Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 11, 2013
Jerry Brown signs limo safety bill after deadly roadside fire

US_NEWS_LIMOFIRE_2_OX.jpgFollowing a fatal limousine fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he has signed a measure to boost safety on roadways by requiring additional exits in the passenger compartments of the vehicles.

Senate Bill 109 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-Hayward, came after the bridge fire claimed the lives of five women in May and a separate accident a month later in which 10 women escaped serious injuries in Walnut Creek.

Corbett said in a statement that her bill will protect limousine passengers in emergencies.

"This important bill requires additional exit points to prevent a future tragedy similar to the one that occurred on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge last May," Corbett said.

October 11, 2013
Jerry Brown signs lead ammo ban, vetoes bill to ban semi-automatic rifles

brownmics.jpgGov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday banning the use of lead ammunition in hunting, but he vetoed the most controversial gun control bill the Legislature sent to him this year, a proposal to ban the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles.

The bills were among the highest profile in a package of gun control bills Brown acted on Friday. He signed legislation requiring long gun purchasers to take a firearm safety class and adding criminal liability for firearm storage that endangers a child, but he vetoed bills that would have limited the transfer of unsafe handguns and let Oakland enact its own, stricter gun control laws.

The broadest measure, Senate Bill 374, by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would have banned the sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines capable of rapid shooting. It also would have required anyone who has legally owned an assault weapon in the past 13 years to register it with the Department of Justice.

"The State of California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, including bans on military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines," Brown said in a veto message. "While the author's intent is to strengthen these restrictions, this bill goes much farther by banning any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine."

Brown said the law would ban rifles commonly used in hunting, firearms training and marksmanship.

"I don't believe that this bill's blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners' rights," Brown wrote.

October 11, 2013
Democrat Freddie Rodriguez sworn into California Assembly

FreddieRodriguez.jpgThe California Assembly swore in its newest member Friday morning, welcoming Democrat Freddie Rodriguez to the green carpet.

The former Pomona City Council member now represents the 52nd Assembly District, including the southern California communities of Pomona, Montclair, Ontario, and Chino.

He is taking the seat previously held by Democrat Norma Torres, who now serves in the state Senate.

As the legislative musical chairs continue with special elections, two vacancies still remain in the Assembly. Democrats in the lower house are one seat away from reclaiming a two-thirds supermajority.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, greets others at the reception following his swearing in at the California state Capitol on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Laurel Rosenhall

October 11, 2013
AM Alert: California's bill-signing deadline looms large

LSBUDGETSIGN4.JPGAfter months of committee hearings, votes, behind-the-scenes lobbying and demonstrations on the California Capitol steps, it comes down to Sunday. Oct. 13, 2013, marks the terminus: the last day for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign bills on his desk.

As of this writing, Brown had already come down on many of the prominent and deeply-disputed bills, with a nixed teacher dismissal bill becoming the latest casualty.

But several measures still occupy Brown's attention in the final hours, including a gun control bills that have prompted volleys of debate, legislation to loosen sentencing requirements for non-serious drug offenses, a bill sanctioning cities that don't offer a prevailing wage and a resuscitated push to expand the statute of limitations for prosecuting sex offenders.

Stick with us. We'll be here to the bitter end.

VIDEO: Dan Walters looks ahead to what could be a pulverizing pension push on the 2014 ballot.

ASSEMBLY FRESHMAN: The latest beneficiary of California's special elections takes the oath of office today. Former Pomona City Council member Freddie Rodriguez gets sworn in on the Assembly floor this morning by Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez, D-Los Angeles, with Sen. Norma Torres -- whose departure for the Assembly gave Rodriguez his shot -- looking on. With this latest addition, Assembly Democrats are one seat away from reclaiming a two-thirds supermajority.

FOOD FEST: Paying homage to California's agricultural riches, an "Envisioning California" conference at Sacramento State today will take a look at food policy, from farming practices to the intersection of immigration with agriculture to the future of the "Farm to Fork" movement Sacramento has sought so assiduously to sprout. From 9:30 a.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria on I Street.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown holds up the state budget he signed during a ceremony at the Capitol on June 27, 2013, in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling.

October 11, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California pension push could head to ballot

Of the ballot measures that could go before voters in 2014, Dan says an effort to rein in public pensions could be the most significant.

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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