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THE NOONER for August 22, 2014
Less than a month after vowing to do more to help unaccompanied minors who were arriving in the country illegally, Gov. Jerry Brown announced his support for new legislation that would increase legal aid to help migrant kids.
Melanie Mason reports, “The legislative proposal would give $3 million to qualified nonprofit organizations that provide legal assistance to unaccompanied minors. There are an estimated 3,900 Central American children currently in the state who have come to the country without a parent or other relative.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and members of the Latino Caucus paid a visit this summer to a temporary detention center in Ventura County where some children were being housed. Atkins said that visit was a catalyst for the legislative action.
"We all came away with a feeling that these kids needed our support -- that it was about their safety, their due process, the ability to look beyond bigger political considerations and deal with a humanitarian crisis," she said.
End of session tempers started to flare yesterday, with all kinds of procedural skirmishes erupting on the floors of both houses.
Patrick McGreevy says the spats involve “a series of hostile amendments proposed by Republicans, including one on the hot-button issue of immigration.”
Republicans had also tried a hostile amendment Thursday on the state's cap-and-trade program.
“We don’t entertain hostile amendments on the floor,” Senate leader Darrell Steinberg warned.”
Gut and amends, however…
Laurel Rosenhall reports, “Democrats in the California Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican effort to overturn a state budget provision that caps the amount of money school districts can hold in reserve.
The fight over a procedural move on the Senate floor reflected a larger disagreement between public employee unions and school district administrators over the prudence of limiting how much money the districts can hold on to from year to year.
Capping the level of reserves could send more money to classrooms and workers, but administrators argue a hefty reserve would help them weather any tough times to come. The issue came to a head after lawmakers placed on the Nov. 4 ballot a measure, now Proposition 2, that will create a statewide rainy day fund by limiting the amount of money the state spends year to year.”
Death Penalty Becomes Her: Is it still bad politics to be anti-death penalty in California? Attorney General Kamala Harris isn’t taking any chances.
David Siders reports the attorney general will fight to reinstate California’s death penalty in court. Harris “aaid Thursday she will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional.
“I am appealing the court’s decision because it is not supported by the law, and it undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants,” Harris, a Democrat, said in a prepared statement. “This flawed ruling requires appellate review.”
“The appeal comes after U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled in July that the state’s administration of the death penalty is so dysfunctional that it violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
As actors descended on Sacramento to lobby for the film tax credit, other states are whacking theirs.
North Carolina cut their tax-break program, reports the Hollywood Reporter.
“At present, California is close to passing a bill to quadruple the state financial incentives to $400 million. Even if that figure is cut as the legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown work out a final deal, California clearly sees incentives as key to keeping and attracting productions”
Elsewhere Around the Capitol
Fish vs. Nuts: NPR weighs in on California’s water wars
Los Perros Al Fresco: Brown signs bill allowing dogs at outdoor restaurants
Close Encounter: Richard Dreyfus visits the state Senate
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Assembly Approves Greater Disclosure For Campaigns
JULIET WILLIAMS @ sacbee.com
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California lawmakers are sending legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown to force greater disclosure in political campaigns.
California Lawmakers Pass Education And Drug Bills, Strike Prop. 187
California lawmakers send Gov. Jerry Brown bills to allow 4-year community college degrees and limit suspension of schoolchildren.
California Senate Approves Four-year Degrees At Community Colleges
With universities less accessible to many students, the state Senate on Thursday gave final legislative approval to a measure that would allow California community colleges to offer four-year degrees in up to 15 campuses.
Chevron pouring money into Richmond election
The biggest political campaign war chest in Richmond doesn't belong to a candidate, it belongs to a corporation that hopes to steer the city's November municipal election in its favor. Chevron, the city's main employer and taxpayer, is also the biggest spender on political campaigns - it set aside $1.6 million in a political action committee called Moving Forward that supports the oil giant's favorite City Council and mayoral candidates. The campaign contribution limit in Richmond for both individuals and companies is $2,500, but political action committees can spend unlimited amounts of money on "in-kind" support - money not given directly to a candidate but spent on that candidate's behalf. Moving Forward calls itself a coalition of "labor unions, small businesses and public safety and firefighters associations." What this means is Richmond voters will be showered with glossy campaign mailers, billboards and other political advertising - perhaps TV, radio and newspaper ads - all supporting these candidates.
Doctor Drug Testing Latest Front In Medical Malpractice Measure
Christopher Cadelago @ sacbee.com
When consumer advocates were preparing a fall ballot initiative to raise the sum victims can recover in medical malpractice lawsuits, they considered tacking on an inducement that would resonate with voters across California.
