Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 30, 2012
Bill to extend filing period for safety officers' death benefits axed

Legislation touted by supporters as a fitting tribute to fallen heroes but ripped by opponents as a costly expansion of public benefits was vetoed Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Assembly Bill 2451 would have doubled the statute of limitations for families of police and firefighters to file for job-related death benefits that can exceed $300,000.

The bill by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez would have allowed families to file for death benefits for up to nine years after the diagnosis of a job-caused illness or injury to a public safety official.

Brown's veto message said that California lacks adequate data to determine how many people would file for benefits under AB 2451 or how much the state would be obligated to pay as a result.

September 30, 2012
Bill demanding water, shade for farmworkers killed by governor

Gov. Jerry Brown killed legislation Sunday that would have made it a crime for farmers not to provide adequate shade and water to their field workers.

Assembly Bill 2676 required that anyone directing or supervising a farmworker ensure continuous access to shade and to enough "suitably cool" water for each employee to drink one quart per hour throughout a work shift.

Violators would have been subject to a six-month jail term and a fine of up to $10,000. If the victim suffered injury, the potential penalty would have escalated to a one-year jail term and a $25,000 fine.

September 30, 2012
Jerry Brown vetoes 'Trust Act' bill targeting immigration holds

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation designed to curtail the deportation of undocumented immmigrants arrested on minor or non-violent offenses.

Assembly Bill 1081 would have prohibited local law enforcement agencies from holding arrestees for federal immigration authorities unless the crime or conviction involved a serious or violent felony.

Known by supporters as the "Trust Act," the measure was touted by its author, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, as a way to save money and police time by limiting use of local jails for immigration enforcement, an obligation of the federal government.

September 30, 2012
New law to allow many undocumented immigrants to drive

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in California will be eligible for driver's licenses under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown late Sunday.

The measure, Assembly Bill 2189, was among the final bills acted upon as Brown decided the fate of 108 proposals on the last day for him to sign or veto measures passed by the Legislature this year.

AB 2189 affects an estimated 400,000 undocumented immigrants expected to meet the requirements of President Barack Obama's new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The bill was the latest proposal in a decade-long campaign by Democratic Assemblyman Gil Cedillo to give undocumented immigrants the right to drive legally in California.

September 30, 2012
Lungren makes Bera's gas tax comments an issue at forum

Rep. Dan Lungren blasted Democratic challenger Ami Bera Sunday afternoon over comments he reportedly made in support of increased gas taxes, accusing his challenger in the 7th Congressional District of pursuing a vision of "tax and spend."

"He wants you to pay more at the pump than you do now, not for infrastructure but for punishing you, because he says as a doctor he knows how that's changed (behavior)," the Gold River Republican said at a forum sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association. "Well I guess the single mom who has to drive her child to soccer ought to be punished for that. They ought to pay higher rates. You see his answer every time is to tax more, tax more, tax more."

Lungren was citing comments Bera reportedly made to more than 7,500 voters during a 2010 telephone town hall conducted by the Democrat's first campaign to unseat the incumbent Republican congressman.

"One idea that certainly is out there is thinking about a gas tax to reduce consumption," Bera said at the time, according to the Elk Grove Citizen. "As a doctor, (I) certainly saw what happened to smoking rates (with cigarette taxes), so that's something that's worth exploring."

September 30, 2012
Celebrity criminals? Jerry Brown kills bill for media interviews

Charles Manson will not be taping any new TV interviews any time soon.

Rejecting the notion of allowing criminals to become celebrities, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation Sunday that would have allowed reporters the right to interview specific state convicts.

"Giving criminals celebrity status through repeated appearances on television will glorify their crimes and hurt victims and their families," Brown wrote in his veto message for Assembly Bill 1270.

California's prison system currently permits the media to conduct random interviews with inmates, but not face-to-face recording sessions with Manson or any other convict that reporters cite by name.

AB 1270, by Democratic Assemblyman of Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, would have required prison staff to seek the consent of inmates before such interviews and to contact victims who desire notification.

"The cost of implementing and monitoring this expansive new level of access should not be imposed at a time when prison budgets are being cut," Brown's veto message said.

"I agree that too little media access may be harmful, but too much can be as well," said Brown, ending his veto message with a five-word kicker: "This bill gives too much."

September 30, 2012
Tax break for California film industry extended by new state law

A $100 million annual tax break for California motion picture companies was extended by newly signed legislation Sunday.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure, Assembly Bill 2026, by Democratic Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes of Sylmar.

The program of tax credits initially was signed into law in 2009 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fuentes' measure would extend the program for two additional years -- from July 2015 to July 2017.

September 30, 2012
Munger not moved by polls showing her tax measure faltering

When state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson asked the optimists in the audience at the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association's annual election forum to raise their hand, civil rights attorney Molly Munger lifted her arm in the air.  

That sunny outlook, it seems, extends to Munger's effort to persuade Californians to approve a $10 billion income tax hike to fund schools and early education programs. The Nov. 6 ballot measure, Proposition 38, continues to make a poor showing in public polls, with a recent survey by the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California finding just 34 percent of voters supporting the proposition.

That level is much lower than the support for Proposition 30, a rival tax measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that has support of a slim majority of voters in the polls.

September 30, 2012
Jerry Brown signs bill requiring signatures for those opting out of vaccinations

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Sunday requiring parents who exclude their children from immunization requirements to submit a signed statement that they received information about risks and benefits of vaccines.

Democratic Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento proposed the measure, Assembly Bill 2109, which requires the statement to be signed by the parents and by a health care practitioner.

In signing the bill, Brown said that he will direct the state Department of Health to provide a way for people whose religious beliefs preclude vaccinations from having to seek a health care practitioner's signature.

September 30, 2012
Jerry Brown signs bill allowing new sentences for young murderers

Juvenile murderers sentenced to life in prison without parole have hope of being released in years to come under legislation signed today by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The measure, Senate Bill 9, would allow some offenders to petition for a resentencing hearing if they were minors when they committed a murder that landed them in a prison cell for life.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, narrowly managed to win legislative approval for the bill this year after shelving it in 2011 because of lawmakers' lack of consensus. Republicans opposed the proposal.

September 30, 2012
Jerry Brown vetoes bill allowing more than two parents

Legislation to allow California children to have more than two parents was vetoed today by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill would have given judges authority to recognize multiple parents if doing so is "required in the best interest of the child."

On separate legislation watched closely by the gay and lesbian community, however, Brown signed Senate Bill 1172 to prohibit children under 18 from undergoing psychotherapy to change their sexual orientation.

State Sen. Mark Leno proposed the multiple-parents measure, SB 1476, in response to surrogate births, same-sex parenthood, assisted reproduction and other technological and societal changes that create new possibilities for nontraditional households.


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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