Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 2, 2013
Former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia to run for state Senate

BonnieGarcia.JPG Former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia is looking to return to the Legislature.

The Palm Desert Republican announced this week that she will run for the 28th Senate District in the 2014 election, rolling out a list of local GOP endorsements along with word of her candidacy.

The Riverside County-centered district will be up for grabs next year.

Garcia represented the 80th Assembly District, which at the time covered Imperial County and part of Riverside County, from 2002 to 2008.

She was later appointed by GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a six-figure post on the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. She now runs her own public affairs firm.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Then Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Palm Desert, talks during a 2007 legislative briefing inside the state Capitol. Brian Baer / Sacramento Bee file, 2007

May 2, 2013
CA Assembly OKs denying out-of-state athletes compensation

20130415_ATHLETES_0073.JPGProfessional athletes like Reggie Williams and Lorenzo Neal are accustomed to helping their teams win on the football field. They've been less successful in winning over California lawmakers.

The Assembly overrode opposition from current and former professional athletes Thursday in approving a measure to limit workers compensation claims by out-of-state athletes.

The National Football League Players Association brought Williams, Neal and other athletes to the state Capitol last month in an effort to persuade legislators to kill the legislation.

But Assembly members voted 57-1 for Assembly Bill 1309. Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, called his legislation an attempt "to ensure that California's workers comp system is no unjustly longer exploited by every professional athlete from every state in America."

"If you've at least just dressed out, maybe pitched one inning, maybe you got to play one game, maybe you suited up but never left the bench," Perea said on the Assembly floor. "But that still qualifies you to file for a California workers comp claim, even though the vast majority of your time played could have been in Florida, could have been in Texas or Massachusetts."

Perea said he wasn't trying to deny workers compensation to athletes for whom injuries are an unavoidable occupational hazard. The bill allows athletes to seek California workers compensation if they spent at least 80 percent of their career with a California team.

PHOTO CREDIT: Former Oakland Raider Nick Bell, 44, left, waits April 15 as former Cincinnati Bengals Reggie Williams uses crutches as he walks to the podium to talk about his opposition to Assembly Bill 1309. Paul Kitagaki Jr. / Sacramento Bee.

May 2, 2013
North Fork casino compact passes Assembly

RBGambling5.JPGCalifornia's North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians is a step closer to getting a casino after the Assembly narrowly ratified a gambling compact on Thursday morning.

The floor vote came months after Gov. Jerry Brown affirmed the federal government's determination that the North Fork tribe could acquire property about 35 miles from their ancestral lands to build a casino in Madera County. The unconventional process has spurred intense lobbying, with opponents saying it contradicts the principle of Native Americans building on existing tribal lands. The compact also are opposed by competing tribal casinos.

But Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, who carried Assembly Bill 277, cast the bill as a sorely needed economic boost for the North Fork tribe, who he said merely want "the same right granted to every other sovereign tribe in the state of California."

"This compact would put Californians back to work," Hall said in a speech on the Assembly floor, adding that "tribal gaming has replaced welfare with work. "Tribal gaming has replaced despair with hope and dependency with self-reliance."

May 2, 2013
Assemblyman's home threatened by Southern California fire

fire.JPGAssemblyman Jeff Gorell is hurrying home from Sacramento after his wife and two children were evacuated from their Camarillo Springs home, which is being threatened by a Southern California brush fire.

The fire broke out at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and has consumed 2,000 acres along the 101 freeway near the Camarillo and Newbury Park communities. Gorell's home is a few blocks from the fire and can be seen in television footage showing the blaze, said Gorell's spokesman Douglas Lorenz.

Ventura County fire officials have ordered hundreds of homes to be evacuated due to the threat of the advancing fire. Gorell, the Republican Outreach Chair, had planned to return to his district after the Assembly floor session Thursday morning. As of 11 a.m. Thursday, he was attempting to find an earlier flight.

