Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 7, 2013
Steve Peace drops California privacy-inspired ballot initiative

JD_PEACE_BRULTE.JPGCiting a potentially inauspicious analysis, former lawmaker Steve Peace and retired trial lawyer Michael Thorsnes have pulled the plug on a proposed state ballot initiative that would have added new privacy protections to California's constitution.

Peace and Thorsnes turned some heads in the technology community after teaming up on the proposal, which would have enshrined in the state constitution the presumption that someone's personally identifying information -- including data on health and finances -- is confidential when collected for commercial or governmental purposes.

Peace told The Sacramento Bee on Monday that he decided to drop the effort after the Legislative Analyst's Office warned it could spur "unknown but potentially significant costs to state and local governments from additional or more costly lawsuits, increased court workload, data security improvements, and changes to information-sharing practices."

"We're back to the drawing board," said Peace, who was appointed finance director by Gov. Gray Davis after being termed out of the Legislature.

Proponents were inspired in part by the saga of former National Security Agency contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Peace recalled attending a fundraiser for fellow Democrats where Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and colleagues roundly condemned Snowden's leaking of classified information on government surveillance and called for swift U.S. action. Peace has said he believes Snowden could have been charged with crimes but said President Barack Obama's administration was wrong to bring charges of espionage.

Thorsnes, a longtime Democratic fundraiser, photographer and poet who published an anthology under the pseudonym Rowdy O'Yeats, got on board with the consumer privacy effort after becoming a mentor to Peace's law-school son, Chad Peace.

Supporters would have had to collect 807,615 signatures from registered voters by Feb. 24. But Peace said he struggled to coalesce the entire privacy community and "couldn't in good conscious ask people to spend 25 million bucks" on a proposal "where we were going to have to spend all of our time on defense" because of the analyst's analysis.

"We would never win the argument with the legislative analyst," Peace said.

"It was too big a hurdle."

PHOTO: Steve Peace, left, then budget director to Gov. Gray Davis, chats with Republican Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga during budget negotiations in July 2003. The Sacramento Bee/ John Decker

October 7, 2013
Jerry Brown vetoes bill on jury duty for legal immigrants

JerryBrownRecordTenure.jpgGov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have allowed legal immigrants to serve on juries, saying in a veto message Monday that the responsibility should be reserved for U.S. citizens.

This has been a momentous legislative session for immigrant advocates, who have seen Brown sign measures that allow undocumented immigrants to practice law, shield immigrants from labor discrimination, allow driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants and bar local law enforcement from detaining immigrants who have committed nonserious crimes.

But Brown drew the line at allowing non-citizens to preside over the legal fate of their peers, saying in a veto message that "jury service, like voting, is a quintessential prerogative and responsibility of citizenship."

"This bill would permit lawful residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury," Brown wrote in his message. "I don't think that's right."

Supporters of the legislation, Assembly Bill 1401, argued that it would relieve the strain on courts that have difficulty filling juries. They noted that the notion of who qualifies for jury service has evolved over time, since African Americans and women were once excluded, and suggested that the proposal would help legal permanent residents integrate into American society.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown, center, walks through the state Capitol in Sacramento on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.

October 7, 2013
AM Alert: Last week for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign or veto bills

20131003_brown0115.JPGA week from today, it will be over.

By "it" we mean the 2013 legislative process: Lawmakers adjourned for recess back in mid-September, shifting the focus to Gov. Jerry Brown and his all-important pen. This coming Sunday, Oct. 13, marks the final day for the governor to decide which bills become law and which ones expire via veto.

Brown has already passed judgment on some high-profile measures, including legislation to regulate hydraulic fracturing, raise California's minimum wage and offer driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. (The latter two got multiple signing ceremonies.)

But a few heavily lobbied, closely watched measures still await, including bills that would ban lead ammunition, bar out-of-state athletes from claiming worker's compensation, and change the statute of limitation for sexual abuse cases. Stick with us to see what happens.

VIDEO: It's no accident that the governor has saved some of the most controversial bills for last, Dan Walters says.

RECALL RECOLLECTION: A decade has passed since the electoral free-for-all that saw then-Gov. Gray Davis recalled in favor of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Today marks the 10-year anniversary of that fateful 2003 election. Some of the candidates will hold a reunion at the state Capitol this coming Saturday, and filmmaker Jayson Haedrich has a documentary on the recall that's expected to be screened at Sacramento State University later this month -- more details on both later.

COLLEGE COSTS: An Assembly Higher Education Committee hearing today will take a look at college access and affordability. Because it's a district event rather than one in the state Capitol, the event will be heavy on perspectives from UC Santa Barbara staff (committee chair Das Williams represents the area), but it will also include testimony from Judy Heiman of the Legislative Analyst's Office and from Jamillah Moore of the California Student Aid Commission. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown signs AB 60, which allows driver's licenses to be issued to undocumented immigrants, at Fresno City College on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.

October 7, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown faces key decisions this week

With decisions made on "low-hanging" legislation, Dan says, Gov. Jerry Brown must turn to the more momentous bills awaiting his verdict.

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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