Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 23, 2013
Number of bills on Assembly suspense file vary for lawmakers

ammiano.JPGAssembly Democrat Tom Ammiano of San Francisco leads the pack of lawmakers with a slew of bills to be heard Friday on the suspense file in the Assembly Appropriation Committee. The Assembly has 328 bills on the suspense file, which will be taken up after the lower house meets in the morning.

On Thursday, the Senate considered 257 bills on the suspense file, moving along 185 of them.

All of the Assembly lawmakers with more than five bills on the suspense file are Democrats. The bills range from taxing firearm ammunition sales to increasing the minimum wage.

Here is the list of Assembly members with the most bills on the suspense file:

Tom Ammiano, D- San Francisco, 12

Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, 11

Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, 11

Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, 11

Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, 10

Mike Gatto, D-Silver Lake, 10

Raul Bocanegra, D-Los Angeles, 9

Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, 9

Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, 9

Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, 8

Ken Cooley, D-Ranco Cordova, 8

Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, 7

Bob Bonta, D-Alameda, 7

Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, 7

Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, 7

Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, 7

Jose Medina, D-Riverside, 6

Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, 6

For updates from the Assembly floor or the Assembly Appropriations Committee, follow @MelodyGutierrez

IMAGE CREDIT: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, in a 2009 file photo. Hector Amezcua / The Sacramento Bee

May 23, 2013
Tax bills fail to advance out of California Senate committee

Cigarettes.JPGMeasures aimed at creating new taxes on Californians were held by the Senate Appropriations Committee today, making it extremely unlikely that taxes on cigarettes, soda, strip clubs, plastic bags or oil extraction will become law this year.

The committee, which reviews all bills with a cost implication for the state, considered 257 bills today as it went through the so-called "suspense file." Members allowed 185 of those to advance to the next stage -- a vote on the Senate floor.

All together, those bills, if enacted, would cost the state $347 million, said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

The 72 bills that were held by the committee would have cost the state a cumulative $3.2 billion, Hedlund said, and would have created $5 billion in new taxes. Bills that are not moving forward include the following:

May 23, 2013
Jerry Brown: News media ignoring climate change

brownclimatechange.jpgMOUNTAIN VIEW - Gov. Jerry Brown complained bitterly this morning that the news media ignores climate change, in a speech attended by more than a dozen photographers and reporters.

"If you take a look at Google and type in 'global warming news,' I venture to say on most days in the news, 20 to 30 percent, if not more, of the news, will be by climate deniers or skeptics, whatever you want to call them," Brown said at a conference with climate scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center. "Everything these guys are saying either is not true, not relevant or totally distorted -- or it's not important."

The Democratic governor, who has made climate change a focus of his administration, compared interest in the event to recent news that the Bay Area will host football's Super Bowl in 2016.

"I mean, compared to getting the 50th Super Bowl, this stuff is silly," Brown said. "It's just a bunch of scientists talking. What really counts is the stuff you're going to read on the front page tomorrow. You're not going to hear about this. It's not allowed, because this is not news. News is something else. This may be true, it may be fundamentally important, but it's not news and therefore it cannot be printed in the American press."

May 23, 2013
California health exchange reveals premium costs

surgery.JPGCalifornians received the bottom line Thursday on which insurance firms will sell policies on the state's new health-care exchange this fall and how much those premiums will cost.

The announcement by Covered California, the marketplace for such policies, brings into sharper focus the impact of the nation's health-care overhaul on families and their pocketbooks.

Thirteen health plans were picked to sell plans, with none of the state's 19 designated regions having fewer than three plans to serve consumers, Covered California announced.

Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net and Kaiser Permanente were among the firms chosen. Their tentative selection is subject to rate review by state regulators.

California's 19 geographic regions will average five health plans from which to choose. Even in most rural areas, consumers will have two or three options - though in a small number of counties only one plan will be available, officials said.

May 23, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Loss of Rubio's seat hurts supermajority agenda

Kern County Democrat Leticia Perez has lost her bid to capture former senator Michael Rubio's Senate seat, but the real loser, Dan says, is the "Democratic left."

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

May 23, 2013
AM Alert: Covered California announces health insurance rates


It would be easy to lose track of the steady metronome of new dates and benchmarks in the rollout of the federal health care law, but today is a big one: during a 9 a.m. meeting at the California Museum, officials from the state's new health insurance marketplace will unveil the plans that private insurance companies will offer to Californians once the insurance exchange, Covered California, goes live this fall.

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee and Board Chair Diana Dooley will both be there. After the announcement they'll head to the California Secretary of State's office on I street for a Covered California board meeting, where they'll discuss topics that include the organization's budget.

VIDEO: Democrats will need to reconsider their ambitions for enacting a liberal agenda now that they've lost former senator Michael Rubio's seat, Dan Walters says.

BROWN COMBATS CLIMATE CHANGE: A few days after exhorting new graduates to take the lead on fighting climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown will be at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View this morning to join researchers and scientists in issuing a new call to action. The governor will speak around 10 a.m.

OH, THE SUSPENSE: The Senate Appropriations Committee is deciding the fate of a small galaxy of bills currently on the suspense file today -- more than 250 as of our last count. Most of this has already been decided by leadership, so don't look for too much drama. But it still is an important moment for seeing which bills might yet make it into law and which are to be consigned to the legislative landfill.

GARAMENDI ON DELTA: Brown's proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan continues to be a volatile topic, dividing the state into pro and con camps. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will offer his take at a meeting in Courtland of the Delta Protection Commission tonight. The meeting starts at 6:15 p.m., at the Courtland Auditorium.

THE HISPANIC VOTE: The University of California Center Sacramento is hosting a talk today on trends in Latino voter turnout, which remains unpredictable even as the Latino electorate has grown in size and clout. Mindy Romero, the founding project director of the California Civic Engagement Project, will be speaking. From noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1130 K Street.

GAMBLING: A panel of experts discusses the implications of online gambling today. Dean Francis J. Mootz III of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law will moderate a panel that includes lobbyist Cathy Christian, attorney Howard Dickstein, attorney David Fried and Cheryl Schmit of Stand Up California.

PHOTO CREDIT: A doctor looks through a scope while operating on a patient in Rancho Cordova on Friday, May 10, 2013. By Randall Benton/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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