Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 16, 2013
Assembly approves bill to limit immigration holds

ammiano.JPGThe Assembly passed a bill Thursday designed to reduce the number of deportations and immigration holds for people arrested, charged or convicted of minor crimes.

Written by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, Assembly Bill 4 would prevent local police from detaining people based on immigration status when they are arrested unless they have prior serious or violent felony convictions.

The bill, which Ammiano and supporters have dubbed the "Trust Act," is an expanded version of legislation proposed last year that was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

As the measure moves to the Senate, Ammiano is expected to offer amendments to win Brown's support.

The bill is designed to dictate how police deal with requests for information under the federal Secure Communities Program. Under current state law, police have the discretion to send information to federal officials, who automatically check the immigration status of people using fingerprints obtained upon arrest.

Ammiano said the Secure Communities Program is supposed to target serious offenders, but that hasn't been the case.

May 16, 2013
No A's for state lawmakers from UC students

Not a single member of the California Legislature earned an A from the tough graders at the University of California Student Association, who released their first-ever legislative scorecard at the regents meeting in Sacramento Wednesday.

Not Sen. Marty Block, a former professor who chairs the Senate Education Committee. Not even Sen. Leland Yee, who holds a doctorate in psychology and takes every possible opportunity to publicly bash university management.

"As students we get a lot of grades, and we're turning the table on legislators," said Justin Chung, a grad student at UC Irvine.

The legislative scorecard is a common lobbying tool for interest groups around the Capitol. They list the bills they care about and "grade" legislators on how they voted. For UC students, important bills from last session included Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's effort to create free digital textbooks, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins' stalled bill to put polling places on every college campus and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez's failed attempt to give scholarships to middle-class students by taxing out-of-state corporations.

May 16, 2013
California's health exchange to serve as voter registration hub

bowen1.jpgMillions of Californians who contact the state's new health exchange to buy insurance will be given the opportunity to register to vote, too, a move that some Republicans fear could benefit Democrats.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen made California the first state to designate its health exchange as a voter registration agency Wednesday but others are expected to follow suit, said Shannan Velayas, Bowen's spokeswoman.

"This is about making sure that all eligible Californians are offered the chance to register to vote," Velayas said Thursday.

A 1993 federal law requires states to designate their agencies and offices that provide public assistance or disability services as voter registration agencies, Velayas said.

The federal law commonly is known as "motor voter" because it ensured that applicants for drivers' licenses nationwide would be asked if they wanted to register to vote.

Public agencies in California that currently serve as voter registration outlets include the Department of Motor Vehicles and offices overseeing the state's welfare, tax collection, and in-home supportive services.

California's health-care exchange, Covered California, is creating a marketplace for millions of uninsured Californians to compare prices and buy health insurance policies this fall to take effect Jan. 1.

Many of Covered California's clients are expected to be families of low and moderate incomes. Some will be eligible for taxpayer subsidized policies and others will have incomes low enough to qualify for Medi-Cal.

May 16, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Muddled math in Gov. Brown's budget revision

Gov. Jerry Brown's revised 2013-2014 budget blueprint may pass political muster, but Dan's not so sure it passes an accounting test.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

May 16, 2013
AM Alert: 'Ambassadors' waddle and slither through Sacramento


Most of the delegations that visit Sacramento to meet with lawmakers have a few bills they're advocating for, or at least a vague agenda, but it's a little hard to press your cause if you lack opposable thumbs and the capacity for abstract reasoning. Yes, a team of "animal ambassadors" from SeaWorld will be dropping in on the State Capitol today to spread some furry cheer.

The current guest list includes two penguins, two lemurs, a kangaroo, a peregrine falcon and a boa. You can come say hello on the north steps from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Assuming they're not feeling too temperamental, the penguins and the lemurs will be venturing into the building, first to meet legislators in the Senate Lounge and then to drop in on the governor's office (hopefully they don't get spooked by the bronze bear).

VIDEO: The revised budget Gov. Jerry Brown released on Tuesday balances the state's finances only if you ignore a few big prevailing costs, Dan Walters says.

CARBON AND CLIMATE COSTS: We're now a few months into California's experiment with creating a carbon market as mandated by AB 32, and today a select committee on 32 implementation and climate change is parsing the results. Witnesses expected to testify include Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird, Mary Nichols of the California Air Resources Board, Alejandro Becerra of Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Dirk Forrister of the International Emissions Trading Association, Mark Fischer of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Linda Rudolph, director of public health for the city of Berkeley.

DELTA STEWARDS VOTE: Our watery week continues with a meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, an advisory agency that could vote on whether to lend its approval to the Delta conservation plan. The meeting runs all day and commences at 9 a.m., at 1250 Halyard Drive.

Meanwhile, the Department of Water Resources is holding the final of five public forums on its integrated regional water management plan. Instead of relying on a procession of speakers, the meetings are intended to be collaborative sessions where people stay for the duration. Today's workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District building.

REGENTS REMAIN: Today is the second day of the University of California Regents' meeting at the Sacramento convention center. This morning features a couple of closed-door sessions on finance and compensation, followed by a public comment period before the meeting wraps up.

DRINKING AGE DEBATE: The University of California Center Sacramento is holding a talk today on public health lessons gleaned from Canada's lower drinking age. Carlos Dobkin of the University of California at Santa Cruz will be delivering "The Mechanisms of Alcohol Control" from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1130 K Street.

WORKERS WITH BENEFITS: The California State Employees Association is holding a fair on the south steps this morning, where vendors from around California will offer information on various member benefits.

PHOTO CREDIT: Can you imagine these little guys giving a speech on the Senate floor? We can. Image courtesy of Mike Aguilera for SeaWorld.


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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