Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 6, 2013
Robo-calls attack California lawmaker over porn-condom bill

condoms.JPGAssemblyman Isadore Hall has revived his attempts to require adult film actors to use condoms during filming, and proponents aren't taking chances that the legislation will stall a second time this year.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has launched a campaign that includes targeting a lawmaker they say is "single-handedly blocking" Hall's bill. Its efforts follow a porn industry announcement Friday that a third adult film actor has tested positive for HIV, prompting a call for an immediate halt to all production.

"That's three in past three weeks," said Ged Kenslea, spokesman for the foundation. "How many more people need to get infected before action happens?"

Hall, a Compton Democrat, authored a bill earlier this year mirroring the Los Angeles County measure that prohibits unprotected sex by porn actors. Hall's bill would take the ban statewide. His first attempt this year, Assembly Bill 332, failed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in May.

September 6, 2013
Senate approves bill limiting out-of-state athlete compensation

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A measure aimed at limiting workers compensation claims by out-of-state professional athletes breezed through the state Senate Friday on a 34-2 vote.

The measure by Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, would dramatically reduce the circumstances under which out-of-state athletes could file workers compensation claims, closing a loophole and cutting costs for professional organizations, supporters say.

"These changes are necessary to ensure that the California workers compensation system is no longer unjustly exploited and burdened by professional athletes from every state in America," said Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who co-authored the measure with Ted Lieu, D-Torrance.

"There is no reason an out-of-state athlete should seek these benefits in California if he never was employed by a California team."

Supporters of the measure say such practices by outside athletes have clogged court dockets and caused employers to absorb escalating costs.

The measure, which must go back to the Assembly for a final vote, requires an athlete to have played for a California-based team for at least two years and to have spent no more than seven seasons with an out-of-state team in order to file for benefits.

September 6, 2013
Measure to extend statute of limitations for sex abuse victims advances

SB131.jpgA bill to extend the statute of limitations for some sex abuse victims narrowly passed the state Senate on Friday.

The vote was 21-8 in the 40-member house, the minimum required for passage. It now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill, which was resurrected after failing last month amid fierce lobbying from the Catholic Church and others, would open a yearlong window for those excluded from a 2003 law that extended the time during which sexual abuse victims can file a civil lawsuit.

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, punctuated the debate with moving testimony about his own struggles arising from the abuse he suffered from a member of his own family. Lara, who referred to himself as a "high-level survivor," said he knows many of his legislative colleagues have been pressured by the church not to support the bill.

Still, he urged them to support the measure on behalf of countless abused children, including those that have contemplated suicide.

"You never really forget," Lara said. "It's always in the back of your mind."

September 6, 2013
Energy industry pushing late-hour changes to California fracking bill

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A formidable energy lobbying group has been pushing to relax permitting requirements in a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing, a move advocates say would undercut the type of environmental review the bill seeks to establish.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called "fracking," involves firing a cocktail of chemicals and pressurized water deep underground to dislodge oil and gas locked in geological formations. It has become a prominent issue this session, with legislators floating several bills to regulate the process and bolster what they call lax oversight from the Department of Conservation arm responsible for oil and gas drilling.

All but one of those bills expired amid strenuous opposition from the energy industry. Senate Bill 4, by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, has passed the Senate and awaits an Assembly floor vote.

The bill would have energy companies inform communities about planned fracking projects, mandate more disclosure of the type of chemicals used for various fracking jobs and create a permitting system for fracking -- triggering the type of environmental review associated with conventional oil and gas wells that currently require permits.

Now, with the window to send bills to the governor rapidly narrowing, the industry has begun lobbying legislators over the environmental review the bill would impose on fracking jobs. Industry representatives have warned that those requirements would bog down new projects, potentially entangling them in time-consuming litigation brought via the California Environmental Quality Act, according to several environmental groups that have sounded the alarm about the late lobbying effort.

September 6, 2013
Bill expanding paid family leave heading to Gov. Jerry Brown

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Legislators have sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would expand California's paid family leave program, allowing workers to take paid time off to care for a greater variety of family members.

Currently, California workers can take up to 6 weeks of paid family leave to care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or domestic partner. Senate Bill 770 would allow workers to take paid time off to care for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws. The partial pay workers receive during the leave comes from deductions from employee paychecks.

The bill by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, passed the Senate on a 25-11 concurrence vote today, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed.

PHOTO: Senate President Pro Temp Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento; Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara; and Sen. Norma Torres, D-Pomona, in the Senate chambers on May 20, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

September 6, 2013
AM Alert: All-day sessions lie ahead for California lawmakers

RB_Capitol_Dome.JPGBack from a one-day hiatus for Rosh Hashanah, lawmakers return today for what are expected to be daylong sessions sorting through the mass of bills awaiting floor votes.

Things get started at 10 a.m. for both the Senate and the Assembly and continue through happy hour, until about 6 p.m., as we roll along into the final week of the 2013 legislative session, which ends next Friday.

VIDEO: The most interesting bill remaining before the Legislature has yet to get a hearing. Dan Walters explains.

TRANSIT BILL MOVING: We brought you news earlier this week of Gov. Jerry Brown moving to keep the federal transportation funding spigot open by releasing transit workers from the new pension law. The bill serving as a vessel for the exemption is double-booked today -- it stops first in the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee before chugging over to Senate Appropriations -- reflecting an expectation that this legislation will zoom, with bullet-train-like speed, to Brown's desk.

YOUNG REPUBLICANS: Members of the California Young Republican Federation will gather in Long Beach this weekend for a convention, where the state's conservatives will hear from Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Lakeside; Assembly members Eric Linder, Diane Harkey, Travis Allen and Mike Morrell; Sens. Bob Huff and Mimi Walters; and California Republican Party Chair Jim Brulte.

LABORLAND: Also beginning this weekend is a five-day national convention of the AFL-CIO in Los Angeles, featuring bigwigs like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka. President Barack Obama

CELEBRATIONS: Several lawmakers are marking birthdays this weekend. Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, turns 72 today; Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, celebrates her 49th birthday on Saturday; and Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, will be 68 on Sunday.

September 6, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Will Kings arena bill survive?

Dan Walters ponders the fate of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's last-minute push to help his home city of Sacramento build a new arena.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.



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Capitol Alert Staff


Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. jwhite@sacbee.com. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. achance@sacbee.com. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. ccadelago@sacbee.com. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert. mmassimino@sacbee.com

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. lrosenhall@sacbee.com. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. dwalters@sacbee.com. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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