Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 23, 2013
Boxer gives climate award to George W. Bush library

Boxer-Bush.jpgIn the eyes of Sen. Barbara Boxer, former president George W. Bush has gone from an environmental villain to a hero - at his presidential library, at least.

The California Democrat, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committtee, presented a "Climate Hero" award Monday to the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The building achieved the coveted LEED, or Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design, Platinum certification for its sustainable design, construction and operation.

September 23, 2013
Jerry Brown signs law requiring cars to give bicyclists space

brownjanbudget.jpgGov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring motorists to give bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing on a California roadway, after vetoing similar legislation during the last two years.

Assembly Bill 1371, by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, requires motorists to slow down if they can't give room and makes failing to comply an infraction punishable by a fine of $35.

Brown vetoed similar legislation in 2011 and 2012. Last year, the Democratic governor objected to language that would have permitted a motorist to cross a double yellow line to make room for a bicyclist. Brown objected in 2011 to language he said would have required drivers unable to move over to slow to a certain speed, regardless of the speed limit.

The bill was one of 15 Brown announced signing today. Also signed was Senate Bill 568, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, which requires Internet and social media sites to let users under 18 delete items they post, and Assembly Bill 329, by Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, which seeks to curb the use of robotic ticket buying software by scalpers.

Brown vetoed legislation by Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, to increase to 20 from 18 the number of members on the California Commission on Emergency Medical Services, adding representatives from air ambulance and air rescue and transport backgrounds.

Brown noted in his veto message on Senate Bill 535 that he had proposed eliminating the commission in 2011.

"For as long as the commission continues to perform its work," Brown wrote, "there should be no shortage of expertise or willingness of an 18-member body to address all aspects of the system, including air ambulance and air rescue."

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on Jan. 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

September 23, 2013
FPPC's Ravel confirmed to Federal Election Commission

RCB_20130917 FPPC CHAIR 0921_0121 (2).JPGAnn Ravel, chair of the state's ethics watchdog, today received unanimous confirmation to serve on the Federal Election Commission.

The U.S. Senate's vote to confirm Ravel, a Democrat, and Lee Goodman, a Republican, gives the six-member panel their first new commissioners since President Barack Obama took office.

Ellen L. Weintraub, chair of the Federal Election Commission, congratulated the pair in a tweet.

Ravel's departure from the FPPC would clear the way for Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint the agency's second chair of his third term.

As The Bee reported last weekend, the 64-year-old Los Gatos resident has received a fresh wave of attention after delivering on an early promise to focus on major offenses rather than targeting less-significant transgressions. Last week, the FPPC settled with a trio of consultants who agreed that they should have registered as lobbyists.

Ravel also has pursed cases more quickly, particularly on the eve of elections. Last fall, she sued to unmask the source of an $11 million donation from an unknown Arizona group to oppose Brown's Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.

"If you don't have the ability and the gumption to actually enforce your laws that are significant and go to the heart of the trust prior to an election, then you might as well not be in business," Ravel said in an interview last week.

Ravel and Goodman were nominated by Obama in June.

Ravel worked as a U.S. Justice Department official in Washington when Brown appointed her chair three years ago. The Federal Election Commission -- three Democrats and three Republicans -- administers and enforces the Federal Election Campaign Act.

FPPC Chair Ann Ravel gestures during an interview in her office last week. The Sacramento Bee / Renée C. Byer

September 23, 2013
AM Alert: It's cattle call for Sacramento along Capitol Mall

RCB_20110510_PLACERWATER_0074.JPGWell, this gives the term "cowtown" a whole new meaning.

Those of you still in Sacramento despite the Legislature's summer recess might notice a distinctly rural smell coming from Capitol Avenue this morning. That's because cattle from a Yuba County ranch will be crossing the Tower Bridge and ambling along the downtown thoroughfare that leads to the California Capitol building.

The livestock procession comes courtesy of Sacramento's Farm to Fork Festival, a celebration of the River City's record of putting one of the world's most vibrant agricultural regions to good use. We doubt it will help those seeking to refute the provincial reputation Sacramento has a tendency to attract, but it should be fun regardless.

POT POLICY: The U.S. Department of Justice recently joined Washington and Colorado, not to mention some California lawmakers, in pushing to rethink criminal justice by relaxing drug laws. Today the other side of the argument gets aired at a Coalition for a Drug Free California-sponsored marijuana policy conference aimed, according to the event's website, at "revers(ing) current efforts to legitimize the drug."

Speakers at the event, held today and Tuesday in Rancho Cucamonga, will include Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Coalition for a Drug Free California founder and former White House drug adviser Paul Chabot, former state senator Nate Holden, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, California Police Chiefs Association lobbyist John Lovell, and Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles.

INSIDER ACCESS: A few new goodies are available now on Capitol Alert's new politics app for tablet and iPhone: a fresh caricature of a Sacramento insider and the latest in our series of profiles of new lawmakers, helping you make sense of a record-breaking freshman class. Available now on the Capitol Alert Insider Access app.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, who turns 36 today.

PHOTO: Cattle belonging to a rancher in Lincoln do some ambling on May 10, 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Renée C. Byer.


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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