Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 27, 2012
Jerry Brown signs Reagan statue bill, makes point about taxes

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation blessing the construction of a Ronald Reagan statue at the state Capitol, citing his "courage and unique leadership ability" while pointing out that the Republican icon oversaw tax increases - just as Brown would like to do.

"I am proud to sign Assembly Bill 2358 in honor of Ronald Reagan," the Democratic governor wrote in a signing statement. "I served as Secretary of State when he was Governor.

"Even in those days he demonstrated courage and unique leadership ability - even to the point of raising California taxes when he saw they were needed."

Brown is campaigning for a Nov. 6 ballot measure to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners.

Assembly Bill 2358, by Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, authorizes planning for a Reagan statue at the Capitol. The statue honoring the former governor and president is to be built with private funds. The bill found no opposition in the Legislature.

Reagan and Brown have history. Reagan unseated Brown's father, Pat Brown, in the 1966 gubernatorial race.

September 27, 2012
Jerry Brown signs laws to provide free digital college textbooks

Gov. Jerry Brown today signed legislation to give students access to free online textbooks for common undergraduate courses at California's public colleges and universities.

Senate Bills 1052 and 1053, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, call for the establishment of an online library of digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken lower-division courses at the University of California, California State University and state community colleges.

The bills, intended to reduce student costs, were approved on bipartisan votes in the Legislature. Publishing companies that once objected to the bills eventually removed their opposition, and amendments removed a requirement that publishers provide free copies of textbooks in college libraries.

"The current cost of traditional textbooks is so high, some college students are forced to struggle through a required class without the textbook, forced to drop classes or sometimes even drop out of college altogether," Steinberg said in a prepared statement. "There's absolutely no reason a basic biology, statistics or accounting textbook, for example, should cost $200."

The Democratic governor also signed Assembly Bill 970, by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, directing UC and CSU officials to consult students prior to any increase in student fees.

Brown signed the legislation while meeting with college students at the Capitol. Brown's office published this video of the private event:

September 27, 2012
Jerry Brown signs two social media privacy laws

Gov. Jerry Brown signed two measures this morning to block California universities and employers from seeking access to applicants' social media accounts.

"The Golden State is pioneering the social media revolution and these laws will protect all Californians from unwarranted invasions of their personal social media accounts," the Democratic governor said in a prepared statement.

Assembly Bill 1844, by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, prohibits employers from demanding user names or passwords from employees and job applicants.

Senate Bill 1349, by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, prohibits public and private universities from requiring students or prospective students to disclose their user names or passwords.

The legislation comes amid growing questions about the legal and privacy implications of employee and student presences on social media. In a release, Brown's office said SB 1349 "is designed to stop a growing trend of colleges and universities snooping into student social media accounts, particularly those of student athletes."

Brown announced on Twitter that he had signed the legislation.

September 27, 2012
Is San Francisco denser than Los Angeles? It depends

Does the compact San Francisco Bay Area have a denser population than the sprawling Los Angeles Basin?

Most would say San Francisco does, but it turns out, according to a new Census Bureau statistical report, that it depends on how the information from the 2010 census is viewed.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region is higher at 2,646 persons per square mile in terms of what the Census Bureau calls "overall population density." That's the second highest rate in the nation, just slightly less dense than No. 1 New York City and its environs, with the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont region third at 1,754 per square mile.

But when the Census Bureau massages the data a different way to produce "population-weighted density," the San Francisco Bay Area, at 12,144 per square mile, is No. 2 behind New York with the Los Angeles area third at 12,113.

If nothing else, however, the lengthy report confirms that California is simultaneously the nation's most urbanized state and its most prolific agricultural producer, two "firsts" that might seem mutually exclusive.

The report also contains these other nuggets of data pertaining to California:

September 27, 2012
Brice Harris named chancellor of CA community colleges

Brice Harris.JPGBrice Harris, the longtime leader of Sacramento's Los Rios Community College District, has a new job as chancellor of California's statewide community college system.

Scott Himelstein, president of the California Community Colleges board of governors, announced Harris as the system's 15th chancellor this morning. Harris, who retired last month from Los Rios, replaces Jack Scott, who retired earlier this month.

Harris led the four-college Los Rios district, which includes Sacramento City, American River, Cosumnes River and Folsom Lake, for 16 years. In his new role, he will oversee 112 colleges up and down the state that serve 2.4 million students.


Jack Scott to join Claremont University as scholar in residence

BEE EDITORIAL: Brice Harris set the bar high for Los Rios

PHOTO CREDIT: Brice Harris during a 2003 groundbreaking at Folsom Lake College. Bee photo by Randall Benton.

September 27, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: On 'garbage equality' and other euphemisms

VIDEO: Dan talks about California legislators' use of euphemisms to describe their handiwork.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

September 27, 2012
AM Alert: Hundreds of bills remain as signing deadline looms

VIDEO: Dan Walters talks trash and touches on what he calls "weasel words."

Just four days left for Gov. Jerry Brown to wade through the California Legislature's handiwork this session. Hundreds of bills remain, including these controversial proposals:

• Sen. Leland Yee's proposal to let some juvenile murderers seek resentencing to receive 25 years to life (Senate Bill 9).

• Assemblyman Anthony Portantino's measure to ban openly carrying unloaded rifles in public, with some exceptions (Assembly Bill 1527).

• Assemblyman Richard Pan's bill to require require parents to receive information from a health-care provider before exempting their child from immunizations because of their beliefs (Assembly Bill 2109).

Meanwhile, the governor has had his work cut out for him. His actions this week have included signing 14 election-related measures, including one that will allow same-day voter registration once the secretary of state certifies California's new statewide voter database.

Brown also signed 19 education-related measures, including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's bill to de-emphasize standardized test scores when measuring California schools' performance.

Then there were the critter bills (thumbs up on banning the use of dogs while hunting bears and bobcats, and thumbs down on a special designation for bats).

As for what's left, Capitol Alert will be keeping track. Check out our photo gallery of measures to watch as Sunday's deadline approaches.

JAILS: Magnus Lofstrom of the Public Policy Institute of California gives a luncheon talk in Sacramento about how the state's jails have fared since the state shifted many responsibilities for corrections and public safety to the counties. For more information and to register, click here.

LUNGREN-BERA: If you missed the debate Tuesday between Republican Dan Lungren and Democrat Ami Bera in the 7th Congressional District race, replay the video at this link.


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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