Archive for the ‘ State Senate ’ Category

Money

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
February 5, 2016 7:17 PM

  • More than $2.5 million in contributions reported in month leading up to Sept. 11 recess
  • Members of Assembly raised almost all of the money
  • Despite Senate rules restricting fundraising, some members took money

California’s campaign finance disclosure calendar means the public only now is getting a look at elected officials’ fundraising and spending during the second half of 2015.

Read the rest of this entry »

Calculator

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
February 5, 2016 2:06 PM

  • Finance reports show lawmakers have $40 million to spend in election year
  • Legislators collectively had about $3.4 million in outstanding debt Dec. 31.
  • Searchable database shows how much each member has

Members of the California Legislature began the election year with more than $40 million cash on hand after raising about $39 million last year, according to campaign reports filed this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 24, 2016 – 9:02 AM

  • Jerry Brown wants to sock away extra billions
  • Democratic legislators want to spend extra billions
  • Governor warns that reserves needed to cushion recession

The single most important factor in writing a new state budget is determining how much money there is to spend.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Democrats nearing a big blowup

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 14, 2016 3:39 PM

  • Internal rivalries bubbling to surface
  • Enviros target moderate Democrats
  • Legislative leaders on the spot

There’s nothing like a family feud to expose jealousies and rivalries that have been percolating for years.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Press-Enterprise: 2016 ELECTION: Which Inland races will be extra-competitive?

Campaigns

Published: Jan. 7, 2016 – Updated: 10:24 p.m.

Most if not all of the elected offices on the 2016 Inland ballot will have a choice between two or more candidates.

But right now, a handful of races for assembly, state senate and congressional seats appear to be more competitive than others. Incumbents tend to have a big advantage because they can raise more money and enjoy greater name recognition than their opponents, and many legislative districts are drawn in a way that favors one party.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

The Press-Enterprise: JEFF STONE: Recall effort against state senator fizzles

Jeff Stone

State Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula.

Published: Jan. 4, 2016 – Updated: 10:01 p.m.

There will be no attempt, at least for now, to recall state Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, following his support of a bill that requires vaccinations for almost all of California’s schoolchildren.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 4, 2016 2:37 PM

  • State getting billions of extra dollars
  • Democrats want to spend financial windfall
  • Gov. Jerry Brown remains reluctant

Halfway through the 2015-16 fiscal year, state finances are continuing to improve with billions of extra revenue dollars.

Ordinarily, that would be good news.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Capitol

Juliet Williams, Associated Press
Sunday, January 3, 2016 – Updated: 10:57 am

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers return to the Capitol Monday facing two of the most vexing problems from last year: a looming $1 billion hole in funding for the state’s health care program for the poor and a $59 billion backlog in road repairs needed over the next decade.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 3, 2016 4:01 PM

  • Democrats lost legislative supermajorities in 2014
  • Party hopes to recover lost seats in 2016
  • However, moderate bloc is more important factor

Democrats won supermajorities – more than two-thirds of the seats – in both houses of the Legislature in 2012.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Elections will top New Year

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
December 31, 2015 – 2:26 PM

  • U.S. Senate race will be top contest
  • California could play presidential role
  • High-dollar ballot measures abound

Since 2016 is a number divisible by 2, this is also an election year, and that biennial fact will dominate – and perhaps distort – California politics in the forthcoming months.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: What happened in California politics in 2015?

California Capitol

Capitol Alert
By Alexei Koseff
akoseff@sacbee.com
December 30, 2015 10:00 PM

No legislators were arrested for corruption, but 2015 was another turbulent year in California politics, full of globetrotting politicians, hours upon hours of emotional testimony at the Capitol, and the state’s first open U.S. Senate race in more than two decades. If you can’t remember it all, we’ve got you covered – from the landmark legislation to the television sitcom appearances.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Jeff Stone’s campaign fined $5,500

Jeff Stone

It’s the third penalty since 2006 for longtime Inland politician Jeff Stone.

Published: Dec. 22, 2015 – 2:58 p.m.

For the third time since 2006, a state agency has fined Jeff Stone’s campaign thousands of dollars for breaking California’s campaign finance rules.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

Kevin de Leon+Jerry Brown+Toni Atkins

California Gov. Jerry Brown, with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, left, and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, in June. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

John Myers
December 11, 2015

In the eyes of Martin Weil, it’s not the hard slog of political deal-making that explains why his 26-year old daughter, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy who is unable to speak, struggles to keep the services she needs.

It’s more like political malpractice.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Democrats are seeing more schisms

Jerry Brown+Toni Atkins

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, faulted by some for not controlling her moderate faction, is being forced out of her seat by term limits but doesn’t want to retire, so she is challenging Sen. Marty Block’s bid for a second term in San Diego. (Rich Pedroncelli The Associated Press)

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
November 8, 2015

  • Dominant parties split into factions
  • More Democrat vs. Democrat duels coming
  • Legislative leaders will face big test

Thirty-six years after it erupted, Capitol old-timers still marvel at the ferocity of a historic Democrat-vs.-Democrat battle for the Assembly speakership.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Stone

State Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula.

Published: Nov. 6, 2015 – Updated: 12:37 p.m.

State Sen. Jeff Stone hopes this holiday season will be especially joyous for his campaign fund.

To read post by Jeff Horseman in The P-E Political Empire Blog, click here.

The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Last hours of session can be odd

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
October 26, 2015

  • Building energy bill changed at last moment
  • Legislators not told before voting
  • Energy Commission reverses itself

Odd things happen during the final hours of any legislative session as hundreds of bills are processed in what one sage accurately termed a “sausage factory.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Half-a-loaf solutions fall short

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
October 25, 2015

  • California has many pending issues
  • Comprehensive approaches difficult
  • Politicians settle for patchwork

Were the El Niño phenomenon to actually generate copious rainstorms in California, it could create a dilemma for homeowners with elderly roofs – patch the leaks or spend big bucks for a new roof.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Highway

Democrats and Republicans alike want to fix California’s dilapidated streets, highways and bridges, but there’s not enough support for the higher taxes that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to pay for it. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Chris Megerian
October 18, 2015

A little more than a year ago, Gov. Jerry Brown was touting an outbreak of bipartisanship in the Capitol. Lawmakers from both parties backed crucial deals on water and state finances — “a high point in our work together,” the governor said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Roth
State Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside)

Published: Oct. 14, 2015 – Updated: 4:23 p.m.

It’s understandable if Sen. Richard Roth feels the cold shoulder these days from Gov. Jerry Brown.

In recent weeks, the governor has vetoed three bills authored by, and important to, the Riverside Democrat. One would have restored vehicle license fees to four Riverside County cities, another would have provided money for more Inland judges and the third would have given small businesses tax credits to enhance their access for disabled customers.

To read post by Jeff Horseman in The P-E Political Empire Blog, click here.

The Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown veto overrides seem off the table

Jerry Brown

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
October 13, 2015

  • Democratic governor considered 941 bills this year, vetoing 133
  • More than 100 of those vetoed passed both houses with two-thirds vote or better
  • Lawmakers reluctant to override fellow Democrat

More than 100 of the 133 bills Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed this year cleared the Legislature with bipartisan super-majority support. That also happens to be the threshold needed for a gubernatorial veto override, should lawmakers so desire.

They probably don’t.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gov. Jerry Brown signs one of the hundreds of bills he has left to deal with as Garciela Castillo-Krings, right, his deputy legislative secretary, looks on Friday at his Capitol office in Sacramento. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Gov. Jerry Brown signs one of the hundreds of bills he has left to deal with as Garciela Castillo-Krings, right, his deputy legislative secretary, looks on Friday at his Capitol office in Sacramento. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

By Jessica Calefati
jcalefati@bayareanewsgroup.com
Posted: 10/12/2015 06:02:18 AM PDT
Updated: 10/12/2015 06:03:01 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown often quotes erudite authors and ancient texts to help explain his thinking. But in a raft of vetoes issued ahead of Sunday’s midnight deadline to act on legislation, his message came through loud and clear — Legislature, you messed up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Carbon Tax

Illustration of global seesaw with large and small industrial polluters on either end balancing it out with transfers of cash for carbon credits. (Parra MCT)

.

