Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 18, 2013
More students, faculty raises part of CSU proposed budget

onlineclass.JPGThe California State University system hopes to add 6,000 students, provide raises to faculty and staff and address rate increases for employee health care benefits using an additional $125.1 million in funding allocated in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed state budget.

CSU officials previewed their proposed spending plan for 2013-2014 in a media teleconference Monday in advance of presenting their plan to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

Fee hikes that have become routine in recent years to address budget cuts to the 23-campus system are not included in the proposal, said Robert Turnage, assistant vice chancellor for budget.

"I think everyone understands what our students have been through the last few years," Turnage said. "It's very clear that we need a break."

Turnage said the addition of $125.1 million from the Proposition 30 tax increase is divided into three main categories dealing mandatory cost increases, a compensation pool and student success.

March 18, 2013
California bullet train board OKs sale of $8.6 billion in bonds

High Speed Rail.JPGThe California High-Speed Rail Authority, brushing aside questions about their legality, Monday approved two major steps toward construction of a north-south bullet train system.

By unanimous votes, the five-member governing board approved a "memorandum of understanding" to "blend" the bullet train with local commuter rail service on the San Francisco Peninsula and ask state officials to sell up to $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds to begin construction on an inititial segment in the San Joaquin Valley.

The CHSRA hopes to break ground later this year on the 130-mile segment from near Merced to north of Bakersfield, using about $3 billion in state bond money and another $3 billion from the federal government. The state bonds will actually be sold only as needed for construction, officials said.

March 18, 2013
Steve Maviglio returns to Capitol as Pérez spokesman

maviglio.JPGPolitical consultant Steve Maviglio is serving as spokesman for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez on a three-month contract to fill a vacancy left by Robin Swanson's departure earlier this month.

Maviglio, 54, returns to the Capitol, where he was formerly a spokesman for Gov. Gray Davis and the deputy chief of staff to Assembly speakers Fabian Núñez and Karen Bass. He is earning $9,500 a month.

"I've spent most of my career under a dome," said Maviglio, who worked in politics in Washington, D.C. and New Hampshire prior to arriving in Sacramento in 2000.

Maviglio left the Assembly in 2008 with a state pension after Assembly leaders approved a controversial program to encourage early retirements by offering additional service credit to enhance retirement pay. The current contract does not affect that arrangement.

Maviglio's private consulting work includes clients such as Californians for Retirement Security, a public employee union coalition that opposed pension reforms adopted last year. He also ran Mayor Kevin Johnson's two successful campaigns.

Maviglio said he doesn't have any clients involved in Assembly matters at the moment. He said the opportunity to work with Pérez comes at an interesting time in California politics.

"Having the opportunity to work with the supermajority and get big things done, that's a rare opportunity in politics," Maviglio said. Pérez will leave the Assembly after next year due to term limits.

PHOTO CREDIT: Political consultant Steve Maviglio in a 2004 file photo. The Sacramento Bee/John Decker.

March 18, 2013
Supreme Court to hear Sierra Nevada forest challenge

RP LAKE TAHOE KAYAK.JPGA long-running Sierra Nevada forest controversy has now captured the U.S. Supreme Court's attention.

On Monday, the court agreed to hear a case pitting environmentalists with the Portland-based Pacific Rivers Council against the U.S. Forest Service. The case, which will be heard sometime during the 2013 Term that begins in October, involves the ability of the environmentalists to sue the federal agency as well as questions about Forest Service planning on 11 Sierra Nevada forests.

In a decision last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the environmentalists in ruling that the Forest Service failed in 2004 to adequately study the effects of forest policy on individual fish species. The Obama administration, in appealing that court loss to the Supreme Court, said the question is whether the Forest Service must "analyze every type of environmental effect that any project ultimately authorized" on the 11 California forests "might have."

PHOTO CREDIT: A kayaker paddles along the south shore of Lake Tahoe under the watchful eye of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

March 18, 2013
AM Alert: California legislators weighing water, housing


A few days after officials began releasing draft details on Gov. Jerry Brown's multibillion dollar water plan, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, is holding a hearing to scrutinize the state's record on delivering clean drinking water. It starts at 10 a.m. in room 437 of the state Capitol.

While there are some signs that the housing market in California may be fitfully emerging from its long downturn, there are still concerns about a lack of affordable housing. A joint hearing of the Assembly Committee on Housing and the Community Development and Committee on Revenue and Taxation is taking a look at how state government is spending money on housing. Starting at 1:30 p.m. in room 126.

Look for the Assembly to vote today to send $2 million ASAP to Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office for extra help to work down a six-week backlog of business filings. Then look for Assembly Democrats to stand with statewide business representatives to praise the quick action after the Bee's Jon Ortiz reported the backlog.


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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