Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 17, 2012
Jerry Brown signs bill restricting picketing at funerals

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation restricting protests at military and other funerals, after vetoing a similar bill last year, his office said this afternoon.

Senate Bill 661, by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, prohibits picketing a funeral within 300 feet of a burial or memorial site beginning one hour before a funeral and ending one hour after.

September 17, 2012
New law gives immunity to drug users who seek overdose aid

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation today to provide Californians with limited immunity from prosecution for drug offenses when they seek medical assistance for an overdose by themselves or others.

Assembly Bill 472, by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, is meant to encourage people to call 9-1-1 in a drug emergency, rather than to hesitate for fear of arrest.

The measure will prohibit, in overdose cases, the arrest of a witness who summoned help if that person was under the influence of or possessed a drug for personal use. Immunity also would extend to possession of drug paraphernalia.

AB 472 will not apply to other drug-related offenses, however, including drug sales or driving under the influence.

Most Democrats in the Legislature supported Ammiano's proposal, while most Republicans opposed it. The bill will take effect. Jan. 1.

September 17, 2012
How Tweet it is? Sink-or-swim time for FPPC blogging proposal

Democratic political strategist Steve Maviglio and Republican blogger and state party official Jon Fleischman agree on political matters about as often as most Californians skinny dip with piranhas.

But that sound you hear is the two diving in together, figuratively speaking, against a Fair Political Practices Commission proposal meant to help voters identify campaign funds spent for blogging or social media.

Chairwoman Ann Ravel backed off an initial FPPC plan to require blogging websites to disclose money received from candidates or ballot measures. Her new push is to make such payments easier to identify in existing campaign disclosure documents.

Maviglio and Fleischman argue that the proposal is so broadly worded, however, that it could apply to a campaign aide who posts a single online comment, or to a field worker who tweets about distributing campaign literature on a weekend.

The FPPC plan would have a chilling effect because campaigns would bar aides from posting comments rather than undertake the hassle and expense of tracking and reporting each tweet or Facebook post, the two activists contend.

Nonsense, Ravel counters. Wording can be tightened, if necessary, but the intent is to make disclosure clear when campaigns pay for favorable online coverage - not to slap campaign aides or to discourage use of social media.

"People have a right to know if what they're reading as political support is, in fact, being paid for," Ravel said.

The proposal does not target this year's elections.

FPPC staff will hold a public hearing on the plan Tuesday.

September 17, 2012
Bakersfield hockey team makes light of Stockton's bankruptcy

It's a tale of two cities separated by 234 miles of farmland, political orientation, economic condition - and hockey.

Stockton lies at the northern edge of the San Joaquin Valley and Bakersfield at the southern end. Stockton votes Democratic and Bakersfield is solidly Republican. Stockton was clobbered by the housing bubble's burst, and the city government has filed for bankruptcy while Bakersfield is enjoying the oil boom.

Both cities have minor league hockey teams, the Stockton Thunder and the Bakersfield Condors, which play regularly. The Thunder's city-owned arena, in fact, figures prominently in the city's bankruptcy.

The two teams have a Dec. 27 game scheduled in Bakersfield and the Condors' management, which is known for its wacky promotions, has designated it as "Our City Isn't Bankrupt Night" and plans to hand out phony million-dollar bills and Rolls Royce automobiles.

That's drawn expressions of outrage in Stockton media, as Bakersfield Californian columnist Lois Henry explores in a recent column.

The Condors, however, appear to be enjoying the attention - it is a marketing promotion, after all - and say they may make amends by offering Stockton's much-troubled city employees a discount on tickets to the game.

September 17, 2012
Six candidates file papers for Doug LaMalfa state Senate seat

Republican lawmakers Jim Nielsen and Dan Logue jumped out quickly this month to announce that they will seek Doug LaMalfa's recently vacated Senate seat, but four other competitors have now filed to run.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen is scheduled to complete a check of filing papers and formally announce the field of candidates this evening for the 4th District Senate seat that winds through 12 counties.

The tentative field includes Democrat Mickey Harrington, a Magalia resident and labor council president who ran unsuccessfully for an Assembly seat in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

September 17, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Bill season provides work, opportunity for Jerry Brown

VIDEO: Dan says Gov. Jerry Brown is taking a few shots as he plows through a pile of bills the Legislature left on his desk.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

September 17, 2012
AM Alert: Black Caucus raising money for Richardson campaign

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus are jumping in to a Dem-on-Dem contest in the 44th Congressional Distrct, lending a hand to Rep. Laura Richardson in her bid to defeat Rep. Janice Hahn for the Los Angeles seat.

Tonight, Sen. Curren Price and Assemblymembers Mike Davis, Holly Mitchell and Steve Bradford are scheduled to attend a 5 p.m. reception and fundraiser at the K Street office of the California arm of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Also listed as guests: California NAACP President Alice Huffman, former state Assembly speaker Rep. Karen Bass, and Rep. Maxine Waters. The fight for the Los Angeles seat is one of more than two dozen races statewide where voters will choose between two members of the same party, thanks to the new "top two" primary system.

NEW JOB: GOP political consultant Peter DeMarco has joined Randle Communications as a director. He will represent several of the firm's clients, including the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, Golden State Water Company, and the San Francisco Bar Pilots.

L'SHANA TOVA: Happy new year to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg; Senators Mark Leno, Alan Lowenthal and Lois Wolk; Assemblymembers Marty Block, Robert Blumenfield, Mike Feuer, Linda Halderman, Bonnie Lowenthal and Jeff Miller, and anyone else celebrating Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish new year begins today and lasts through Sept. 26.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sending birthday wishes to Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, who turns 53 today.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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