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
October 11, 2015

  • Legislature adjourned without acting on billions in cap-and-trade funds
  • There’s no agreement on how to spend carbon-auction proceeds
  • Meanwhile, the auction program faces a lawsuit challenge

One of the chores the Legislature left undone when it adjourned was spending billions of dollars from auctioning carbon dioxide emission credits.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown vetoes tax credit bills, warns of budget cuts

Warning

Capitol Alert
By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
October 10, 2015

  • California governor cites failure of Legislature to approve healthcare tax he wanted

Gov. Jerry Brown, warning of a “precariously balanced” state budget and the prospect of more than $1 billion in spending cuts next year, on Saturday vetoed a slate of bills to create new tax credits or expand existing ones.

Read the rest of this entry »

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
jmiller@sacbee.com
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.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Capitol

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
September 25, 2015

  • Voting records show some lawmakers missed hundreds of votes
  • Democrats David Chiu and Jerry Hill had most aye votes

Lawmakers miss votes for multiple reasons.

Sometimes they are not present because of illness or have been excused from session for legislative or personal business, such as campaign meetings. Sometimes lawmakers are present yet still don’t vote.

Read the rest of this entry »

Doomed

By Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason
September 12, 2015

One of Gov. Jerry Brown’s most ambitious environmental goals was hanging in the balance when two powerful California lawmakers met for dinner near the Capitol.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
September 12, 2015

  • Gov. Brown wanted new carbon emission curbs
  • Resistance to auto fuel cuts forced him to back down
  • Republicans blocked governor’s tax increases

As the final fortnight of the 2015 legislative session began, Capitol handicappers were predicting a concluding cascade of landmark legislation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Brown

By Juliet Williams
Associated Press
Sep 12, 2015 – 1:32 PM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown has grown accustomed to reveling in political victories since his return to the state capital in 2011, his national luster restored by shoring up the state’s finances and the spotlight on his agenda to cut carbon emissions.

Read the rest of this entry »

The San Diego Union Tribune: CPUC reform bills sent to governor

Jeff McDonald

By Jeff McDonald |
Sept. 11, 2015 – 6:01 p.m.

  • Measures rein in private meetings, establish inspector general

Four bills aimed at reforming the California Public Utilities Commission passed the state Legislature on Friday and are headed to the Governor’s Office for consideration.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Lobbyists

Lobbyists huddle outside the chambers of the California State Senate as they wait to talk to lawmakers about various bills before the Legislature on Thursday. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
September 11, 2015

  • Final days of session were busy for legislative advocates
  • As of June 30, almost 1,800 lobbyists were registered with state
  • Men continue to make up 60 percent of registered lobbyists

Sometime early this morning, weary lawmakers will trudge out of the Capitol following a final rush of votes for the year.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Union-Democrat (AP): Lawmakers reach 11th-hour deal to regulate medical marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Lisa Leff
Associated Press
Sep 11, 2015 – 5:08 AM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers were expected to vote Friday on a proposal to create the first regulatory framework for the state’s thriving but unruly medical marijuana industry after lawmakers reached an 11th-hour compromise on a trio of marijuana bills.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown, center, listens Wednesday to Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, left, and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins as they announce they will abandon efforts this year to require a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 2030.

Capitol Alert
By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
September 10, 2015

  • Governor says controversy gets more coverage for climate change
  • Brown also credits loss with increasing his ‘zeal’
  • Dropping petroleum reduction mandate a major win for oil companies

Gov. Jerry Brown gets his way with the California Legislature so often that his defeat on major climate and transportation initiatives this week put him in an unusual defensive spot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilda Solis

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis speaks during a board hearing in June. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

By Patrick McGreevy
September 10, 2015

The Senate on Thursday failed to muster the two-thirds vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot requiring large California counties, including Los Angeles, to expand their five-member boards of supervisors to at least seven members.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Final rush of legislating follows Labor Day events

California Capitol

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
September 7, 2015

  • Several Sacramento-area Democratic lawmakers attend labor council picnic Monday
  • State Sen. Richard Pan says his tobacco tax measure has a chance
  • Hundreds of bills eligible for floor votes in Democrat-controlled Legislature before deadline

Lawmakers soaked up the sun and applause at Labor Day picnics around California on Monday, a respite of friendly crowds before a final rush of legislating that begins Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

IE Business Daily: California Government: More taxes on a shrinking Middle Class

California Taxes

IE Business Daily

September 5, 2015

In July of this year the State of California passed a total budget of $167 Billion including general fund, special funds, and bond fund expenditures. This is an all-time record funded primarily by increased revenue created by higher taxes on all Californians as well as improved revenues from wealthy taxpayers whose income actually increased.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Brown
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office asked that SB172 provide an Exit Exam exemption for all students, regardless of when their class graduated. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press
(Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press)

By Melody Gutierrez
Updated: September 4, 2015 – 8:38pm

SACRAMENTO — Thousands of students who failed the California High School Exit Exam since its 2006 debut would be eligible to receive their diplomas — if they meet all other graduation requirements — under last-minute changes Gov. Jerry Brown requested to a bill the state Legislature is considering.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lou Desmond

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 – 05:00 p.m.

