senate Test In 67-27 Vote On Border Measure
Alexander Bolton and Ramsey Cox @
thehill.com
The Senate voted 67-27 Monday to advance a border security amendment to bipartisan immigration legislation, building momentum for a final vote later this week.

Bill To Fix Records Act Change Heads To Governor
Laura Olson @
mercurynews.com
The California Senate on Monday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would undo previous changes that threatened to reduce access to local government documents.

California Measure Would Prevent Cuts To Hospital-based Nursing Care | Kpbs.org
kpbs.org
California lawmakers and the Governor have reached a budget deal, but one measure moving through the legislature would require a change in health spending.

Gay Marriage Suspense Mounts At U.S. Supreme Court
contracostatimes.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

Dan Walters: San Francisco Basketball Arena's Now A Political Football
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
What is it about sports arenas that makes politicians bend over backward to exempt them from regulatory hurdles?

BART Strike Could Create Transit Chaos
Michael Cabanatuan @
sfgate.com
With a BART strike appearing increasingly possible, Bay Area transportation officials are urging commuters to start planning for the gridlock and chaos that could be unleashed on Monday morning.

White House Warns Snowden Decision Will Chill U.s.-china Relations - The Hill - Covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns And Capitol Hill | Thehill.com
Ian Swanson @
thehill.com


Pressure makes Capitol backtrack on gutting public records law
George Skelton @
latimes.com
Gov. Brown and the Legislature reverse course on allowing local governments the option of blocking access to public records — thanks to outrage from media and citizens.

Jerry Brown's latest bill signature brings new criticism of his open-government stance
Josh Richman @
mercurynews.com
California Governor Jerry Brown's signing of a new law that denies public access to some of his meetings with local officials reignites concern that he's no friend of open government.

CA Senate passes revised public records bill
Annalise Mantz @
blogs.sacbee.com
The Senate voted to reverse changes to the California Public Records Act on Monday, leaving the final decision on the records law to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Inmates Ordered Removed From Prisons With Valley Fever Outbreaks
Paige St. John @
latimes.com
California has lost another federal court decision: a judge on Monday ordered the state to move inmates at risk of contracting valley fever out of two prisons afflicted with the deadly fungus.

Burr, Cornyn And Johanns Oppose Immigration Bill
washingtonpost.com
Cornyn’s decision is not a huge surprise, given that he sponsored a more restrictive border security amendment and voted against the immigration bill in committee. But it does signal that there will be significant dissent when it comes to the Corker-Hoeven compromise.

Jerry Brown Signs Bill Allowing More Closed-door Meetings
Chris Megerian @
latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Monday limiting the public's access to meetings where he discusses security issues with local officials.

Editorial: Steinberg's bill would infringe on local control
sacbee.com
Senate Bill 7, authored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and sponsored by his union allies, challenges the independence of charter cities in ways that are heavy-handed and unfair.

Sacramento gives in on records law
utsandiego.com
Lawmakers agree to reopen the $95 billion state budget process to undo one small provision.

Labor-backed Bill Tests Supermajority Control Of California Legislature - Our Region - The Sacramento Bee
sacbee.com
With Democrats set to lose their Assembly supermajority this week, moderates are in the hot seat as the house decides the fate of one of organized labor's top priorities.

Halle Berry To Testify On Paparazzi Limits
Chris Megerian @
latimes.com
The Capitol will get a touch of star power on Tuesday morning when actress Halle Berry testifies in favor of legislation that would limit paparazzi's ability to photograph the children of celebrities.

Dan Walters: Sacramento Basketball Arena's Now A Political Football
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
What is it about sports arenas that makes politicians bend over backward to exempt them from regulatory hurdles?

Friction mars transition of Ed Reyes, Gil Cedillo on L.A. council
David Zahniser @
latimes.com
Cedillo has tried to block approval of a deal brokered by Reyes to sell city-owned land in Glassell Park to a car dealer who supported a Reyes aide's candidacy.