Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

February 15, 2013
New bill would bar California from honoring indefinite detention law

Tim Donnelly.jpgEnforce the law, go to jail?

A Republican assemblyman wants to make it a crime in California to enforce a federal law that allows terror suspects to be detained indefinitely, even when no charges have been filed.

Assembly Bill 351 by Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks would allow federal or state officials to be charged with a misdemeanor if they enforce the federal detention law in California.

Assembly Bill 351 must pass by a two-thirds margin in each house of the Legislature to reach Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. The supermajority requirement poses a major obstacle for a GOP lawmaker in a Democrat-dominated Legislature.

February 15, 2013
Matsui calls for investigation of Carnival Triumph incident

Disabled Cruise Ship.jpgU.S. Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento called on her colleagues in Congress Friday to investigate an engine fire on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship, which left 4,000 passengers and crew members stranded at sea in squalid conditions for four days.

The crippled ship was towed into the port of Mobile, Ala., late Thursday, and weary passengers were taken to hotels in New Orleans.

In a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Matsui cited safety concerns for the passengers, who lacked access to food and working toilets after the ship lost power and some rooms flooded.

"The cruise industry forcefully defends itself as being a provider of safe, luxurious vacations. Yet the experience on board the Triumph was anything but," Matsui wrote. "We owe it to the people who lived through this nightmare a swift and thorough investigation into what went wrong and why."

February 15, 2013
Jerry Brown upheld 80% of parole recommendations in 2012

California Budget Brown.jpgGov. Jerry Brown continued last year to use his power to block decisions of the state parole board relatively sparingly, letting about 80 percent of convicted killers' parole releases stand.

Brown reversed 91 of 470 parole grants in 2012 and returned two cases to the state Board of Parole Hearings for reconsideration, according to a report to the Legislature released today.

Brown's record in 2012 is similar to the first year of his term, when he let stand roughly 82 percent of parole board decisions.

February 15, 2013
Ben Shapiro to speak at California Republican Party convention

Conservative commentator and writer Ben Shapiro has been added to the agenda for the California Republican Party convention.

Shapiro, who is the editor-at-large of, will fill a dinner speaking slot that was originally set to feature GOP strategist Karl Rove. Rove's talk has been moved to the Saturday luncheon because of a scheduling conflict.

Shapiro won praise from the right for a heated exchange with CNN's Piers Morgan, posted above, in which he accused the host of being a bully on gun control and "standing on the graves of the children" killed in the December mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn. elementary schools.

The party had been seeking to book a speaker who would appeal to conservatives in light of a rift caused by Rove's newly announced Conservative Victory Project, a super PAC that has come under fire from Tea Party supporters. Former GOP Senate leader Jim Brulte, who is expected to be elected chairman at next month's convention, told The Bee this week that the party extended an invitation to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, but that a scheduling issue prevented the freshman senator and Tea Party favorite from accepting.

Other speakers at the spring convention, which takes place in Sacramento during the first weekend in March, include conservative comedians Eric Golub and Evan Sayet, author Travis Brown and former GOP Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who moved to Texas to take a job with a think tank after leaving the Legislature.

The Saturday night keynote speech was the subject of some confusion this morning, after an initial email to members identified the guest as Ben Stein. That email, which led with a riff on the actor's role in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," was soon followed by a message clarifying the actual lineup.

"Clearly, somebody other than Ferris Bueller needs a day off. :-)" Chairman Tom Del Beccaro wrote in the second message.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this post misspelled The Bee regrets the error.

February 15, 2013
Colbert to Gavin Newsom: 'What the (bleep) does any of that mean?'

colbertNewsom.jpgLt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was describing his new book, "Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government," on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" on Thursday when the host, Stephen Colbert, asked him, 'What the (bleep) does any of that mean?"

Newsom had been talking about the "broadcast model of governing" and about how "big is getting small and small is getting big."

Colbert flipped through the book.

"Is there a bull (bleep) translator?" he said. "What are you talking about?"

Newsom tried again.

"I want to democratize voices," the former mayor of San Francisco said. "I want real citizen engagement. I want two-way conversations. I want citizenship to be redefined. I don't want people to do things to me, I want ... people to do things with me. So it's all about building partnership and building capacity, building community."

February 15, 2013
Services on Sunday for former lawmaker Nolan Frizzelle

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle.JPGServices for former Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle, who died Jan. 31 at age 91, will be held Sunday in Folsom.

Services for Frizzelle, R-Huntington Beach, are scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at The Bridge Community Church, 511 Sibley Rd. in Folsom.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be directed to the church in care of Pastor Dennis Mandigo.

Related posts: Former GOP lawmaker Nolan Frizzelle dies at 91

February 15, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Condoms for porn stars -- what's that about?

A Southern California lawmaker's proposal to require all adult film stars in the state to wear condoms is more likely about protecting the porn industry than about protecting actors, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

February 15, 2013
AM Alert: California Legislature's bill deadline draws near

AHF_REP_Isadore_Hall_Condom.JPGVIDEO: Dan Walters weighs in on Assemblyman Isadore Hall's proposal to require condoms for porn stars.

With Monday being the Presidents Day holiday, California lawmakers will put in an appearance this morning at per diem floor sessions to keep that money flowing. Both chambers are meeting at 9 a.m.

Time to get that legislative paperwork together: The last day to introduce bills is Feb. 22, a week from today (leaving aside maneuvers like gut-and-amend bills).

Here's a look at what this session has brought so far:

In the Assembly, the count late Thursday was 355 bills and eight proposed constitutional amendments. The overall total in the Senate was somewhat lower, with lawmakers in the upper house introducing 268 bills and 11 proposed constitutional amendments. Budget Committee bills related to the Budget Act of 2013 accounted for 39 of those bills in both houses.

Both houses have bills related to expanding Medi-Cal coverage in the upcoming special health-care session, which will be focused on implementing the Affordable Care Act in California.

The California Mental Health Services Authority's board of directors is meeting from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza in Sacramento. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, has headed to Washington and New York in a national push for better mental health care following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Since we won't be around to say it this weekend, happy birthday to Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, who turns 45 on Sunday.

Happy birthday as well to Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, who turns 58 on Monday; to Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, who will be 65 on Monday; and to U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, who on Monday inches closer to the half-century mark with his 49th birthday. Congrats, guys, for having your special days fall on a long weekend.

PHOTO CREDIT: A copy of Assemblyman Isadore Hall's Assembly Bill 332 is displayed with condoms during a press conference to introduce a statewide law requiring condom use by adult film performers, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Bret Hartman / AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)


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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