Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

July 30, 2013
GOP donors urge House Republicans to support immigration bill

immigration.jpgWith a proposal to overhaul the nation's immigration policies apparently stalled in the House of Representatives, about 100 Republican donors and donor groups today urged Republican representatives to embrace a "path to legal status" for undocumented immigrants.

The letter writers include 14 donors and donor groups from California, who sent a separate, nearly identical, letter to House Republicans from the Golden State. The Californians include fast food executive Andrew Puzder, former San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan, venture capitalist David Hanna and the Lincoln Club of Orange County.

In their letter, the Republicans call for increased border security and a "path to legal status" for undocumented immigrants.

"Standing in the way of reform ensures that we perpetuate a broken system that stifles our economy, leave millions of people living in America unaccounted for, maintain a porous border, and risk a long-lasting perception that Republicans would rather see nothing done than pass needed reform," they write. "That is not the path for the Republican Party."

July 30, 2013
California will spend $232.9 billion in new state budget

mactaylor.jpgCalifornia will spend $232.9 billion during the 2013-14 fiscal year if the recently enacted state budget is precisely followed.

But the total, outlined in a followup report by the Legislature's budget analyst, Mac Taylor, is only an educated guess, and if past patterns hold true the real levels of income and outgo will be billions of dollars different.

One differential is already known. State revenues are running about $2 billion ahead of the budget's assumptions - as Taylor predicted they would be - and that will affect the money the state must spend on public education, the largest single category in the budget, as well as potentially pay for mid-year increases in health and welfare spending that the Legislature's majority Democrats are seeking.

The state's general fund, from which education and other major state expenditures are financed, is tagged at $96.3 billion in the report, with special funds, such as those devoted to transportation, accounting for another $42 billion, bond spending for $7 billion, and federal funds, mostly for education and health and welfare services, for another $87.6 billion.

Taylor's report - in effect an explanation of the budget in layman's language - not only deals with the money but how it will be spent, including a major overhaul in how school funds are being allocated, with more money going to school districts with large numbers of poor and/or English learner students. It also includes the state's plans to expand Medi-Cal to serve more of the state's medically insured residents, using funds from the federal health care overhaul, and a boost in higher education spending.

PHOTO: Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, in 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

July 30, 2013
VIDEO: Protesters deliver petitions to end solitary confinement in California

On the 23rd day of a statewide hunger strike in California prisons, protesters on Tuesday delivered more than 60,000 signatures to Gov. Jerry Brown's office in a push to end solitary confinement in California.

Representatives from California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement, the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition and California Prison Focus delivered the petitions to the Governor's Office Tuesday morning while a group of about 40 protesters waited outside the Capitol.

July 30, 2013
AM Alert: California's Prop. 65 gets another look


We've brought you news already of the push to reform Proposition 65, a decades-old ballot initiative intended to protect consumers and water supplies from toxic chemicals. The law requires disclosure of dangerous chemicals but has drawn criticism for fueling a cottage industry of exploitative lawyers looking to gin up payments.

The legislative effort, spearheaded by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, is still alive -- the bill has cleared the Assembly and is bound for Senate Appropriations. But there's a parallel push under way via the Brown administration, announced back in May.

Today the administrative route gets a public hearing. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is hosting a workshop seeking input on potential regulations dictating how to best provide useful warnings per Proposition 65, an effort distinct from the legislative language the governor's office is still crafting. From 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters on I street.

VIDEO: The timing and content of the latest crime report from the Attorney General's office shows Kamala Harris performing damage control, Dan Walters says.

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE: As of Monday afternoon, 561 inmates across the California correctional system continued to refuse food, defying the use of solitary confinement to isolate gang members as the hunger strike -- the third such strike in the last few years -- stretches into its fourth week.

Reform advocates are rallying in Sacramento today, taking up the prisoners' argument that the policy of relegating inmates to the Segregated Housing Unit, at times indefinitely, is inhumane. Spearheaded by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement, the demonstration will begin outside the State Capitol building, where protesters will seek to deliver a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown's office, and will proceed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation building on S street.

PHOTO: A sample Proposition 65 warning. Image courtesy of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

July 30, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California crime rates increase in 2012

California Attorney General Kamala Harris posted a crime data press release late Friday afternoon in an attempt to bury the news, Dan says, except the press did not play along.

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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