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THE NOONER for July 1, 2013
Happy New Year! Isn't it weird that it is July 1 and we have a budget? This sure beats the days of dragging into September, even if it means lowballing revenues because the tally used for projections doesn't include the critical month of June.
Thank goodness that campaign finance deadline is behind us--it is now safe to read your e-mail. The state reports are due July 31, while the federal reports are due July 15. In related news, Jerry Brown reported receiving $900,000 from the Democratic State Central Committee on Friday. That's one hell of a bundling job. The governor also reported receiving another, uh, $1 mllion.
Meanwhile, Abel Maldonado changed his position on gay marriage.
The state's excise tax on gasoline goes up today by 3.5 cents to 39.5 cents per gallon. While some are using the opportunity to crow about this being a tax hike, remember that this is part of the previous budget deal to be fairer to motorists. By reducing the sales tax on gasoline from 8.25% to 2.25%, the state doesn't benefit nearly as much from spikes in tax prices.
Don't expect to see shark fin soup on the menus at law-abiding establishments, effective today.
Being the beginning of the new year, the interest rate on most federal student loans doubles today from 3.4% to 6.8%, as lawmakers were unable to come to a deal on how to pay for a plan to stop the doubling. Student loans have become a significant profit sector for the feds, given the government's historically low borrowing costs.
The Legislature is meeting through Wednesday. In light of the scorching heat, I think the Legislature should follow the Japanese lead and declare that casual attire is recommended for members, staff, and lobbyists to get through the hearings this week. It makes no sense to have people suited up and running around outside in 110 degree heat, nor to crank up the Capitol's air conditioning to accommodate suit and tie, despite Justin Timberlake's crooning.
Speaking of the heat, remember this page? It might be worth watching this week.
On Friday, I added Holly Mitchell's district director Sydney Kamlager to AD54, who a couple of hours after I finished writing announced that she was not running. It's the hazard of writing six hours before The Nooner goes out!
Also on Friday, Ana Matasantos announced that she was leaving her role as director of the state's Department of Finance. She will be replaced by deputy director Michael Cohen, who has been the public face of DOF in budget conference committee hearings. Cohen joined Finance in 2009 from the Legislative Analyst's Office.
Cohen arrives in the office with nothing but good economic news as the state and nation recover. Check out these national numbers released this morning: "May construction spending up 5.4% from last year; private construction up 10%; residential up 23%! public construction down 4.7%." @grossdm
Today at noon, Latino Democratic leaders are expected to mark the point at which the Latino population is projected to reach parity with California's non-Hispanic white population for the first time in modern history.
STRIKE: Bay Area Rapid Transit Workers began a strike after an agreement couldn't be reached by midnight.
HE SAID/HE SAID: Steinberg reportedly rebukes Yee over public records stance [MercNews]
PRIDE: Darrell Steinberg joined Mark Leno for the SF Pride parade yesterday. The
FACT CHECK: Several of you forwarded me Tim Donnelly's fundraising e-mails. I truly appreciate the passion and consistency of Donnelly, but there are indeed some gems in the messages. I'll take time to shoot down one.
"First came the news that Democratic lawmakers and Jerry Brown were planning to sneak through a bill that would have gutted the California Public Records Act, a key piece of legislation signed by Governor Reagan in 1968 that ensures government transparency and accountability."
Truth: Agree with it or not, the proposal was included in the governor's January budget, posted as trailer bill language for months, and agreed to on a bipartisan unanimous vote in conference committee. I credit Department of Finance for being very transparent with trailer bills, which we used to have to steal from the copy machines in the Capitol.
Finally, with the loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona, let's remember this week of the men and women in uniform who protect us at home and abroad. Also, skip the fireworks this Fourth of July and go to a professional display. Even with the greatest of care, things can and will go wrong and, particularly with this heat, it's just not worth it.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Law Prevents Cuts In Retiree Health Care Costs
Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
A Senate committee last week approved two bills that free the city of Carson and the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District from limits in a CalPERS-run health care program, allowing cuts in retiree health costs bargained with labor unions.
Both Sides Say Kennedy Opinion On Gay Marriage Could Doom State Laws
Ian Swanson @ thehill.com
Legal experts say the Supreme Court's rulings this week on same-sex marriage send the clear signal the justices are likely to strike down state marriage laws that reach the High Court.
Marijuana's March Toward Mainstream Confounds Feds - Wire Health & Science - The Sacramento Bee
FILE - This April 14, 2010 file photo shows more than 100 boxes containing over 252,000 signatures collected by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project line at the Arizona Secretary of State's Office at the Capitol in Phoenix. The campaign committee delivered the boxes in an effort to qualify for the November ballot the effort to legalize medicinal marijuana in Arizona. It took 50 years for American attitudes about marijuana to zigzag from the paranoia of "Reefer Madness" to the excesses of Woodstock back to the hard line of Just Say No. And now, in just a few short years, public opinion has shifted so dramatically toward pragmatic acceptance of marijuana that even those who champion legalization are surprised at how quickly attitudes are changing and states are moving to approve the drug for medical use and just for fun.