The Lou Desmond and Company Show is broadcasting from the Toyota of San Bernardino Recording Studios!

On the show today, Lou is joined by Katy Grimes, investigative journalist with the FlashReport. They discuss several topics pertaining to the California State Legislature, which is wrapping up business for the year. They passed a bill that promises to close the pay gap. What will it do to businesses?

Read the rest of this entry »

Taxes

Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com
August 31, 2015

  • GOP lawmakers last supported a tax deal in 2009
  • Gas, cigarette taxes on the table this year
  • ‘Shaming’ and recall threats are part of anti-tax arsenal

Jon Fleischman, the conservative activist, blogger and political consultant with the ear of many at the Capitol, was giving another interview to a right-leaning talk radio show one recent afternoon when he was asked about the possibility of Republican lawmakers supporting a tax increase.

Read the rest of this entry »

InlandPolitics: California Democrats want more tax money

Taxes

Saturday, August 22, 2015 – 10:00 a.m.

Democrats in the California Legislature want to pick your pockets again!

Read the rest of this entry »

Cheryl Brown

Cheryl Brown represents California’s 47th State Assembly district and is seeking reelection in the June primary elections. (Courtesy photo)

By Beau Yarbrough and Ryan Hagen, The Sun
and Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 08/19/15, 12:57 PM PDT |

California’s legislators returned to work in Sacramento on Monday, poised for the battle to get their legislation approved before the 2015-16 session ends on Sept. 11.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
August 17, 2015

  • Roadwork, Medi-Cal and carbon fees big issues
  • Taxes for transportation and health care need GOP votes
  • Republicans, pressured by anti-tax groups, are leery

The Legislature reconvened Monday after a monthlong summer recess and immediately focused on what most members like best: spending money.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pothole

A backlog of highway repairs is just one of the funding challenges that have state lawmakers looking for new revenue sources. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

By Chris Megerian and Patrick McGreevy
August 15, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers will start tackling some of the state’s toughest challenges this week, and the solution to many of them may be new taxes and fees for Californians.

Read the rest of this entry »

Money

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
July 29, 2015

  • Nonprofits, schools, businesses received donations during first half of year
  • San Diego’s Maritime Museum, Oakland Military Institute among top recipients
  • Businesses, unions, government agencies top sources

California lawmakers and other state officials arranged for donors, many with business at the Capitol, to contribute $28 million to nonprofit organizations, local museums and other favored causes during the first half of the year, according to the most recent filings with the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: California’s gas tax drops to fourth highest in U.S.

Gas Prices

Lydia Holland replaces the gas nozzle after filling up at a Sacramento gas station in 2014. The Tax Foundation says in a new report that California’s gas tax, which recently dropped by 6 cents a gallon, is now the nation’s fourth highest. | Rich Pedroncelli AP

Capitol Alert
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
July 24, 2015

  • Pennsylvania has nation’s highest gas tax
  • California would have been No. 2 without recent cut
  • Alaska has the lowest tax on auto fuel

Both Congress and the California Legislature are noodling over whether to raise fuel taxes to pour more money into highway projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lou Desmond

Thursday, July 23, 215 – 5:00 p.m.

The Lou Desmond and Company Show is coming to you from the Toyota of San Bernardino Recording Studios!

Tonight on the show, Ed Hoffman joins us to talk about The Boot Campaign, which he is holding a fundraiser for this weekend. Then, Ralph Rossum joins the show to talk about the young man exposing Planned Parenthood. He is a former student of Ralph’s, and is making big news.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bob Huff

Sen. Bob Huff says Republicans in the California Legislature are open to raising motorist fees to pay for road repair and construction. But GOP lawmakers will demand reforms in exchange.

