Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 3, 2013
Steinberg doesn't see Senate passing Brown's CA prisons plan

SteinbergLeg.JPGThe plan for reducing California prison population that Gov. Jerry Brown's administration proposed in response to a court order doesn't have fans in the Legislature so far.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said today that he doesn't see the Senate adopting the proposals the governor submitted to a three-judge panel last night.

"I'm sympathetic with the governor here," Steinberg said today. "He put out these untenable choices under protest but I'm not for that."

Steinberg said aspects of the proposal that would allow more inmates to be released, such as expanding good behavior credits for felons, are not "consistent with public safety." Spending to contract with counties or building facilities to increase bed capacity also doesn't make sense, he said.

Steinberg said he'd rather try to increase funding for rehabilitation programs, an option he said could provide more stable, long-term reductions to the inmate population. He said he hopes the courts address that in future decisions.

"The federal courts don't have to consider the very true dilemma that if we spend more money in building more prisons or jail beds, that's less money to invest in mental health, substance abuse, treatment and vocational training for parolees and probationers," he said. "The key is to reduce recidivism, not to keep building more capacity."

May 3, 2013
Advocates for CA inmate rights blast Jerry Brown's prison plan

RBJerryBrown3.JPGGroups that advocate for inmates' rights and against the expansion of the prison system railed Friday against Gov. Jerry Brown's latest plan to reduce the state's prison population, saying the governor is resorting to "fear mongering" instead of pursuing changes that will lead to fewer people being incarcerated in the state.

The Brown administration filed the court-ordered plan under protest Thursday night, maintaining that the state has done enough to cut its prison population and provide sufficient access to health care. California Corrections Secretary Jeff Beard called the plan -- which includes proposals to release hundreds of inmates who have received good behavior credits or are elderly or ill -- "unnecessary and unsafe." The state plans to appeal a three-judge panel's ruling that further reductions are needed to comply with a 2009 court order.

Representatives from the prisoners' rights groups blasted both Brown administration's premise and the policies it included in the report during a late morning press call.

May 3, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Where are California's gas taxes going?

Dan wonders why California has awful traffic congestion and road conditions despite having gasoline taxes that are the highest in the nation.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

May 3, 2013
AM Alert: Highway 50 interchange named for Sen. Dave Cox

ha_dave_cox_memorial_2010.JPGCalifornia lawmakers are honoring former state senator Dave Cox today with a ceremony christening the Highway 50 interchange at Hazel Avenue as the Sen. Dave Cox Memorial Interchange.

Husband-and-wife legislator team Sen. Ted Gaines and Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, both Rocklin Republicans, will be joined by Cox family members as well as Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan and others in commemorating the longtime legislator at 10:30 a.m.

Cox was first elected to the Senate in 2004 after serving for six years in the Assembly. He died in 2010 at age 72. The interchange isn't far from where he'd lived.

FISCAL BILL DEADLINE: Today is the last day for policy committees to hear and report fiscal bills to fiscal committees -- so, because there are no committee meetings on the file today, the deadline has for all intents and purposes passed. Here at Capitol Alert, we know a thing or two about keeping up with deadlines.

VIDEO: Dan Walters is perplexed by the fact that California's relatively high gasoline taxes don't translate into less traffic and better roads.


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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