Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 14, 2013
Ravel talks about FPPC's plans for tracking political money


California Fair Political Practices Commission chairwoman Ann Ravel spoke to The Bee's editorial board Thursday about how she plans to use the remainder of her tenure tracking money in California politics.

The FPPC has its eye on a few bills that could bolster the 1974 Political Reform Act, which lays out the contours of the FPPC's authority. Ravel said it is focused in particular on bills by Assemblyman Roger Dicksinon, D-Sacramento, Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, and Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, that would tighten disclosure requirements.

The language in those bills is still developing, but Ravel said she is interested in measures that could require more information about "independent expenditures," the third-party dollars that have flooded into elections in the last few years, and more clearly define what it means to say those independent organizations are prohibited from "coordinating" with campaigns.

March 14, 2013
VIDEO: Sens. Feinstein, Cruz duel over assault weapon legislation

The U.S. Senate Judiciary committee today advanced Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill to ban assault weapons, but not until the California Democrat mixed it up with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. See the exchange below. You can also see it at this link.

March 14, 2013
California Republicans invite Democrat to assess state of GOP

Jim_Brulte_Rich_Pedroncelli_AP_030313.JPGIn a bit of cognitive behavioral therapy -- or masochism -- leaders of the California Republican Party have invited a Democratic strategist to a retreat this weekend to tell them, more or less, how bad they are.

The strategist, Garry South, has been highly critical of the Republican Party's inability to adapt to California's changing demographics, among other failures. Republicans hold no statewide office, and party registration has fallen below 30 percent statewide.

"It's a pretty depressing presentation if you're a Republican," South said. "So I may have a doctor on hand to issue Prozac prescriptions."

South and former Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte, the new chairman of the state Republican Party, are colleagues at the government affairs firm California Strategies, and for several years they have made joint presentations to various groups about politics in California.

"For years, I've read and listened to Garry South's diatribes against Republicans, sometimes when he was sitting at my elbow on panels," Brulte said in an emailed statement. "I thought I would put him to the test and see if he would be willing to say the same things in a room full of Republicans, to their faces. To my surprise, he agreed."

South said his presentation to CRP board members in Ontario on Saturday will include no advice about a potential recovery, only an account of how low the state Republican Party has fallen.

"I don't think it's helping them," South said. "It's the same presentation I've given to everybody from the dentists to the insurance agents."

South chuckled, said he's looking forward to it and added, "I'm wearing my bulletproof vest."

PHOTO CREDIT: Former state Sen. Jim Brulte talks with reporters after being elected as California Republican Party chairman during the CRP convention held in Sacramento on Sunday, March 3, 2013. San Francisco County Chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon, left, was elected as the party's vice chairperson, the first woman to hold the position. (AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli)

March 14, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Proposed legislation could worsen local debt

Even though California's state and local governments face billions of dollars in debt, the Legislature is considering whether to let local governments issue bonds that would exacerbate the problem, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

March 14, 2013
AM Alert: Audits approved for Salton Sea fund, gun tracking

SALTONTREE.JPGWe mentioned yesterday that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee was considering a bushel of new audit proposals.

Several of them got the green light, including an audit of the Salton Sea Restoration Fund, requested by Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella.

Here are others that were approved:

• State tracking of information on mentally ill people and guns. (The Senate voted recently to allocate millions of dollars more to that cause.) The audit was requested by Assemblymen Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, and Allan Mansoor, R-Costa Mesa.


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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