Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

July 5, 2013
Fourth of July claims Senate per diem expenses

emptysenate.JPGFireworks and barbecue for daily expenses.

That's the tradeoff members of the California Senate made this week, when the Fourth of July interrupted the schedule that usually keeps their $160-a-day per diem allocation flowing.

To claim that money, lawmakers have to meet at least every three days. Typically that allows them to convene on Thursday, head to their districts on Friday and be back on Monday in time to satisfy the rule.

When there's a Monday holiday, legislators will often meet briefly on Friday to make sure they're entitled to their per diem for the intervening days. That's what happened earlier this year on the Friday preceding President's Day weekend, for instance.

But that wasn't the case this week -- the state Capitol was bereft of lawmakers on Friday (the Assembly is out on recess), and lawmakers are forfeiting the expense payment from Thursday through Sunday, according to the secretary of the Senate's office.

PHOTO: Empty Senate chambers. The Sacramento Bee/Jeremy B. White.

July 5, 2013
Bill Lockyer opens 2018 campaign account to 'mete out justice'

lockyer.jpgState Treasurer Bill Lockyer has opened a campaign account for lieutenant governor in 2018, suggesting not a run for any seat but that Lockyer may remain involved in state politics as a campaign donor long after he retires from elected office in 2015.

The former attorney general and Senate president pro tem had accumulated more than $2.2 million for a campaign for controller next year before announcing last month he will retire when his term as treasurer ends.

Politicians often open campaign accounts for offices they do not intend to seek, using them solely to manage campaign stockpiles.

Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar said in an email today that Lockyer opened the account to "have a place to park his money for use beyond 2014."

"He wants to make sure he has the ability to support select candidates and causes, or as we like to say, mete out justice," Dresslar said.

PHOTO: Bill Lockyer in 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

July 5, 2013
Fair Political Practices Commission names executive director

erinpeth1.jpgErin V. Peth will serve as the California Fair Political Practice Commission's new executive director, the campaign finance watchdog decided in a closed session meeting today.

Peth will take over a position that has been filled on an interim basis since Roman Porter stepped down back in 2011. Peth has been working as a deputy legal affairs secretary in the governor's office. Before that, she was a deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice.

"The Commission has appointed an outstanding person to the position of executive director," FPPC Chair Ann Ravel said in a statement. "Her years of experience with the Political Reform Act and with state government will serve the FPPC well."

Ravel herself could be on the way out. President Barack Obama announced in June that he would nominate Ravel for a spot on the Federal Elections Commission, a post that would require a Senate confirmation.

PHOTO: New FPPC Executive Director Erin Peth. Photo courtesy FPPC.

July 5, 2013
AM Alert: Ron Calderon still hoping for more fireworks

Fireworks.JPGDid you have a good Fourth of July? Let's hope you got to enjoy the weather (OK, maybe not if you remained in Sacramento) and indulge in some time-honored rituals involving grilled food and aesthetically pleasing explosions.

A bill by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, could ensure that those types of celebrations blaze through chillier times. Currently, you can buy fireworks in California from the end of June to just after the Fourth of July. His Senate Bill 777 would open a window between Dec. 26 and just after New Year's to indulge your pyrotechnic desires. Calderon tried this last year too, but the Assembly Appropriations Committee doused his hopes.

VIDEO: Confusing, off-putting, inconvenient -- Dan Walters has some harsh words for the Senate and the Assembly taking on different vacation schedules.

July 5, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: It's legislative vacation time -- or not

The Assembly is heading off on vacation while the Senate stays in town, and that says something about the California Legislature, Dan notes.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.


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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