Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 22, 2013
Bill Lockyer cuts deal over bond agencies' conflict issue

RP BILL LOCKYER 4.JPGState Treasurer Bill Lockyer has reached agreement with two municipal finance agencies he says were operating with clear conflicts of interest.

The California Statewide Communities Development Authority and the California Municipal Finance Authority are joint powers authorities that serve as "conduit financiers" between hundreds of local public agencies and investors. The JPAs make project decisions based on recommendations from private companies that serve as their staff.

The problem, Lockyer has asserted, is that because the companies are paid based on the tax-exempt bonds they issue, they have an inherent conflict of interest.

A state audit last year, which Lockyer requested, said the practice "raises concerns."

Lockyer had sponsored Assembly Bill 1059 to tighten conflict of interest rules, but agreed to drop it Monday in exchange for concessions from the two JPAs. The JPAs will have to hire executive directors - paid a fixed amount - to make recommendations. And the groups will have to competitively bid and contracts for outside project advisers.

In a statement, Lockyer said the deal components represent "major steps forward."

PHOTO CREDIT: Bill Lockyer in 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

April 22, 2013
California Senate approves bill to close loophole in rape law

HA_noreen_evans.JPGThe California state Senate moved today to change what has been called "historical anomalies in the law" that led a rape conviction to be overturned in Southern California.

Senate Bill 59, by Democratic Sen. Noreen Evans, was introduced in response to the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeal's decision to throw out the conviction of a man who was accused of raping a woman while she was asleep in bed. The court's ruling was based on defendant Julio Morales' claim that the victim was awake and could have been under the impression that he was her boyfriend. Current law, the court said, provides protections for victims raped by someone impersonating their spouse, but not other sexual partners.

"Justice should not be conditioned on a person's marital status or sexual orientation," Evans said in introducing the bill on the floor.

Republican Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian is carrying a second bill on the same issue. The San Luis Obispo Republican authored similar legislation in 2011 that failed to clear the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Evans' version passed the Senate on a bipartisan 37-0 vote. Senate GOP leader Bob Huff spoke in support of the measure. He raised questions about a Public Safety Committee policy to hold bills that could cause the prison population to rise.

The bill, which requires a two-thirds vote so it can take effect immediately, now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

RELATED POSTS:

Legislators vow to shut legal loophole in Los Angeles rape case

PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, in a 2009 file photo. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.

April 22, 2013
AM Alert: California lawmakers celebrate Earth Day

SURF.PNGHappy Earth Day! The annual celebration of all things nature may have lost some of its luster since its debut back in 1970, but it still gets attention in environmentally conscious California.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and former Gov. Jerry Brown adviser Michael Picker, now with SMUD, are using the occasion to showcase programs reducing energy consumption at the Capitol building and the Legislative Office Building, including heating and cooling upgrades and the installation of 1,500 LED lights. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol's room 317. Skinner will also be installing a new, more energy-efficient LED light in the Assembly chambers.

VIDEO INTERLUDE: Members of the Assembly "Surf Caucus" -- that would be Democrats Das Williams , Ian Calderon, and Al Muratsuchi (pictured above) -- surf, talk about surfing, and encourage Californians to participate in Earth Day festivities, all to soothing music. Paid for by the Assembly.

SCOPE OF PRACTICE: We've been chronicling how, with the Affordable Care Act poised to produce a surge of newly-insured patients, medical professionals are scrambling for a slice of the pie. A trio of scope-of-practice bills that would expand the professional spheres of nurse practitioners, optometrists and pharmacists, respectively -- all sponsored by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina -- go before the Business, Professions And Economic Development Committee today.

UNDOCUMENTED DRIVERS: Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, has been a vocal supporter of the push in Congress for an immigration overhaul. He has sponsored a bill that revives the debate over giving driver's licenses to undocumented workers. Assembly Bill 60 goes before the Assembly Transportation Committee today at 1 p.m. in room 4202.

WORKING SOCIAL: It's lobby day for the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. That includes an 11 a.m. rally on the north steps, expected to include Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, and Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, -- both licensed social workers -- as well as Assembly members Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, Alejo, Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, and Sens. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

Social work students will fan out across the Capitol to make the case for AB 252, which concerns social worker credentialing, SB 61, which limits the use of solitary confinement with juveniles, and AB 663, which concerns residential care facility administrators.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, who is 58 today.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, appears in a video celebrating Earth Day Screenshot from a video produced by the California Assembly.



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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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