California leaders propose $3M bill to help unaccompanied minors
Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Legislative leaders announced legislation Thursday that sets aside the money for non-profits that provide legal help to unaccompanied minors currently in California. In addition to providing legal services, the legislation would also clarify that state courts can expedite the process for allowing undocumented minors to stay in California legally and ultimately become U.S. citizens. The California Latino Legislative Caucus called on the federal government to help the minors seek permanent residency after lawmakers visited a naval base in Southern California where a temporary immigration detention facility is set up.
Hours after voting to "end ride-sharing industry" - Senator arrested for DUI
Just hours after he voted against CaliforniaÂs burgeoning ride-share industry, State Senator Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, was arrested for driving under the influence.
Tempers Flare In State Senate Over Flurry Of Hostile Amendments
Tempers flared in the state Senate on Thursday over a series of hostile amendments proposed by Republicans , including one on the hot-button issue of immigration.
Mayor Ed Lee not Mr. Nice Guy around City Hall anymore
The mayor's recent dispute with some traditional allies on the Board of Supervisors over how to increase Muni funding is the most public fight in a series of spats that have undercut Lee's cultivated image as a genial consensus builder who, in his words, is "not a politician." Streamlined the ballotLee's team, after carefully studying polling, was keen to streamline the November ballot, trying to block contested measures that could be seen as a referendum on the mayor and to retain those that polled well and for which Lee could claim victory, like raising the minimum wage. The idea, said two members of his administration who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive topic, was to give him momentum heading into 2015, even though Lee has solid approval ratings, no natural challenger and no announced opponent. The first was a proposal by progressive Supervisor John Avalos, one of Lee's most vocal critics, to limit the mayor's power to appoint people to vacant offices. Avalos failed to muster the six votes needed to place it before voters, and one veteran political consultant, who requested anonymity because of ties to both Lee and the board, said the mayor was able to kill Avalos' measure after he "leaned hard on his allies and picked up a couple of swing votes at the board." In the other instance, Kim, who is generally aligned with the board's progressive bloc but also has strong ties to the moderate, business-friendly mayor, proposed an affordable-housing ballot measure linking development approvals to the city's overall affordable housing picture. [...] the mayor and Kim hashed out a compromise measure that is purely advisory. In each of the three cases, what surprised the supervisors behind the measures, and other City Hall observers, was the vindictive nature of the reaction by Lee's senior staff and sometimes the mayor himself - particularly in the case of the transit measure. Lee's office maintains that he is focused on the city's top priorities: jobs, affordable housing, transit and public education.
Lawmakers Seek To Reduce Crack Cocaine Sentences To Those Of Powder
The state Senate gave final legislative approval Thursday to a bill that would reduce the penalties for the sale of crack cocaine to the same levels for powdered cocaine, addressing concern that the sentencing disparity harms minority communities.
State to appeal ruling on constitutionality of death penalty
California will appeal a federal judge's ruling that declared the state's death penalty unconstitutional, Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday, arguing that the ruling would actually reduce the rights of capital defendants in order to speed up executions. In his decision July 16, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney said delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions in California have created a capricious and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose. For most of the 748 condemned prisoners, a death sentence actually means "life in prison, with the remote possibility of death," said Carney, an appointee of President George W. Bush.
State Lawmakers Seek End To Mandatory Sentences For Some Drug Crimes
The state Senate on Thursday gave final legislative approval to a measure that would eliminate mandatory 90-day jail sentences for some drug crimes while supporters fended off an attempted hostile amendment to oppose the state cap-and-trade program.
Pension Fatteners Reveal Some Strange Public Work Rules
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Court Allows Release Of Officers' Names In UC Davis Pepper-spray Case
The California Supreme Court has affirmed that newspapers have a right to know and publish the names of all the UC Davis campus police officers involved in the controversial pepper-spraying of student protesters in 2011.
California would delete old immigration language
Associated Press @ utsandiego.com
California lawmakers are seeking to remove references in state law to a divisive 20-year-old immigration ballot measure in legislation going to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Bay Area Billionaire's Climate-change Ads Leave Fact-checkers Cold
Josh Richman @ mercurynews.com
Negative reviews from watchdogs like PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and the Washington Post are dogging one of the nation's biggest political donors, a former hedge fund manager who ditched his ties to fossil fuels and presented himself as a transparent antidote to the conservative Koch brothers' semi-clandestine funding network.
Ben Hueso, other lawmakers photographed drinking on Capitol balcony before DUI arrest
David Siders @ sacbee.com
Hours before state Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, was arrested on Thursday night on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, he and four other lawmakers were photographed reveling on a Capitol balcony, drinks in hand.