Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for August 21, 2014

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As summer turns the corner toward fall, we are left once again to ponder the eternal questions: Why are we here? To be or not to be?  Paper or plastic?


To ban or not to ban is once again the question for the Legislature, as the fight to ban single-use plastic is tangled up in the Assembly.


Jessica Calfeti reports: “Last week, the bill seemed in the bag after it cleared a tough committee vote. But in recent days, industry lobbyists who have squashed more than a dozen other proposed bag bans over the past few years have renewed their effort by targeting moderate Democrats.


The latest lobbying push helped stall an Assembly floor vote on the bill that had been scheduled for Wednesday. Three of the Assembly members being courted by the industry to vote no on the bill -- Henry Perea, D-Fresno; Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton; and Adam Gray, D-Merced -- received campaign contributions from Hilex Poly in 2013.

“None returned phone calls on Wednesday.”

Well, not from reporters, anyway…

Gov. Jerry Brown lashed out at members of the CalPERS board for their decision to accept dozens of pay enhancements for pension purposes.

Jon Ortiz has the details: A divided CalPERS board approved a regulation Wednesday that will allow nearly 100 different types of supplemental pay to count toward pension calculations for state and local government employees.

The 7-5 vote drew a swift rebuke from Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed pension overhaul legislation in 2012 that, in part, attempted to crack down on pension spiking. Specifically, Brown objected to CalPERS’ allowing pension calculations to include “temporary upgrade pay” for workers who briefly fill a higher-paying position to count toward retirement.

“Today CalPERS got it wrong,” Brown said in a statement released shortly after the board’s action. “This vote undermines the pension reforms enacted just two years ago. I’ve asked my staff to determine what actions can be taken to protect the integrity of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act.”

For the latest in state prison woes, we go to Paige St. John.

“Audits of a state prison and psychiatric hospital detail hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper payments and financial problems, including outright payroll fraud, and medical staff and guards receiving questionable bonuses and holiday pay, according to reports released Wednesday.

 “The reviews, conducted by the state Controller, found rates of unauthorized or improper pay in as many as 88% of the relatively small number of files examined, amounting to excess payments to state workers of nearly $230,000.”

California Uber Alles: The San Diego U-T looks at the fight over ride-sharing.

“Lawmakers say there are insurance and safety gaps that put ridesharing drivers and riders at risk. Taxi and limo associations, who support the proposed legislation, say these gaps give the new industry an unfair advantage.

“Assembly Bill 2293, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, proposes to close the insurance gap by requiring coverage “from the moment a driver logs on to the application.”

Elsewhere Around the Capitol

Ba Ba Blackfish: Sea World ponies up $25,000 to Gov. Jerry Brown.

How about 8? Six Californias may not be enough to help the GOP.

More money, more problems: PG&E says it can afford up to $3.6 billion in fines



  • SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West Regional Political Organizer (Los Angeles, Bay Area or Sacramento).  150,000 member California healthcare union seeks to fill 3 openings for strategic, progressive, motivated Regional Political Organizers, 5-10 yrs political/union experience.  Excellent benefits, career ladder.  Salary $49k-$91k.  Resume, letter, 3 references:
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  • 26th Annual Capitol Network Charitable Golf Tournament on October 16, 2014 at Yocha Dehe Golf Club. Sponsorships available and proceeds benefit women's and children's organizations across the state. Please visit: or contact Co-Chairs Jenny Devine-Smith or Erin Norwood at
  • Assistant Press Secretary (California)
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  • Oakland ballot measure campaign seeks experienced field staff for high profile role. Position will be responsible for building field program, coordinating coalition activities and implementing an aggressive GOTV program. Qualifications: on the ground electoral campaign experience, experience managing data collection and a positive attitude. Please email resumes to

  • San Diego County Water Authority. Accepting proposals for Legislative Advocacy and Consulting Services Sacramento, CA. Request RFP from Jennifer Graffam at Proposal submittal deadline: 5:00 p.m. on 8/28/2014. Questions deadline: 5:00 p.m. on 8/11/2014. See RFP for further details.

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Jerry Brown Blasts CalPERS Board For Authorizing Pay Enhancement For Pension Purposes
Jon Ortiz @
CalPERS headquarters in Sacramento.

California Assembly Approves Measure To Block Suspended Lawmakers' Pay
The Assembly on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would allow pay and benefits to be withheld from suspended legislators, but the measure will not be appearing on the November ballot.