Allen Young, Staff Writer
Sacramento Business Journal
Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 – 1:48pm PDT
Updated Jul 22, 2015, 3:58pm PDT

When the California Legislature reconvenes next month for a special session on road funding, Republicans will be in the front seat — because Democrats need GOP support to impose new taxes or fees.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
July 21, 2015

  • Democrats won legislative supermajorities in 2012
  • However, they vanished in subsequent elections
  • Big legislative duels now Democrat vs. Democrat

Three years ago, in new districts drawn by an independent commission, Democrats won – barely – two-thirds supermajorities in both legislative houses.

Read the rest of this entry »

San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors would grow to seven members under Senate Constitutional Amendment 8.

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 07/20/15 – 1:10 PM PDT |

Proposed legislation that would require San Bernardino County and other California counties with populations of 2 million or more to increase their number of elected supervisors from five to seven is gaining momentum in the state Legislature.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
July 20, 2015

  • Labor biggest donor to legislative campaigns
  • Dozens of union-backed bills await final action
  • One major measure would enhance contract secrecy

Only a sixth of California’s wage earners are members of labor unions, but they carry a very big stick in politics.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: How much is California really spending?

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
July 19, 2015

  • Media reports on budget’s size vary widely
  • Their numbers are correct up to a point
  • Official numbers far less than total spending

It’s time again for some more fun with numbers – big numbers.

They’re the numbers associated with the 2015-16 state budget, which the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown enacted last month.

Read the rest of this entry »

METRO

By Daniel Borenstein, Staff Columnist
Posted: 07/17/2015 – 04:00:00 PM PDT

Organized labor has lined up behind legislation purporting to promote government contract transparency. It’s a sham.

Read the rest of this entry »

Money

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
July 17, 2015

  • Various campaign committees collected about $102 million in 2013-14
  • Labor unions were top category of giver, mainly to Democrats
  • Fundraising filings for the first half of 2015 are due July 31

California’s 120 lawmakers reflect a variety of life experiences, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and types of districts they represent. There also are differences in where they raise their campaign money.

Read the rest of this entry »

InlandPolitics: Time for California legislators to give up free gas cards

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Friday, July 17, 2015 – 10:00 a.m.

California legislators apparently could give a gee-whiz about the sky-high gasoline prices sucking millions out of their constituents pockets.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Tax increases back on California’s agenda

Taxes

Capitol Alert
By David Siders and Jim Miller
dsiders@sacbee.com
July 9, 2015

  • Jerry Brown, Democratic lawmakers seek funding for roads, health care
  • Billions of dollars in unfunded maintenance plagues California roadways
  • Health funding more politically difficult than roads, but both efforts uncertain

Inheriting a budget deficit when he took office in 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown tried for months – and failed – to reach agreement with Republicans to put a tax measure on the ballot. He finally bypassed the Legislature and went directly to voters himself.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Opinion: Road deal won’t be easy ride for California

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
July 6, 2015

  • California’s highways are in bad shape
  • State wants $6 billion more a year to fix them
  • Can two differing approaches be melded?

The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown have passed a new state budget, and that’s that, right?

Not on your sweet bippy, to channel comedian Dick Martin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Reform

AP California News
By Femit Nirappil and Judy Lin
Associated Press
June 29, 2015 – 2:37 PM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Legislature is holding two special sessions this summer to tackle long-vexing funding shortfalls in the state’s transportation and health care programs. But talk of targeted tax increases has prompted political hand-wringing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 25, 2015

  • Budget trailer bill gives drivers a break
  • Amnesty, however, doesn’t go far enough
  • Overhaul of traffic fines should be next

Capitol politicians are patting themselves on the back for opening an escape hatch for millions of motorists whose licenses have been suspended for failure to pay past-due tickets.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: California legislative budget to increase by 4.55 percent

Money

Capitol Alert
June 22, 2015
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com

  • Senate officials say extra money helps solve upper house’s budget problems
  • Assembly’s increase is the largest since before recession

California’s legislative branch will be among the beneficiaries of the $115.4 billion general fund spending plan on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, with both houses receiving funding increases nearly 10 times last year’s rate.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: This time for real: Legislature passes (another) budget

State Capitol

Capitol Alert
By David Siders and Jeremy B. White
dsiders@sacbee.com
June 19, 2015

Three days after Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders reached agreement on a $115.4 billion general fund state spending plan, lawmakers in both houses on Friday ratified the deal.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Lawmakers send Jerry Brown incomplete budget

California Capitol

Capitol Alert
By David Siders and Jeremy B. White
dsiders@sacbee.com
June 15, 2015

  • Vote meets deadline, ensuring lawmakers continue to be paid
  • Spending plan comes despite ongoing negotiations with governor
  • Republican lawmaker: ‘It’s the legislative paycheck protection act’

The budget California state lawmakers passed Monday did not reflect a deal with Gov. Jerry Brown and, for that reason, has almost no hope of being enacted.

