Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 8, 2013
Assembly passes bill limiting use of controversial school bonds

bonds.JPGThe California Assembly passed a bill today that will limit the use of a controversial facilities improvement bond that allows school districts to delay repayment for decades while hefty interest obligations accumulate.

Capital Appreciation Bonds came to the spotlight in August when Voice of San Diego outlined a deal in the Poway Unified School District that put taxpayers on the book for almost $1 billion on a loan of $105 million.

Several stories followed, including two in which The Bee found the Yuba Community College District will pay $59 million to retire $4.6 million in bonds and Folsom Cordova Unified will pay $9.1 million to retire $514,000 in debt.

"This bill would protect taxpayers from terrible bond deals while maintaining school districts' ability to provide their parents and children needed facilities," state Treasurer Bill Lockyer said in a statement. "Today's vote reflects widespread agreement that AB 182 offers a reasoned, balanced approach to addressing this important issue."

Assembly Bill 182 by Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, and Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, passed 73-0. The bill would limit the term of the bonds to 25 years, instead of 40 years. The bill also sets a four-to-one limit on the ratio of total debt to principal for each bond.

In the case of Folsom Cordova, the school district will pay $18 for every $1 borrowed.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

PHOTO CREDIT: Isleton Elementary School in 2006. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

April 8, 2013
CalChamber calls out 32 "job killer" bills this year

Zaremberg.JPGThe California Chamber of Commerce is out with its annual list of "job killer" bills today, bestowing the title on 32 pieces of legislation authored by legislative Democrats.

Measures to raise the minimum wage, increase penalties on polluters, ban disposable food containers, put a stop to hydraulic fracturing and lower the vote requirement for tax increases were among those CalChamber has labeled "job killers."

"California policy makers should keep their focus on the number one issues affecting their constituents - economic recovery and job creation," said a statement from the group's president Allan Zaremberg, who is in China this week with Gov. Jerry Brown.

"Each of these proposed 'job killer' bills would increase uncertainty for employers and investors and lead to higher costs of doing business, which will undermine the economic health of the state."

The Chamber has been labeling bills as "job killers" since 1997, and the moniker has become an effective lobbying tool for the organization over the years. Typically, the Chamber slaps the label on a few dozen bills and only a small handful wind up signed into law -- even though, as Dan Walters noted last year, the Legislature is dominated by Democrats aligned with the labor unions and environmentalists who push for the bills.

For a full list of the Chamber's 2013 "job killers," click here.

PHOTO CREDIT: Allan Zaremberg, President of the California Chamber of Commerce, in 2010. Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

April 8, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Kings arena deal and parking revenue

The apparent enthusiasm for keeping the Kings in Sacramento aside, Dan calls a proposed arena deal in California's capital city "a bit of a shell game."

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

April 8, 2013
AM Alert: State Athletic Commission gets legislative scrutiny

MC_WECprimer.01.JPGA joint legislative hearing this morning looks at California's State Athletic Commission, the embattled regulatory body that State Auditor Elaine Howle recently flagged as a candidate for the ax.

The auditor's report faulted the commission, which is responsible for regulating sports like boxing and mixed martial arts, for mishandling its finances and doing a shoddy job of reporting and documenting inspections.

(For an excellent tale of the inherent risks of the violent sport of mixed martial arts, also called MMA, by The Bee's Melody Gutierrez, click here.)

The commission has traveled a winding road in recent years -- the Legislature briefly allowed it to sunset in 2006 before recreating it as an independent board -- and it again faces potential dissolution.

Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, cited "significant and ongoing" concerns when he announced today's hearing, a joint affair conducted by the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee; the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee; and the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media Committee. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in the Capitol's room 4203.

VIDEO: A plan to entice the Kings into staying in Sacramento contradicts voters' will, Dan Walters says.

ACLU: Today is the last day of the American Civil Liberties Union of California's lobby day conference in Sacramento. It will feature a noon rally for immigration reform (north steps), which Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is expected to attend, followed by afternoon meetings with lawmakers.

The focus there will be on three ACLU sponsored bills: Assembly Bill 4, an immigration bill by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco; Assembly Bill 649, by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, which would give district attorneys more flexibility to charge drug offenses as misdemeanors rather than felonies; Assembly Bill 154, by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, which would allow non-doctor medical professionals to perform abortions; and Assembly Bill 420 from Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, which deals with student discipline.

No smoking: Hundreds of young Californians are converging on the state Capitol today for a rally against tobacco. Assemblyman Das Williams, D- Santa Barbara, is joining them for a 1 p.m. rally on the west steps. The event is sponsored by the California Youth Advocacy Network, which is holding an annual advocacy in Sacramento today with a focus on clean air.

Student loans: Representatives of the youth vote are also going to be present on the south steps for an 11:30 a.m. rally for bills that take on mounting student debt. Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, who will be speaking, has authored a package of legislation which he's collectively referring to as the Student Bill of Rights.

He's back: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in southern California today, joining scientists and researchers on a panel about tackling climate change. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the University of Southern California's Lewis Hall.

PHOTO CREDIT: A World Extreme Cagefighting fighter works out in Sacramento on June 4, 2009. Manny Crisostomo / Sacramento Bee.


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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