Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for August 28, 2014

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Ride sharing and film-credits were among the deals cut between lawmakers and Gov. Brown yesterday as the session continues to tick towards an end.


Jeremy White reports: “The film tax credit bill was shaped by intense lobbying from the state’s TV and movie industries, with Los Angeles lawmakers in particular declaring the measure a priority. The agreement announced on Wednesday would expand to $330 million annually the state’s existing $100 million tax credit. The version working its way through the Legislature aimed higher, seeking to expand the tax credit to $400 million.

“This law will make key improvements in our Film and Television Tax Credit Program and put thousands of Californians to work,” Brown said in a statement.

Don Thomspon has details on the deal struck between Uber, Lyft and the insurers.

“Both of the major ride-sharing companies supported her bill after (Asm. Susan Bonilla) agreed to reduce the required amount of excess insurance from $500,000 to $200,000 when drivers do not have passengers in their vehicles. That's on top of the basic policy requiring liability insurance of $50,000 for killing or injuring a single person, $100,000 for damage from a single accident and $30,000 for property damage.


“The measure also makes it clear that the burgeoning industry falls under the oversight of the California Public Utilities Commission, among other provisions.”


Jessica Calefati has the latest chapter in the saga over single-use plastic bags.


“What began several months ago as a relatively principled debate about the environment versus jobs has devolved into hot buttons and flash points that have little to do with the substance of the bag ban. It's a classic example of the ugly and sometimes disingenuous battles that Sacramento lobbyists wage -- and lawmakers assent to -- each year over high-profile bills in the final days of the legislative session.

A letter was circulated inside the Capitol from “Familias Latinas de California denouncing Senate Bill 270, which seeks to ban single-use plastic grocery bags and encourage reusable bags, calling it "a proposal for wealthy communities that can afford fancy bags" that would put hardworking Latinos at "a disadvantage."

“Turns out the letter was distributed by an industry lobbyist and that the advocacy group is fictitious. But nonetheless, several lawmakers got the message and repeated the letter's talking points during speeches delivered on the Assembly floor moments before the measure fell three votes short of passage Monday.”

What Time is It? It’s Gut and Amend Time! Ben Adler takes a look at the legislative surgery currently underway

“It happens every year in the waning days of the California Legislature: A bill is amended to address a completely different subject, then brought up for a vote without going through the full legislative process. It's known as “gut-and-amend.” And although the practice draws scorn from many, lawmakers insist there are good reasons to use it. 

“You might wonder what the Silver Lake Reservoir in Los Angeles County has to do with gun buyback programs? Absolutely nothing, of course. But a couple weeks back, Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto took his reservoir bill and turned it into something else entirely. It would now require that guns brought to buyback programs be tested before they’re melted to assure they haven’t been used in crimes.

“What Gatto did to the bill has a name at the Capitol: “gut-and-amend.” Sacramento State political analyst Steve Boilard says the practice is controversial because it short-circuits the normal legislative process – often at the last minute.”

 Could a vote over the Confederate Flag have implications in one of this fall’s contested Congressional races? Jean Merl ponders that question.

“Sen. Stephen Knight's recent vote against a measure barring the  display or sale of Confederate flag images from state museums and gift shops has caused a stir in the High Desert district where he is running for Congress this fall.

“The Palmdale Republican was one of only three state legislators who voted against the bill by Assemblyman Isadore Hall III (D-Compton), which won final passage in the Assembly last week and was sent to the governor.”

Elsewhere Around the Capitol:

Human Comedy: Happy William Saroyan Day

Exit Interview: Steinberg reflects with Cap Public Radio

Yuck: Black Rock City meets East Egg



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After L.A. County Scandal, Legislature OKs Tax Agent Regulations
Following the corruption charges of Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, the Assembly approved a measure that would put property tax agents on a tighter leash.

Deals Emerge On California Film Tax Credit, Ridesharing Regulations
Jeremy B. White @
Opponents to AB-2293 hold signs during a rally at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

Sacramento: Debate Over Plastic Bag Ban Takes A Weird But Familiar Turn
Jessica Calefati @
Familias Latinas de California denounced Senate Bill 270, which seeks to ban single-use plastic grocery bags and encourage reusable bags, calling it "a proposal for wealthy communities that can afford fancy bags" that would put hardworking Latinos at "a disadvantage."

Schwarzenegger Will Be Back For Portrait Unveiling
David Siders @
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger waves on the red carpet for the Macau premiere of his movie "The Expendables 3" in Macau, China, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014.

