Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a gathering of political, business and community leaders at the annual California Chamber of Commerce Host Breakfast in Sacramento in May. Brown signed several political ethics bills Saturday but vetoed another. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
October 10, 2015

  • Innocuously named groups currently do not reveal donors
  • Brown vetoed measure to require more information on lawmakers’ financial disclosures
  • As a candidate in 1974, governor championed Political Reform Act

Gov. Jerry Brown, offering a mixed reaction to legislative proposals to change the political-ethics law he helped pass 40 years ago, signed a bill Saturday to require nonprofit groups that pay for lawmaker travel to disclose their donors.

But the Democrat vetoed a measure that would have updated the business, income and other information that politicians have to reveal on annual financial disclosures filed with the state. In a veto message for Assembly Bill 10, Brown said the state Political Reform Act’s existing disclosure rules already adequately prevent conflicts of interest.

Vetoed by Brown. SB 249 (Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego): Creates an enhanced driver’s license which can be used at border crossings as proof of both identity and citizenship. Analysis: SB 249 is supported by cities and chambers of commerce along the California-Mexico border that would like to speed up long wait times, but civil liberties groups are worried that microchips embedded in the licenses, containing personal identifying information and readable from up to 30 feet away, would be susceptible to be tampering and could be used for racial profiling.

SB 27 (Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo): Restricts the use of antibiotics in livestock unless prescribed by a veterinarian to treat a disease or infection. Analysis: Critics point to evidence that the agriculture industry has overused antibiotics to help animals bulk up more quickly with less food, leading to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Brown vetoed a similar bill last year because it formalized a voluntary federal guideline that he said most major animal producers had already pledged to comply with.

AB 787 (Roger Hernández, D-West Covina): Prohibits charter schools from operating as, or being operated by, for-profit corporations. Analysis: Sponsored by organized labor, AB 787 represents the latest skirmish in a long-running feud between teacher unions, which argue that for-profit schools prioritize shareholders over students, and the charter providers and other education groups that want to overhaul their job protections. Brown tends to side with the teachers, but he is also a charter-school advocate who started two while mayor of Oakland.

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