The Capitol is quiet this week as everyone heads home for the holidays, so what better time to look back on the year that was? Even with Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, there was plenty of political drama to keep us captivated: corruption charges, the health care roll-out, and controversial battles over issues like gun control and minimum wage. In the spirit of December (which may as well be renamed National Year-End Lists Month), here is a review of the biggest stories of 2013 on the Capitol Alert blog, as determined by page views.
The year's top post: Updated homeless 'bill of rights' passes CA legislative committee (April 23, 2013)
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's "homeless bill of rights" caused an immediate firestorm when it was introduced last December. The San Francisco Democrat's proposal to create a statewide baseline of civil rights for the homeless — including protection of "life sustaining activities" such as sleeping on sidewalks and urinating — drew intense pushback from cities across California, many of which had already passed laws prohibiting those same behaviors. The California Chamber of Commerce even named the legislation one of its annual "job killers."
So when an amended version of Ammiano's bill made it out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee last April, there was a lot of public interest. The story drew by far the biggest traffic of the year on the Capitol Alert blog, especially as the news went viral across the country.
The bill later stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee over the cost of proposed new public hygiene facilities and it likely won't be going anywhere in 2014. But Ammiano's office said he hopes to introduce more legislation on homelessness in the new year.
The rest of the top ten:
2.State auditor: California's net worth at negative $127.2 billion (March 28, 2013)
3. Big California corporations parking $262 billion offshore (July 31, 2013)
4. More gun-control legislation approved by California Senate (May 29, 2013)
5. Gov. Jerry Brown: California's budget deficit is gone (Jan. 10, 2013)
6. New battle coming over California's minimum wage (December 17, 2012)
7. FBI raids offices of California Sen. Ron Calderon, Latino Caucus (June 4, 2013)
8. Jerry Brown, lawmakers reach budget deal (June 10, 2013)
9. California health exchange reveals premium costs (May 23, 2013)
10. State Sen. Michael Rubio resigns, will take job with Chevron (February 22, 2013)
PHOTO: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli