Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Feeling well rested and ready to start the week after a weekend of watching for a water deal and waiting anxiously to see how your favorite bills emerged from the governor's desk?

We didn't think so.

As expected, the water talks droned on throughout the weekend and more than 700 bills got dealt with by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the final hours leading up to his midnight deadline for acting on end-of-session legislation.

Despite a weekend-long marathon of negotiations, the clock ticked closer to 12 with no deal in sight before the midnight end of the bill signing period. At about 9:30 p.m., Schwarzenegger pulled back from his threat to veto legislation unrelated to water unless leaders "get the job done," saying enough progress was made to a special session on the issue.

"Over the past few days we have made enough progress in our negotiations that I am calling a special session on water. While we still have a few remaining issues to work out, I commend the legislative leaders for their focus and commitment to solving this crisis and I will weigh all the bills on their merits," he said in a statement.

Jim Sanders has the scoop on what went down in today's Bee. Click here for a list of legislation that Schwarzenegger acted on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking of those vetoes (and the threats behind them), Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico has plans to introduce a bill today that would define the governor's threat to veto "a lot" of bills if a water deal wasn't sealed -- and similar actions by legislators -- as extortion.

Torrico wasn't amused by Attorney General Jerry Brown's "doilies and tea" response to requests to weigh in on whether the threats could be considered criminal, so he decided to take clarifying the law into his own hands.

Good luck finding a governor to sign that bill.

It's a good thing Capitol denizens can take the Columbus Day holiday as a brief respite to help lower their blood pressure after a weekend of waiting, watching and nail biting.

Oh wait, they can't.

The annual paid day off was axed for state workers as part of the February budget fix, and the Legislature altered its holiday schedule so it would be in line with the state workers' calendar.

The lost holiday has ignited a showdown between SEIU Local 1000 and the administration, with the union urging members to skip work and take the day as a paid holiday. As The State Worker columnist Jon Ortiz wrote last week, whether members go to work will be a test of how much power the union holds.

As for what's on tap today: the Senate Revenue and Taxation committee is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. for an informational hearing on the tax commission's recommendations.

Have two cents (or more) on the matter?

What should be done to fix California's tax system is up for debate at the SacBee.com reader forum. Click here to join in on the debate, which is moderated by The Bee's Daniel Weintraub.



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