Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

August 14, 2013
Steinberg still trying to get California environmental law deal

JM_INFILL_TERRASSA_BUILD.JPGSenate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told his fellow legislators Wednesday that he's still trying to find a middle ground on reforming the California Environmental Quality Act, but he's determined to enact something by the end of the legislative session next month.

"Let's get something done," Steinberg told the Assembly Local Government Committee.

On a 5-0 vote, the committee approved the current version of his reform measure, Senate Bill 731, on assurances that it's a "work in progress."

The current version still lacks support from business groups and some local governments seeking big changes in the four-decade-old law and union and environmental groups that oppose big changes. Gov. Jerry Brown has also made CEQA reform a major cause and has given Steinberg his own list of reforms.

August 14, 2013
House Democrats press Jerry Brown to sign immigrant bill

sitinbrown.jpgHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other members of California's Democratic congressional delegation urged Gov. Jerry Brown in a letter this week to sign state legislation to prevent local police from detaining people based on their immigration status unless they have been convicted of a felony or serious crime.

The letter, signed by 28 lawmakers and dated Monday, comes after immigration activists staged a sit-in at the Democratic governor's office last month in support of Assembly Bill 4.

In their letter, the lawmakers said the bill "sets clear, uniform standards to limit burdensome detentions of aspiring citizens by local law enforcement solely on the basis of federal immigration detainer requests."

Brown vetoed similar legislation last year but signaled in his veto message that the legislation could be amended to gain his support.

The lawmakers said in their letter that the current version of the bill gives law enforcement "much broader discretion to honor detainer requests than last year's vetoed bill."

The bill, by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, was passed by the Assembly in May but has yet to clear the Senate.

PHOTO: Five immigration activists, including a legal observer, sit in Gov. Jerry Brown's reception area to lobby him on an immigration bill on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Pictured, from left to right, are Hugo Gonzalez, Kenia Alcocer and Alex Aldana. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

August 14, 2013
Unions, local governments clash over campaign restrictions

130814_HA_LEGISLATORS1392.jpgAn unusual alliance of unions, Common Cause and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association lined up Tuesday behind late-blooming legislation that would crack down on use of public resources to promote ballot measures.

The legislation, Senate Bill 594, is clearly aimed at local government umbrella groups such as the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties that frequently turn to the ballot to pursue their political causes. And the chief promoters of the legislation are the unions that represent city and county employees.

While the use of taxpayer funds for political purposes is banned by law now, critics say governments have skirted the law by using non-profit subsidiary organizations to campaign for ballot measures. The legislation would impose tighter restrictions on non-profit groups' use of funds and other resources paid by taxpayers for campaigning.

However, city and county representatives complained to the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee that the bill singles them out to limit their ability to use the ballot while exempting school districts and other public agencies from the measure's new restrictions. Later, the bill's new author, Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, agreed to extend the measure's provisions to school districts, and it won committee approval on a 5-0 vote.

SB 594 originally went through the Senate with entirely different language and dealing with an entirely different subject, but last week, through a "gut and amend" maneuver, it was changed to a new purpose and Hill became its author.

"This is a very strange set of bedfellows," Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Two Peaks, said of those lined up behind the bill.

PHOTO: Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, talks with Senator Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, during session in the Senate chambers in Sacramento, Calif. on Monday, March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

August 14, 2013
AM Alert: Kevin McCarthy faces immigration heat

RBMcCarthy6.JPGAfter passing the Senate by a broad margin in late June, the federal immigration bill arrived at the House of Representatives and promptly got bogged down. But while the legislation is stalled, its supporters are moving.

Immigration advocates from across the state -- 45 cities at last count -- stream into Bakersfield today for a rally and a march to the district office of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, urging the House majority whip and his Republican colleagues to take up the immigration reform bill. Speakers at the event include Eliseo Medina, international secretary-treasurer of SEIU; Maria Elena Durazo of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and labor icon Dolores Huerta.

VIDEO: The end of session legislative scramble has set off the typical lobbyist feeding frenzy, Dan Walters says.

BACK FROM THE DEAD: The deadline for Assembly bills to make it out of Senate policy committees passed weeks ago, but this morning members of the upper house will consider waiving that restriction to revive four bills that, if the procedural move works, will be eligible to go before committees next week. It requires a two-thirds vote -- which the Democrats have just enough bodies to muster, if they get support from every senator -- so there's a fair chance of some Republican howling if this goes through. The bills facing revivification are AB 199, AB 401, AB 906 and AB 1008.

August 14, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: With California session's end, fundraising flares

The end of session brings busy days at the State Capitol, Dan says - and busy nights for the various Capitol restaurants and venues hosting fundraisers.

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

More Capitol Alert

Capitol Alert on Twitter

Popular Categories

Now on


November 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Monthly Archives

Latest California Clips