Negotiations are ongoing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown Jr. is joined by, from left to right, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, as they head to a press conference at the state Capitol. | Randy Pench rpench@sacbee.com

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 15, 2015

  • Budget passage meets constitutional deadline
  • Actions set stage for negotiations with Gov. Brown
  • Legislature’s leaders can blame governor for blocking their programs

Some years ago, a state senator publicly accused a colleague of uttering “mindless blather.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Los Angeles Times: State lawmakers set to approve budget with increased spending

Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown

By Chris Megerian
June 14, 2015

The Legislature is expected to approve a budget Monday that bets on California’s economy to continue growing and sets the stage for higher state spending in coming years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 13, 2015

  • Anthropologist would find Legislature fascinating
  • Its two houses have distinct cultures
  • Senate now the bastion of bad behavior

Anthropologists probe the evolution of primitive societies, which makes the Capitol a perfect laboratory.

Read the rest of this entry »

Debra J. Saunders

By Debra J. Saunders
Friday, June 12, 2015 – Updated 3:08 pm

“There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally,” President Obama proclaimed in a 2009 speech to Congress. It was a memorable event in part because Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouted, “You lie.” Editorial-page umbrage followed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Proposition 13

By Phil Willon
June 10, 2015

Saying a major “loophole” allows some business to unfairly avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes, two Democratic state senators on Wednesday filed a proposed constitutional amendment to revise Proposition 13, the landmark property tax initiative approved by California voters in 1978.

Read the rest of this entry »

Los Angeles Times: California state senators to propose overhaul of Prop. 13

California Taxes

California Sens. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), left, and Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) want offices and factories to be regularly reassessed for property taxes.

By Chris Megerian
June 10, 2015

SACRAMENTO — Two Democratic state senators plan to introduce legislation Wednesday to overhaul Proposition 13, the state’s landmark restrictions on property taxes, so local governments can raise more revenue from commercial and industrial properties.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 9, 2015

  • State Chamber of Commerce fights with four liberal groups
  • Most of its targeted bills fall by wayside
  • Top-two primary system helps business win

The Capitol’s longest-running conflict pits business against four liberal groups – labor unions, consumer advocates, personal injury attorneys and environmentalists.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Opinion: Sunshine’s not bright in California’s Capitol

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 8, 2015

  • Legislature supports ‘sunshine laws’ for others
  • However, it exempts itself from those laws
  • Mild reform is shelved without vote

California legislators are steadfast champions of transparency in government – until it comes to themselves.

Read the rest of this entry »

california_state_senate

By Matthias Gafni
mgafni@bayareanewsgroup.com
Posted: 06/05/2015 03:24:52 PM PDT
Updated: 06/05/2015 04:05:25 PM PDT

SACRAMENTO — The leader of the state Senate announced Friday that his legislative body will not appeal a Sacramento Superior Court judge’s order to turn over key calendar information for two suspended senators, saying he supports the ruling on a lawsuit filed by Bay Area News Group, publisher of this newspaper, and Los Angeles News Group.

Read the rest of this entry »

KPCC: Anti-poverty bills may pile up on Governor Brown’s desk

Gov. Jerry Brown

Governor Jerry Brown has faced criticism he’s not doing enough for California’s poor. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Rina Palta
June 04, 05:47 PM

As legislative deadlines near, a handfuls of bills aimed at aiding the poor are advancing through the state legislature this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cell phones

The California Senate has approved a measure requiring a warrant or wiretap order to search a person’s smartphone or tablet.

By Patrick McGreevy
June 3, 2015

The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would require law enforcement in California to obtain a search warrant or wiretap order before searching a person’s smartphone, laptop or other electronic device or accessing information stored on remote servers.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Opinion: An illusion of action in California’s Capitol

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 2, 2015

  • Capitol and its grounds are abuzz with activity this week
  • But Legislature’s appearances can be deceiving
  • It’s just practice for the real business ahead

Anyone who wandered into the state Capitol this week might conclude that important business was being done.

