Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 25, 2012
Gov. Brown signs bill to speed payouts by corporate fraud fund

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday designed to cut red tape that has delayed numerous payouts of money set aside in a multimillion-dollar state fund for victims of corporate fraud.

The measure, Senate Bill 1058, was crafted by Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance in response to a story in The Bee last October that said the fund had collected $14.6 million but paid out only $112,496 since its creation in 2002.

Lieu said a key problem in making payouts was that the secretary of state's hands were tied by lengthy, time-consuming regulations requiring victims to produce substantial paperwork and overcome bureaucratic hurdles even after winning a court judgment.

September 25, 2012
Medicare, personal attacks dominate Lungren-Bera debate

There were no shortage of political and personal swipes as Republican Rep. Dan Lungren and Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera took the stage for the first and only scheduled debate of one of the nation's most competitive congressional contests.

The rivals for Sacramento County's 7th Congressional District traded jabs on a variety of issues, including job creation, health care and immigration, during the hourlong debate at the News10 studios in Sacramento.

Some of the most heated exchanges, however, occured during the back-and-forth over both parties' plans for Medicare, the federal health care program for seniors. Both candidates accused the other of backing changes to the program that would lead to reduced access and higher costs for the region's seniors.

September 25, 2012
Live chat replay: Dan Lungren-Ami Bera debate

September 25, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brown signs two-year reprieve for state parks

Gov. Jerry Brown gave California's 278 state parks a two-year reprieve from closure today in the wake of July revelations that parks officials were hiding funds for years.

The governor signed Assembly Bill 1478, which prohibits the state Department of Parks and Recreation from closing a park until July 2014.

The legislation also provides $10 million to match future contributions from donors who help keep parks open, $10 million for operating costs and $10 million in bond funds for park improvements. An additional $500,000 will fund investigations by various agencies into the state parks department.

September 25, 2012
Jerry Brown signs driverless car bill

MOUNTAIN VIEW - Gov. Jerry Brown, describing Google Inc.'s robot cars as "science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality," signed legislation this afternoon allowing driverless cars to be tested on public roads.

"Today we're looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality: the self driving car," the Democratic governor said at a bill signing event at Google's headquarters here.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he could "count on one hand" the number of years it might take before driverless technology becomes widely available.

September 25, 2012
Jerry Brown signs bill easing San Francisco's export of trash

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation ensuring San Francisco can continue to haul trash to Solano County, despite opposition from local voters, Brown's office announced today.

Assembly Bill 845, by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, prohibits local voters from restricting the importation of waste into a privately owned landfill.

The measure follows a 1984 voter-approved initiative in Solano County to limit the amount of waste imported into the county.

Environmentalists and cities argued against Ma's legislation, saying it usurps local authority.

Waste haulers and other supporters of the bill said waste disposal is a matter of statewide concern.

September 25, 2012
Census Bureau report charts ups and downs of California revenues

To those who chart state government finances, tax revenues during the second quarter of each year loom large because income taxes are the largest source of income and they peak as the annual tax return deadline arrives in April.

Just as fourth quarter holiday gift sales can make or break retailers' year, second quarter tax collections tell state budget writers whether will enjoy surpluses or face budget deficits. And a new Census Bureau report shows how California's second quarter revenues have gone up and down in the last decade.

September 25, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Top-two primary could produce revolution

VIDEO: Dan says the top-two primary has altered campaigning throughout the state.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

September 25, 2012
AM Alert: Debate day for congressional candidates Lungren, Bera

DAN WALTERS DAILY: In his daily video, Dan says the top-two primary could revolutionize California politics.

Republican Congressman Dan Lungren and his Democratic challenger Dr. Ami Bera face off this afternoon in their first debate of the 2012 election season, sponsored by The Bee, News10 and Capital Public Radio. The race for the 7th Congressional District - which includes several Sacramento suburbs like Citrus Heights, Carmicahel and Elk Grove - is considered one of the tightest in the country.

You can watch the debate live at 3 p.m. on, featuring questions from Bee Capitol Bureau Chief Dan Smith, News10 Political Editor John Myers and Capital Public Radio senior reporter Marianne Russ, as well as you, our dear readers.

Check the printed paper tomorrow for full coverage. The debate will be re-broadcast tomorrow on News10 and Capital Public Radio.

BILL SIGNING - Gov. Jerry Brown will be at Google HQ in Mountain View today for a bill-signing ceremony. The search engine giant has lobbied on several bills this year, the most high-profile being SB 1298, its effort to clarify rules of the road for driverless cars. Brown's bill signing with Google co-founder Sergey Brin will be streamed live at 1 p.m. at

32 + 33 = 2: If you're studying up on the November ballot initiatives, today provides a two-fer. At 9:30 a.m. the Legislature's joint insurance committee will hold a hearing on Proposition 33, which would allow car insurance companies to charge higher rates to drivers who have had a lapse in coverage. At 10 a.m., the joint elections committee will hold a hearing on Proposition 32, which would prohibit unions from using payroll deduction to pay for political campaigns.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sending birthday wishes to Assemblywoman Connie Conway, R-Tulare, who turns 62 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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