Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 – 7:44 am

Things are getting a little crunchy in the state Capitol.

Having taken off Labor Day and planning to observe two of the Jewish high holidays, state legislators have just six business days remaining before the scheduled end of their 2013 session, with hundreds of bills still awaiting action.

The volume is not particularly high, compared with that in past years, but there is an unusually high number of very difficult issues remaining to be resolved – if, indeed, they can be resolved. Thus, the usual end-of-session gamesmanship may be more intense than usual.

The issue with the highest profile is what response California will make to the federal courts’ insistence that the state’s prison population be trimmed by nearly 10,000 more inmates.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who has battled the judges on every point, now wants to lock up more inmates in private and out-of-state prisons and local penal facilities to meet the court order. He has support from local government and law enforcement officials, as well as Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, but many liberal Democrats – including virtually all of the party’s senators – are going another way.

The senators’ support for an alternative strategy of more intensive programs to reduce recidivism, which has the backing of inmates’ lawyers, has made the long-simmering rivalry between Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg very public.

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