PHOTO CREDIT: Reuben Ruiz makes a phone call as he watches the flames from a brush fire in Camarillo, Calif., Thursday, May 2, 2013.
Troy Harvey / AP

May 2, 2013
Chris Kelly joins bid to expand CA law on sex crimes against kids

ChrisKelly.jpegThree years after losing a bid to become California's top cop, former Facebook executive Chris Kelly is taking on yet another high-profile public safety issue.

Proponents of a 2010 California law strengthening sentencing requirements for sex offenders who target children with violent crimes announced today that Kelly, a wealthy former Facebook chief privacy officer, has signed on to support and finance an effort to pass what's known as Chelsea's Law in other states. Kelly said in a statement that he is proud to push to bring "common sense public policy around attacks on children to all 50 states."

Kelly, who lost the Democratic primary for attorney general to Kamala Harris in 2010, stayed in the political game last fall by bankrolling a successful ballot measure aimed at curbing human trafficking. Proposition 35 also requires registered sex offenders to report social media profiles and other online aliases, a change Kelly had tried unsuccessfully to pass through the Legislature.

Kelly's continued political advocacy has kept alive buzz about what office the wealthy Democrat may seek. He's also made headlines in Sacramento in recent weeks for joining a group of bidders trying to buy the Sacramento Kings to keep the team in the capital city.

Kelly said Thursday that he expected "at some point in the future I'll run for office again," but didn't have any specific personal political plans right now. He also hasn't ruled out running in 2014, he said, when all the statewide constitutional offices will be up for a vote.

"We'll see how the 2014 musical chairs, dominoes, whatever you call it, begin to fall," he said. "I'll be looking at a number of options."

Editor's note: This post was updated at 1:15 p.m. with a quote from Chris Kelly.

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Kelly. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee file, 2010.

May 2, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature takes 1st step on CEQA overhaul

Don't be fooled by how easily a Senate panel approved a bill to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act, Dan says: A lot of work lies ahead.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

May 2, 2013
AM Alert: Jerry Brown faces deadline for filing prison plan

Pelican_Bay_State_Prison.jpgThe clock is ticking: Federal judges have given Gov. Jerry Brown until midnight tonight to file a plan for reducing California's prison inmate population.

Brown said when he was in China last month that his administration would prepare to release as many as 10,000 prisoners if the state isn't released from the court order demanding the reduction.

"We're going to try to find the nicest of the nice, but I have to tell you, it's harder to get into prison now," the governor said then, as David Siders reported from Shenzhen.

The clock is also ticking for implementation of the new federal health care law, and many people don't understand what it does. In fact, four in 10 Americans surveyed recently aren't even sure the law still exists.

A University of California Center Sacramento event today tries to cut through the confusion, breaking down what exactly it will mean when the Covered California health insurance exchange is up and running.

Appearing on the discussion panel will be David Chase, director of Small Business Majority's California operations; Ken Jacob, a labor specialist at the UC Berkeley Labor Center; David Panush, director of external affairs for Covered California; and Daniel Weintraub, editor of the California Health Report (and a former member of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board). Noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1130 K St.

VIDEO: A legislative committee made it look easy by unanimously approving a CEQA reform bill by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, but Dan Walters says there is a long slog ahead.

CONSTRUCTION PLANNING: The Assembly Budget Committee is taking up some bills today that would govern new building projects. A bill by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, would required five-year infrastructure plans offered by the governor to incorporate housing construction, and a separate bill from Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, would put money toward an Alameda County courthouse construction project.

IMMIGRATION RALLY: Organizing for Action, the nonprofit that has morphed from a cog in President Barack Obama's campaign machine to a tool for pushing Obama's second-term agenda, is organizing a rally outside the office of Sen. Barbara Boxer to encourage the California senator to keep pushing for a comprehensive immigration reform bill. From noon to 2 p.m. at 501 I St.

BOXER HONORED: Speaking of Boxer, she's the keynote speaker tonight at an event put on by the organization Emerge CA, which focuses on getting more Democratic women elected to public office. The event is at San Francisco City Hall.

PHOTO CREDIT: A guard watches from a tower at Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City. Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press file, 2011



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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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