Read the rest of this entry »

Minimum-Wage

By Patrick McGreevy
June 1, 2015

The state Senate on Monday passed a bill that would raise California’s $9 minimum wage to $11 an hour on Jan. 1 and boost it again to $13 in 2017.

Read the rest of this entry »

U-T San Diego: Report: Officials masked big pension hike

Pensions

Pension debts are sky-high, but little interest at the Capitol

By Steven Greenhut
May 27, 2015 – 3:10 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true,” wrote the 19th century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. It must be an enduring trait of mankind and especially of politicians, who often fool themselves (and the public) about major problems.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Capitol

By Jessica Calefati, Bay Area News Group
Posted: 05/26/15 – 9:04 PM PDT |

SACRAMENTO ­>> With less than a month to go until the deadline to pass a new state budget, Democratic legislative leaders on Tuesday released dueling spending plans that are oddly far apart on key issues such as child care and higher education.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sacramento Bee: Opinion: Misdirection on California budget bills is disgraceful

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
May 25, 2015

  • State budget is entering its final phase
  • As issues are ironed out, ‘trailer bills’ are written
  • But trailers are misused for non-budget issues

The annual state budget cycle is approaching the latter stages, when Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators chew through their remaining differences and, presumably, reach agreement.

Read the rest of this entry »

tax

By Jessica Calefati
jcalefati@bayareanewsgroup.com
Posted: 05/24/2015 – 06:13:21 AM PDT
Updated: 05/25/2015 07:14:59 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO — Since taking office in 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown has helped to resolve some of California’s toughest fiscal challenges — mainly huge structural deficits and old, forgotten debts.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Lobbying 2015-Q1

Capitol Alert
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
May 22, 2015
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com

Local governments, businesses, unions and other special interests reported spending more than $48.5 million on direct state lobbying expenses from January through March, according to first-quarter reports filed earlier this month.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Calderon corruption trial pushed back more than six months

U.S. ordered to answer Calderon's complaint

Former state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on June 10, 2013. | Manny Crisostomo The Sacramento Bee file

Capitol Alert
May 19, 2015
By Alexei Koseff
akoseff@sacbee.com

Former state Sen. Ron Calderon’s corruption trial has been postponed for a third time. It is now scheduled to begin on March 1, 2016, a delay of nearly seven months.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Money

New revenue estimate shows likely fault line over spending in budget battle between governor and lawmakers

By Chris Megerian
May 19, 2015

The battle lines in the annual tug-of-war over the state budget became clear on Monday evening, when legislative analysts said there would be $1.1 billion more revenue available for discretionary spending than Gov. Jerry Brown has estimated.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lobbyist

Hospitals and the oil industry topped payments for lobbying. Total reflects payments to in-house lobbyists and outside firms.

Capitol Alert
May 12, 2015
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com

Local governments, businesses, unions and other special interests reported spending more than $48.5 million on direct state lobbying expenses from January through March, according to first-quarter reports filed earlier this month.

Read the rest of this entry »

Water

Lawmakers received an update Tuesday on the drought, which “is going to change California,” said the director of the Department of Water Resources. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

By Matt Stevens
May 12, 2015

With Californians increasing efforts to deal with the drought, lawmakers got an update Tuesday on exactly how bad things are and heard little to cheer them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Brown

Those given pay raises by a state panel Monday include California Gov. Jerry Brown, pictured on May 6, and other state legislators and elected officials. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

By Patrick McGreevy contact the reporter
May 11, 2015

SACRAMENTO — A state panel appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown voted Monday to give the governor, state legislators and many other officials a 3% pay raise, saying it would make their salaries more competitive with leaders elsewhere.

The increases will take effect Dec. 7.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gas Prices

California senators have sent a series of questions to oil industry executives.The inquiries come amid concerns about whether the market is competitive.

Capitol Alert
May 8, 2015
By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com

California senators investigating the recent surge in gas prices are escalating pressure on oil industry executives.

Read the rest of this entry »

grand_jury

By Melanie Mason
May 7, 2015

The state Senate on Thursday approved a measure that would prohibit grand juries from weighing in on cases of deadly shootings or excessive force by police.

Read the rest of this entry »