Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 29, 2013
Head of conservative group defeated in election following remarks about rape

greig.jpgCeleste Greig, the Republican activist who said this spring that rape rarely results in pregnancy, has lost her position atop the California Republican Assembly, organizers of the conservative group said.

By an 84-78 vote, CRA members at a convention over the weekend selected John W. Briscoe, of Fountain Valley, to be president, said Aaron Park, the conservative blogger and CRA official who ran Briscoe's campaign.

Park faulted Greig for "embarrassing headlines" and shrinking membership in the decades-old CRA, and he said the group "took decisive action to change course."

Park said membership in the CRA, which Ronald Reagan once called the "the conscience of the Republican Party," has declined to "several thousand statewide." He declined to be more specific.

Greig did not immediately return a telephone call Monday for comment.

She suggested to a San Jose Mercury News reporter in the run-up to last month's California Republican Party convention that a woman is less likely to become pregnant if she is raped because "the body is traumatized." At the time, she was criticizing a Missouri U.S. Senate candidate who made a similar remark.

PHOTO CREDIT: Celeste Greig, then president of the California Republican Assembly, speaks to reporters at the California Republican Convention in San Diego on Friday, August 20, 2010. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee

April 29, 2013
Handful of lawmakers wants to end 'gut-and-amend' bills


A bipartisan handful of legislators is trying to stop the Sacramento tradition known as the "gut-and-amend" bill -- the last-minute, late-night law-making that has become the summertime norm in the Capitol.

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, a Modesto Republican, and two Democratic senators - Lois Wolk of Davis and Mark DeSaulnier of Concord - have introduced constitutional amendments that would require bills be in print for at least three days before lawmakers can vote on them. Similar measures have failed in the past.

"The halls of the state Capitol are desperate for governance reforms that will increase transparency, facilitate good decision making and strengthen the ability of citizens to actively participate in their state government," Olsen said today during a news conference to promote her ACA 4.

The proposal, she said, "would allow legislators to thoroughly analyze measures before voting and end the midnight votes on backroom deals."

In past years, Olsen said, lawmakers have passed budget deals that were written just 15 minutes earlier. Legislators have also used the gut-and-amend process to write bills about abortion, immigration, tax policy, and union organizing for child care workers.

DeSaulnier said he'd signed on as a co-author because in his seven years as a legislator "there have been frequent times at the end of session where I wasn't able to read the content of a bill that was extremely important."

"It empowers the public and all (lawmakers) more when you have the time to actually digest and read the content before you," he said. "Strange concept."

The measure is sponsored by California Common Cause, an advocacy group that promotes government transparency.

"Seventy-two hours is not a long time," said Phillip Ung, a Common Cause advocate. "But it's enough time to put some thought into these bills and to hear from constituents, which is exactly what legislators are supposed to be doing."

The measures require approval by two-thirds of each house. ACA 4 gets its first committee hearing tomorrow.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, during her news conference today. Behind her are, from left to right: Ron Costa, Superintendent of Eascalon Unified School District; Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and Phillip Ung, policy advocate with California Common Cause. Sacramento Bee/Laurel Rosenhall

April 29, 2013
AM Alert: LGBT youth converge on California capital


It's Queer Youth Advocacy Day at the State Capitol, which means lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youngsters will be rallying at a 10:45 a.m. press conference on the north steps. They are expected to be joined by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, and Susan Eggman, D-Stockton.

The advocates are focusing on two bills in particular: AB 420, a student discipline bill, and AB 1266, which would allow students to participate in sex-segregated activities and use school facilities in accordance with their gender identities.

WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT: Friday brought the latest installment in a recurring dispute over women being under-represented in Sacramento politics panels. An event today by the organization California Women Lead, an organization devoted to getting more women into leadership positions, aims to help reduce those discrepancies in the ranks of public officeholders.

A daylong conference at the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown will feature a morning panel with Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, a lunchtime address from State Board of Equalization member Betty Yee and an evening reception expected to be attended by nearly 20 female lawmakers.

DIAL M FOR MORATORIUM: The contentious national debate over hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has been bubbling to the surface in Sacramento this session. Today, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee is taking on a trio of bills that would nix the practice for the foreseeable future -- a controversial proposition, considering how energy industry advocates worried about a potential moratorium measure embedded in a bill by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills. 1:30 p.m. in room 447.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Also before an Assembly committee today is a raft of bills dealing with how California, per Proposition 39, will channel new revenue from eliminating a corporate tax break towards energy efficiency upgrade projects. The Utilities And Commerce Committee is hearing proposals starting at 3 p.m. in room 437.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, delivers the Pledge of Allegiance during LGBT Pride Month. June 14, 2010 by Hector Amezcua/The 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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