Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

January 25, 2013
Mark Johannessen, son of former senator, to run for Assembly

Mark Johannessen.jpgA Democrat who currently serves as a West Sacramento councilman and is the son of a former state senator has created a campaign committee to run in 2014 for an Assembly seat covering much of Sacramento.

Mark Johannessen's formation of a 7th Assembly District campaign committee does not commit him to run, but he said Friday that he's "in it to win it."

"Now is a good time to start the dialog of reinforcing regionalism," he said.

Johannessen, 56, is an attorney and certified public accountant. His father is Maurice Johannessen, a Redding Republican who served in the Senate from 1993 to 2002.

Johannessen is jockeying to succeed Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, who has created a campaign committee to run for the Senate seat to be vacated by President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg in 2014.

January 25, 2013
Free flu shots offered at the Capitol

Anthem Blue Cross is used to patrolling the halls of the state Capitol, watching out for its interests.

On Monday, Anthem officials will be carrying flu vaccine. The health insurer is offering free flu shots from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in rooms 126 and 127 of the Capitol.

California is experiencing "widespread" flu activity this year, according to the state Department of Public Health.

January 25, 2013
California no longer alone in S&P fiscal ratings basement

California now has company in the Standard & Poor's credit basement.

S&P lowered Illinois' rating to A-minus, the same as California's. But the Midwest state is heading in the opposite direction, as the ratings house added a negative outlook. On the contrary, S&P gave California a positive outlook last year and indicated the state could eventually earn an upgrade if its finances get back on track.

S&P dinged Illinois for ever-growing pension liabilities that are unfunded.

"The downgrade reflects what we view as the state's weakened pension funded ratios and lack of action on reform measures intended to improve funding levels and diminish cost pressures associated with annual contributions," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Robin Prunty in a statement.

Moody's Investors Service dropped Illinois below California last year for similar reasons. A third agency, Fitch Ratings, still ranks California one notch below Illinois but has warned that Illinois could face a downgrade in the next six months.

January 25, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: State of the State hints at Brown's legacy

Don't believe it when Gov. Jerry Brown says he doesn't care about his legacy, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

January 25, 2013
AM Alert: Bay Area lawmaker pushing mountain lion protections

VIDEO: Based on Thursday's State of the State speech, Dan Walters says Gov. Jerry Brown is thinking about his legacy.

Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is introducing legislation today that's designed to prevent employees of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife from killing mountain lions when they wander into areas settled by humans. Hill is announcing the measure at the CuriOdyssey wildlife museum in San Mateo at 10 a.m. Two cubs were shot to death in early December in Half Moon Bay, and its mayor is joining Hill at the presser.

A quick refresher: California has some pretty stringent safeguards against killing mountain lions, with voters approving a ballot measure back in 1990 to prohibit sport hunting of the animals. Bobcats, which are often mistaken for mountain lions, also got some extra protections last session from SB 1221, by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, that prohibits people from using dogs to hunt bobcats and bears.

Down in the south state, Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is holding a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Fiscal Oversight and Bonded Indebtedness today to examine options for using the revenue from newly passed Proposition 39. The hearing will run from 2 to 5 p.m. at San Diego's Perkins Elementary School.

In case you missed our coverage of Brown's State of the State address yesterday, the governor got generally positive responses for promising to carefully steward California's budget stability while giving K-12 schools more flexibility. The reactions to his proposals on high-speed rail and two tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta were more mixed.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones notes in David Siders' story in today's Bee that the speech "managed to quote three philosophers and a children's story -- 'The Little Train That Could' -- and the Bible, too."


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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