Assembly Passes Constitutional Amendment To Suspend Lawmaker Pay
Jeremy B. White @
Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, speaks at a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento on Monday June 10, 2013. He was suspended in March of 2014 but continues to receive his salary.

California Lawmakers OK New Campaign Rules For Water Board Members
Lawmakers on Wednesday approved new campaign rules in response to a controversy involving the political activities of suspended Sen. Ronald S. Calderon and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, both Democrats from Montebello.

Gov. Jerry Brown Should Spell Out How He'd Fund School Construction
California governors have enormous power to shove around legislatures. And Gov. Jerry Brown has learned how to use it without working up a sweat.

California lawmakers, actors press for film tax credit
David Siders @
Thirty-five members of California’s congressional delegation are pressing Gov. Jerry Brown to support an expanded film tax credit significant to California’s TV and movie industry, while actors and crew members rallied in support of the measure at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill Boosting Mental-health Parity Enforcement
Health Care Forum: What employers need to know

Ruling Backs District Elections For Cities - Politics Blog
If you live in a California city that elects its council citywide, rather than by district, a change may be on the way. The state Supreme Court denied review Wednesday of a ruling that requires cha...

Governor Passes Mayor Johnson’s ‘ice Bucket Challenge’ To His Dog
Ryan Lillis @
Sutter Brown, the California governor’s Welsh corgi, was designated as stand-in to have a bucket of ice water dumped on his head.

Keep Hint Of Prosecutorial Action Out Of Legitimate Political Debates :: Fox&hounds
Given the political attack through the courts in other areas of the country, asking the attorney general to keep an eye on political dissent is disturbing. Casting a shadow of potential criminal legal action is intended to put a pall on robust political debate.

Indonesia Court Rejects Challenge To Presidential Election Results
Indonesia's Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to results in last month’s presidential election, validating the victory of Joko Widodo.

California Senate OKs Bill Targeting Activities Of Indicted Calderons
The California Senate on Wednesday approved new campaign rules in response to a controversy involving the political activities of suspended Sen. Ronald S. Calderon and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, both Democrats from Montebello.

Lawyers Spar in Florida Over Newest Voting Map
Lawyers for the groups that sued the Republican-dominated Legislature over the original boundaries said the latest map was scarcely different from the old one.

Senate approves lactation rooms at major airports
Associated Press @
The state Senate has passed legislation requiring large airports to offer a private space for mothers to breastfeed or pump milk.

Epic Environmental Battle: Plastic Bag Ban Opponents Up The Ante In Sacramento
Jessica Calefati @
Last week, the bill seemed in the bag after it cleared a tough committee vote. But in recent days, industry lobbyists who have squashed more than a dozen other proposed bag bans over the past few years have renewed their effort by targeting moderate Democrats.

Column Extra: Lawsuit prompted raises for California scientist and engineer managers
Jon Ortiz @
This week’s State Worker column notes that rank-and-file state scientists will soon vote on a one-year contract with a $1,000 bonus and a 3 percent raise, while Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday authorized pay increases of up to 42 percent for their managers and supervisors and 8 percent increases for state engineer management. Cost for one year: a total $56.4 million for some 4,100 employees.

New Secretary of Veterans Affairs visits VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Jason Green @
During his first visit Wednesday to the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, newly appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald held the facility up as an example to be emulated.

California Board of Equalization hit with $75 million employee lawsuit
Jon Ortiz @
Three state workers are suing the Board of Equalization, aiming to build a $75 million class action case that the agency violated its duty to provide a safe workplace and for years concealed serious work site health hazards from employees.

Governor criticizes new-hire pension enhancements
Associated Press @
The state pension board has approved nearly 100 types of supplemental pay that can be used to increase retirement benefits for newer public employees, one of which drew a strong rebuke from Gov. Jerry Brown.

Silicon Valley Chamber Endorses Ro Khanna Over Mike Honda
Although Honda didn't seek the chamber's blessing, it's still a significant endorsement for Khanna, a former Obama administration official from Fremont who has taken a "startup" approach to wooing voters in the heart of Silicon Valley, the only Asian-American majority House district outside Hawaii. The endorsement crystallizes the business community's support, already hinted at by the wide array of tech executives who have donated to Khanna's campaign.