Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

July 31, 2013
Poll finds Californians back climate change fight, skeptical on fracking

fracking.jpgAn overwhelming majority of Californians believe the state should act to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new poll, while residents narrowly oppose hydraulic fracturing and support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Climate change represents a concrete threat for a majority of Californians, according to the new Public Policy Institute of California poll. More than three-fourths of respondents -- 77 percent -- called climate change a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" threat to the economy and their way of life, while more than half reported being "very concerned" about the threat of global warming fueling more severe wildfires.

Nearly two-thirds of residents and 59 percent of likely voters surveyed want the government to act now to limit climate change -- whose effects are already evident, according to 65 percent of respondents -- rather than wait for the economy to mend.

July 31, 2013
VIDEO: Transgender teen delivers signatures to Brown's office

A transgender high school student from Manteca delivered more than 5,700 petition signatures to Gov. Jerry Brown's office on Wednesday in hopes that the governor will sign a measure awaiting his approval.

Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lee spoke at hearings for Assembly Bill 1266, which would allow transgender students to choose the bathrooms, physical education classes and school activities that align with their gender identification.

Lee also created an online petition to urge the governor to sign it.

The Senate approved AB 1266, by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, in early July. The Assembly passed the measure in May.

July 31, 2013
UCLA: Recession hit rural baby boomer Californians hardest

RB_Clinical_Test.JPGMiddle-age, low-income workers living in California's rural counties were the most likely to lose their jobs and their health insurance during the severe recession that struck the state six years ago.

That's the conclusion of a new report from researchers at UCLA's Center for Health Policy.

As unemployment more than doubled between 2007 and 2009, the study found, the number of Californians without health insurance rose more than 10 percent to 7.1 million. And while the poorest Californians were able to secure health coverage through the state's Medi-Cal and now-defunct Healthy Families programs, others were left to scramble for coverage.

"Whether because mid-career workers are viewed as too expensive or because there is a deeper bias against older workers, the data suggests the ax is first to fall on the baby boom generation," Shana Alex Lavarreda, the study's lead author, said in a statement accompanying its release. "This might open the door for policymakers to question the fairness of hiring and firing in the next economic cycle."

The study notes that similar impacts of future recessions on health care coverage are likely to be less severe because of the advent of the federal Affordable Care Act. The health care overhaul aims at reducing the state's 7-plus million medically uninsured residents by several million, either through expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility or from private, federally subsidized insurance under the new California Connected health care exchange.

PHOTO: A patient is examined in Carmichael on March 3, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

July 31, 2013
University of California 2012 payroll up 6 percent

berkeleycampus.jpgBy Phillip Reese

The University of California paid its employees across the state $11.22 billion last year, up 6 percent from 2011, according to figures released today.

Academic pay rose by 4 percent to $4.34 billion. Pay for executives and managers rose by 7 percent to $725 million.

"This increase is likely attributable to a combination of factors, including increased research activity and market pressures for more competitive compensation, particularly in the areas of health care, instruction and research," says a statement from UC's Office of the President.

Pay has been a controversial subject across the UC system as tuition continues to increase and state funding has lagged in recent years. The UC Board of Regents recently approved the hiring of a new president, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, at a salary of $570,000 - about $21,000 less than her predecessor.

According to the figure released Wednesday, the number of UC employees grew 2 percent to 191,000 in 2012.

The largest increase in payroll and funding came at the university's teaching hospitals. Pay in health care and allied sciences jumped nearly 10 percent from 2011 to 2012 to $2.56 billion.

Since 2006, UC payroll has increased 37 percent.

PHOTO: This June 1, 2011 photo shows people as they walk through Sproul Plaza near the Sather Gate on the University of California, Berkeley campus Associated Press/Eric Risberg)

July 31, 2013
Big California corporations parking $262 billion offshore

Chevron.jpgA dozen of California's largest corporations are holding nearly $262 billion in foreign earnings in offshore subsidiaries to shield the money from American taxation, according to a new study by a consumer advocacy group.

The 12 are on a list of 105 publicly traded American corporations collectively holding $1.17 trillion in earnings offshore, according to the study by a coalition of state Public Interest Research Group affiliates, including CALPIRG in California.

The critical study is entitled Offshore Shell Games and the PIRG coalition says the practice is depriving federal and state governments of much-needed revenue for public services.

California's Apple, was listed as having has the most offshore holdings of any American corporation, $82.66 billion.

Parking profits in other nations whose corporate tax rates are lower is not illegal, but has been widely criticized by liberal groups.

Chevron, California's largest corporation, is holding $26.5 billion, the report says, and others from the state on the list, by size of the firm, include Hewlett-Packard, $33.4 billion; McKesson, $3.8 billion; Apple, $82.7 billion; Wells-Fargo, $1.3 billion; Intel, $17.5 billion; Safeway, $1.3 billion; Cisco Systems, $41.3 billion; Walt Disney, $566 million; Sysco, $910 million; Google, $33.3 billion; Ingram Micro, $2.1 billion; and Oracle, $20.9 billion.

PHOTO: A Chevron sign is shown in San Francisco, Nov. 2, 2007. Associated Press/Jeff Chiu

July 31, 2013
AM Alert: California hits campaign finance filing deadline

MC_FEDPRES_08.JPGToday, they show us the money.

Midnight marks the deadline for committees -- including those associated with office holders, candidates and ballot initiatives -- to disclose their fundraising data. By the end of the day we'll get a look at where the campaign dollars have coursed in the first half of 2013, offering a preliminary sense of where things stand in, say, the 2014 governor's race.

We'll be on top of it. Check back tomorrow for a report summarizing who gave what to whom in the opening months of 2013.

VIDEO: It wasn't exactly a warm homecoming for Gov. Jerry Brown, who returned from a trip abroad to find a protest of the governor's criminal justice policies, Dan Walters says.

July 31, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Gov. Jerry Brown faces a no-win situation over prison reform

Gov. Jerry Brown has returned from his European vacation only to find himself in a no-win situation over solitary confinement in California prisons, Dan says.

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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