Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 19, 2013
California senator continues push to strip Boy Scout tax status

20130311_HA_LEGISLATORS1424.JPGThe Boy Scouts of America's announcement that it is proposing to lift a ban on gay youth scouts hasn't persuaded a California state senator to drop his bid to repeal the organization's nonprofit tax status in the state.

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, has introduced legislation to repeal the state tax-exempt status of any youth organization that discriminates based on gender identity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. The proposal, Senate Bill 323, cleared its first Senate Committee last week.

Lara said in a statement that while he is encouraged that the group is "working to put an end to their discriminatory practices of excluding LGBT youth," the proposed change announced today, which does not include gay scout leaders or adults, "falls short from implementing a truly inclusive policy."

April 19, 2013
Poll: What should Darrell Steinberg's next job be?

LS KJ AIRPORT 2.JPGSenate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is weighing what to do once his final term in the state Senate comes to an end in 2014. Let us know what you think the Sacramento Democrat's next job should be in this poll:


PHOTO CREDIT California state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, left, and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson speak to the press at the Sacramento International Airport, Thursday, April 4, 2013, after returning home from a meeting with the NBA in New York about the possible relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.: The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling

April 19, 2013
Senator calls on CPUC president to testify at budget hearing

HA_michael_peevey253.JPGThe California Legislature's ongoing public battle with the state agency that regulates oil and gas pipelines continued to escalate this week, with one senator asking CPUC President Michael Peevey to "justify your continued appointment" in front of a Senate subcommittee next week.

The request came one day after another budget subcommittee held a public hearing on a report detailing a perception among employees that the California Public Utilities Commission does not prioritize safety and is too cozy with the utility companies it regulates.

The letter, sent Thursday by Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill, also notes other reports raising concerns about the agency's commitment to safety conducted in the wake of the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion.

"For all of the shortcomings under your leadership at the CPUC over the last ten years as documented by independent reports, it's critical that you testify before the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee hearing next week to justify your continued appointment as president of the California Public Utilities Commission," Hill, who represents San Bruno and is a vocal critic of CPUC leadership, wrote in the letter.

A CPUC spokesperson has not responded to The Bee's inquiry about whether Peevey plans to attend the April 25 hearing.

Peevey, who is married to Democratic state Sen. Carol Liu of La Cañada Flintridge, was first appointed to the commission by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2002. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to another six-year term in 2008.

Gov. Jerry Brown's office released the following statement via email in response to a request for comment from The Bee: "Commissioner Peevey's term is up on January 1, 2015. If something changes before then, we'll let you know."

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Peevey of the California Public Utilities Commission waits to speak to Senate Rules Committee members as they consider his confirmation in December 2009 as his wife, state Sen. Carol Liu, sits behind him. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee file, 2009

04-18-13 - Letter to Peevey

April 19, 2013
District Attorney Darrell Steinberg? Senator 'may look at it'

SteinbergCalifornia Budget.jpgWith less than 20 months left in Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's final term in the state Legislature, political circles are buzzing with speculation about what the Sacramento Democrat will do next.

One of the latest theories is that the former assemblyman and city councilman will seek a return to local office by running for Sacramento County district attorney when he is termed out of the state Senate in 2014. Longtime District Attorney Jan Scully announced earlier this year that she will step down at the end of her current term, creating an opening in the office,.

Steinberg, an attorney, hasn't ruled out a run for that seat, but says he's keeping his options open for now.

"I'm at that point now where I'm beginning to look at what I might do next in life, and hopefully I'm going to have all kinds of options," he said Thursday. "A few people are talking about that and I may look at it. I may look at it, but I'm not close to making any decisions."

Other possibilities floated by political insiders include future runs for mayor or Congress, a judicial appointment or a return to private law practice.

Steinberg has plenty of political cash stored away to fuel whatever path he pursues. He had more than $1.4 million in two campaign accounts, including one opened for a 2018 lieutenant governor run, as of the end of last year.

PHOTO CREDIT: State Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, discusses the agreement reached with Gov. Jerry Brown to finalize California's budget, at a Capitol news conference in 2012. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli)

April 19, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Lawmakers and their 'feel-good' causes

Giving to charity may feel nice, but Dan says the inept administration of special license plate funds suggests that California lawmakers should spend less time making their constituents feel good and more time taking care of state business.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

April 19, 2013
AM Alert: California DMV wants input on rules for robot cars

20120925_zaf_m67_029.jpg.jpgYou might associate automated cars with futuristic movies starring a certain former California governor, but they're closer to becoming a reality. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to regulate the fledgling industry in September, and today the California Department of Motor Vehicles is seeking public input.

The DMV workshop will be the first of its kind, an opportunity for participants to weigh in and offer comments on what forthcoming regulations on driverless cars should contain. Starting at 10 a.m. in the Department of General Services auditorium, located at 707 Third Street in West Sacramento.

VIDEO: Lawmakers should spend a little less time brainstorming Tax Day perks for their constituents and a little more time on state business, Dan Walters says.



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Capitol Alert Staff


Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. jwhite@sacbee.com. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. achance@sacbee.com. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. ccadelago@sacbee.com. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert. mmassimino@sacbee.com

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. lrosenhall@sacbee.com. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. dwalters@sacbee.com. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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