Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 7, 2012
Supreme Court to hear DOMA and Prop. 8 gay marriage cases

Prop8.JPGThe Supreme Court on Friday kept alive a legal challenge to gay marriage in California, by agreeing to review the state's ballot measure that banned same-sex marriages after thousands had already been performed.

In an ambitious move that stunned some legal observers, justices agreed to second-guess a lower court's decision striking down California's Proposition 8. The move means the high court, dominated by conservatives, could put the Proposition 8 gay marriage ban back into effect.

Simultaneously, justices also agreed to consider challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks gay married couples from receiving a host of federal benefits.

December 7, 2012
California revenue lags due to Facebook, corporate refunds

ha_jchiang48627.JPGCalifornia missed its November revenue target by $806.8 million, or 10.8 percent, after a bad projection about tax proceeds from Facebook insiders and an unexpectedly high amount of corporate refunds, the State Controller's Office said Friday.

State budget writers assumed that Facebook insiders would sell a large batch of stock in November at $35 per share, resulting in a tax windfall for the state. But those insiders executed their transactions a month early, state officials say, resulting in more money than expected in October but far less in November. Not only that, but until late November, Facebook shares had been trading below $25 per share.

Those factors contributed to California missing its November personal income tax target by $842.5 million, or 19.0 percent. By comparison, the state exceeded its October target by $378.4 million.

December 7, 2012
Ken Cooley joins seven NorCal legislators in nixing per diem

20121203_HA_ASSEMBLY_Ken_Cooley.JPGNewly elected Sacramento County Assemblyman Ken Cooley has joined six other capital-area legislators in rejecting the $142 per day in living expenses that lawmakers are entitled to while the Legislature is in session.

The decision will cost Cooley and each of the other local legislators between $25,000 and $30,000 for the upcoming year, based on the number of days that per diem was paid in 2012, records show.

Three other Sacramento-area assembly members who rejected per diem in 2012 have submitted letters to the Assembly asking to do the same for 2013: Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento; Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin; and Mariko Yamada, D-Davis.

Late Friday, the Assembly added another name to the list of those turning thumbs down to per diem for the coming legislative session: Freshman Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton.

Newly re-elected Assemblyman Richard Pan opted to begin accepting per diem last January after obtaining a second residence, in the Pocket area, to run for a newly drawn Assembly seat that had no incumbent. He has not rescinded last year's request to accept the $142 per day compensation, records show.

December 7, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: GOP no longer ignoring Jim Brulte's advice

Dan says that California Republican Party officials ignored former legislator Jim Brulte's advice years ago, but now they're tapping him to help reverse the party's decline in the Golden State.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

December 7, 2012
AM Alert: Assembly Republicans form diversity outreach team

VIDEO: Dan Walters says the California Republican Party ignored former Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte's advice years ago, but given the November election results, its officials are tapping him now.

California Republicans in the Assembly looking to revive their party have a new team on their side.

Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway on Thursday announced a new "Diversity Outreach Team" made up of government staff members. A news release says the group will focus on "helping strengthen Republican ties with women, ethnic communities and young people."

"We know that most Californians share our common-sense ideas, but we need to do a better job communicating that message," Conway said in a statement. "To become the majority party again, we must not only talk to diverse communities but also listen and that's what our Diversity Outreach Team is all about."

Conway spokeswoman Sabrina Demayo Lockhart (whose Twitter account is at this link) will head the team:

Ivette Barajas, the Spanish-language press secretary for the Assembly Republicans, will oversee outreach to Latinos. (She's on Twitter here.)

Ronald Ongtoaboc, a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Capitol Association and a communications consultant for the Assembly Republican Caucus Office of Member Support and Outreach, will focus on outreach to Asian Americans.

Roleeda Statham, the community outreach consultant for that caucus office, will focus on outreach to African Americans.

Michele Kane, now the caucus office's deputy director for news videos, will focus on outreach to women. (Her Twitter account is here.)

John Bockweg, a UC Davis junior and a student intern with that caucus office, will focus on outreach to young voters.

Today in Sacramento, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg speak today at services for Mort Friedman, the philanthropist who died Wednesday at age 80. The funeral starts at 11 a.m. in the Friedman-Lichter Sanctuary of Mosaic Law Congregation, 2300 Sierra Blvd. Click here to read more about Friedman's life and his impact on Sacramento culture.

HOLIDAY MUSIC: Today's lineup in the Capitol rotunda includes the Broadway-style group High Voltage at 11 a.m., the Cosumnes River College Chamber Choir at noon, and the Golden State Accordion Club at 1 p.m. Click here for information about this weekend's schedule.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, celebrates his 61st birthday 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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