Gov. Jerry Brown Holds Strong Hand On Prisons
George Skelton @ latimes.com
Standing up to three federal judges makes the governor look like he's protecting Californians from thugs.
California Farm Belt District A Big Target
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
California's 12th Senate District was born in a bipartisan political deal after the 2000 census.
House Republicans Refuse To Budge On Senate Immigration Bill
Noam Levey @ latimes.com
WASHINGTON — Leading House Republicans reiterated their opposition Sunday to the immigration compromise passed by the Senate last week, highlighting the uncertain prospects for enactment of a major overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws .
BART Strike Has Commuters Scrambling
Carolyn Jones, Ellen Huet and John King @ sfgate.com
Bay Area commuters crowded onto buses, ferries and freeways Monday as BART workers went on strike for the first time since 1997.
$8 Million's A Bargain In This Neighborhood - Lake Tahoe - The Sacramento Bee
The view is spectacular from the deck of this $8.8 million home for sale near the Lake Tahoe shore. The home's furniture also can be purchased.
Bart Talks Continuing As Strike Deadline Nears - Sfgate
Michael Cabanatuan @ sfgate.com
Brown urges talks The union bargaining teams had walked away from negotiations in the Kaiser Center, which houses BART headquarters, on Saturday afternoon, saying a strike was all but inevitable. BART employees, union and non-union, make no contribution to their state pension plans and pay $92 a month for health insurance. The district's proposals would require employees to contribute to their pensions and would increase what they pay for health insurance, but the latest proposal requires them to contribute less than the initial proposal, by an undisclosed amount. The extra 1 percent pay per year that BART offered in the latest proposal is contingent, they said, on factors ranging from ambitious ridership increases and sales tax revenues to reductions in the number of employees seeking Family Medical Leave Act absences. BART says it wants to reach a fair deal with its employees but that it needs relief from skyrocketing pension and health benefits that are more generous that most private and public employers offer. To accommodate that growth, it needs to raise billions to pay for its share of 1,000 new rail cars, a new train maintenance facility and a new train control system. According to BART, they also make an average of $11,000 to $16,000 annually in overtime.
Amid Gay Pride Celebrations, Supreme Court Keeps Weddings Going
Maura Dolan and Chris Megerian @ latimes.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- An emergency effort to again halt gay weddings in California ended Sunday after the Supreme Court rejected a request by that opposes of same-sex marriage.
Are Liberals Turning On Immigration Reform? - Molly Ball - The Atlantic
politics @ theatlantic.com
The Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill Thursday that now faces an uncertain future. In the weeks ahead, the central challenge for immigration reformers will be finding a path through the Republican-led House. But behind the scenes, they are also scrambling to shore up support from liberals who see the current legislation as too slanted toward border security and away from citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Editorial: Will UC march down path of privatization?
The 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education created a landmark contract between the state and its citizens: Every Californian qualified for entry would have a seat in one of the Golden State's three higher education systems.
BART Workers On Strike - No Service Monday
Michael Cabanatuan and John King @ sfgate.com
The first BART strike since 1997 is now under way. The final trains of the Sunday shift will finish up their runs. But there will be no service Monday, with the transit system's workers and management agreeing only on the fact that the two sides remain far apart in contract negotiations. Instead of reporting to work, BART union employees will carry picket signs and distribute leaflets at most stations.
San Quentin inmates graduate from Baptist seminary program
Megan Hansen, Marin Independent Journal @ mercurynews.com
Gospel music rang out Friday from the small chapel at San Quentin State Prison as seven inmates celebrated their graduation from the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's prison program by singing and praying -- and one even proposed to his girlfriend.
Transit Workers Go On Strike After Failed Talks
The strike was called as Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 workers' contracts expired at midnight Sunday. Both the unions and management earlier in the day said they were far apart on key sticking points including salary, pensions, health care and safety.
Oakland City Employee Unions Said They Plan To Call A One-day Strike Monday
Natalie Neysa Alund @ mercurynews.com
According to a statement released from Mayor Jean Quans office on Sunday, city facilities, programs and services will be shut down or severely reduced if the strike takes place. Police, fire and emergency services personnel will not participate in a strike.
San Francisco gay pride revelers thrilled by marriage ruling
Chris Megerian and Joseph Serna @ latimes.com
Paradegoers celebrate with renewed exuberance, thrilled by the recent Supreme Court decision paving the way for same-sex marriage to begin again in California.
Eric Garcetti Is Sworn In As 42nd Mayor Of Los Angeles
William Nottingham @ latimes.com
The party is on in Grand Park now that Eric Garcetti has taken the oath of office as the first elected Jewish mayor of Los Angeles. At 42, he is also the youngest in more than a century.
San Francisco: Gay Pride Parade Turns Into Celebration On An Epic Scale
Local @ mercurynews.com
The Pride parade came into existence 43 years ago as a reaction to the Stonewall incident, during which New York cops beat up several drag queens in a gay bar. This years event took its marching orders from a slightly more exalted law enforcement entity -- the U.S. Supreme Court.