Neel Kashkari's 'homeless' Stay In Fresno Irks GOP Mayor - Sfgate
When Ashley Swearengin, the Republican candidate for state controller, was asked at a Sacramento Press Club lunch if she would vote for Kashkari, she said she "was still evaluating the candidates." If Kashkari had stopped by City Hall, Swearengin said, she could have shown him new, low-income housing and other efforts that are under way in Fresno to ease the city's homeless problem. Trying to make lemonade out of what Fresno viewed as a lemon of a video, Swearengin said her takeaway from Kashkari's experience was "how well he was treated by everyone in the city," even the police officers who told the candidate for governor to "move along" when he tried to sleep on a park bench. "Neel enthusiastically supports Mayor Swearengin and looks forward to voting for her and the entire Republican ticket," Mary-Sarah Kinner, a spokeswoman for Kashkari, said in a statement Wednesday.

Voters Deserve A Gubernatorial Debate That Goes Beyond Platitudes
California voters' best chance of hearing anything substantive from Gov. Jerry Brown about his plans for a final term will come next week in a televised debate.

Lawmakers approve groundwater management bill
JUDY LIN Associated Press @
Amid a third year of drought, state lawmakers began pushing legislation that begins to regulate groundwater.

Clean Autos Get Boost In 3 Bills
A bill that would phase out rebates for the wealthy who buy plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles passed the Assembly and could join two related bills Thursday on their way to Gov. Jerry Brown 's desk.

California senators' final-month fundraising down from 2013
Jim Miller @
The California Senate’s curb on end-of-session fundraising has sharply cut into the flow of political cash to senators’ campaign accounts, even as some in the upper house run afoul of a rule that bans contributions from donors that have Capitol lobbyists.

California Bill Mandating Drone Privacy Rules Heads To Governor | Reuters
Sharon Bernstein @
SACRAMENTO Calif. Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:13pm EDT

California Senators’ Final-month Fundraising Down From 2013
Jim Miller @
State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, listens to a speaker in the Senate chambers in March 2013.

Ed Lee campaign faces dilemma over alleged FBI contribution
Here's a stumper. What do you do when an undercover FBI agent allegedly arranges for $20,000 to be donated to your campaign, quite possibly in violation of campaign finance laws, but the feds won't help you figure out if you really got the money, or who gave it to you? That's pretty much the situation Mayor Ed Lee's campaign finds itself in after a recent court filing by a defense attorney in the complex public corruption case of suspended state Sen. Leland Yee and reputed Chinatown gangster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.

Medi-cal Asset Seizure Bill Heads To Gov. Jerry Brown For Consideration
Tracy Seipel @
Hanging in the balance are the hopes -- and homes -- of thousands of worried Bay Area residents and Medi-Cal enrollees like Chris Darling of Richmond, Anne-Louise Vernon of Campbell and Eliza O'Malley of El Cerrito.

California Senate Approves Gun Bill In Response To Isla Vista Attacks
With support from families who lost loved ones in the Isla Vista massacre in May, the state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation aimed at taking guns away from people seen as a danger to themselves or others.

Deal Reached On Ride-sharing Legislation -
A deal has been reached at the state Capitol on legislation that would tighten regulations on ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber.

The Buzz: Schwarzenegger will be back to unveil Capitol portrait Sept. 8
the numbers @
Nearly four years after leaving office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will return to Sacramento in 10 days to unveil his official portrait.

Khanna Demands Debates, Hits 7-term Honda On “sense Of Entitlement” - Politics Blog
Democrat Ro Khanna is turning up the heat in his Silicon Valley House race against Rep. Mike Honda -- on Wednesday holding a press conference right outside the 7-term Democrat's San Jose offices to...

Low Voter Turnouts: Voter Apathy Or Voter Disgust? :: Fox&hounds
The California Target Book, which I publish, just mailed out to subscribers its updated analyses of the key congressional and state legislative races in California this year.

Dan Walters Daily: Film tax credit is expensive waste
Alexei Koseff @
California's film tax credit is just welfare for the wealthy, Dan says.

Anyone Convicted Of Domestic Violence Can Draw Permanent Gun Ban - Sfgate
Anyone convicted of domestic violence in California will be permanently barred from possessing a gun even if no physical injury was inflicted, a state appeals court has ruled. The decision Tuesday by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno is the first in California since the U.S. Supreme Court in May clarified a 1996 law that extended the federal ban on firearms possession to those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. James applied to be a reserve deputy sheriff in 2008, and when he tried to buy a gun in 2011, he was turned down on the grounds that he had been convicted of domestic violence.