Attorney General Kamala Harris, discusses the homeowners protection legislation package she supported during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., July 2, 2012. Lawmakers approved the bills that were sent to the governor. Also seen from left, are Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, right. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press / SF
Wyatt Buchanan and Marisa Lagos
Updated 09:36 p.m., Friday, July 6, 2012
While lawmakers this week acted on two major issues – passing protections for homeowners and authorizing the issuance of the high-speed rail bonds – they were unable to tackle what many observers see as an issue that could roil the November elections: the growing cost of public employee pensions.
Legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown want to do something significant on the issue, especially before the November election, when they will be pushing hard for voters to support Brown’s tax-raising initiative. But before that happens, Democrats and the governor will have to come to an agreement.
That certainly didn’t pan out this week.
Brown issued a 12-point plan in October to change pension rules, dealing with a host of issues like spiking and double-dipping that has raised the ire of the public. Democrats in the Legislature responded with a counterproposal last weekend and the chatter started around the Capitol that an agreement was near.
But on Tuesday, Gil Duran, the governor’s spokesman, released this statement: “The governor could not agree to some of the changes in the pension counterproposal shared by the Legislature on Sunday. These complex issues cannot be resolved in two days and he has asked the Legislature to continue to work with him over the recess to resolve the substantial differences.”
Translation: We aren’t likely to see anything made public until at least August.
Democrats hustled to counter the notion that there were “substantial differences.” State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, characterized the holdup as “several issues of sufficient complexity that need more time to get right.”
Whether they can bridge the divide over the next month could have major implications.
To live or die: A controversial bill that would prohibit using dogs to hunt bears and bobcats in California passed a key Assembly committee this week, after earlier stalling because some committee members hadn’t shown up.
With SB1221, Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County) wants to ban the practice of using dog packs to chase bears and bobcats into trees, where hunters can then walk up and easily kill the exhausted predators. Hunters oppose the measure, arguing that the state’s bobcat and bear populations need to be controlled.
Tell me about your past: Across the rotunda, a Senate policy committee wasn’t so keen on a measure that would have prohibited cities, counties and other local public employers from asking about a person’s criminal background when they first apply for a job.
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