Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

June 13, 2014
Jerry Brown, legislative leaders tout budget agreement

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders made it clear Friday that they have reached an agreement on a new state budget.

"The leaders of the Legislature have worked very hard to build a solid and sustainable budget that pays down debt, brings stability to the teachers' pension system and builds at long last a reliable Rainy Day Fund," Brown said in the statement, which included comments from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

The statement, instead of a joint appearance that once routinely accompanied budget deals, arrived some 17 hours after the Legislature's budget-writing committee finished work on a package of spending items that reflected compromises with the administration.

The $108 billion general fund agreement contains more money for preschool, home caregivers and welfare payments, and allocates hundreds of millions in cap-and-trade revenue to high-speed rail, sustainable development, and other green causes. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the package Sunday afternoon.

In Friday's statement, Atkins praised the agreement as "building a foundation for the future."

"We help reduce child poverty, so every child can learn and grow to reach their greatest potential, and we improve preschool, and child care for working families," Atkins said in the statement.

Steinberg said the deal "proves once again that negotiation and cooperation can achieve a great outcome."

"We're expanding preschool for our youngest and career pathway programs for our older students," Steinberg said. "In addition, we're changing the course of our failed corrections system with better solutions to help offenders become productive citizens, and making smart investments to fight climate change with permanent funding for mass transit and affordable housing."

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown leaves the podium with Senate Presdient Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg after he delivered the 2014 State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 at the State Capitol.The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.

June 13, 2014
Democrats Bera, Peters say they're eager to debate GOP rivals


A pair of targeted freshman California Democrats are as eager as their Republican challengers to debate in the general election.

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, issued a press release the day after the June 3 primary saying he hoped Republican Doug Ose would agree to a debate "so that the voters get the opportunity to see where we stand."

Ose is also ready to debate, saying on election night he's willing to engage "anytime, anywhere." On Thursday, he sent a formal letter to his rival inviting him to a series of five debates because "the issues facing our great nation are too important to be left to 30-second TV ads and sound bites."

Challengers, who have less to lose, most often push hardest for debates. But it certainly isn't unheard of for incumbents to demand engagement.

In San Diego, Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, upped the ante the day after the primary, prodding Republican Carl DeMaio to participate in 10 debates, including five issue-specific forums.

DeMaio, who even before the primary signaled his willingness to stand toe-to-toe, said he looked forward to working out a debate schedule.

Editor's Note: This post was recast at 4:36 p.m. June 13, 2014 to reflect that Ose suggested a debate on the night of the election.

PHOTO: Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, attends his primary election party with supporters at Lamppost Pizza on June 3 in Elk Grove. The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki Jr.

June 13, 2014
VIDEO: No dancing, but Chris Christie calls success in blue state proof Kashkari has a chance

christiekashkari2.jpgSAN FRANCISCO - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Friday that his own victory in a Democratic-leaning state in 2009 is evidence a Republican can win the governorship in California, but he stopped short of committing resources from the Republican Governors Association to the state's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Neel Kashkari.

"No one thought I was going to win in 2009," Christie, chairman of the RGA, told reporters at a flower store in San Francisco. "I'm out here to support Neel to let him know it can happen, but what you have to do is reach out to everybody."

The appearance was Kashkari's first major event since advancing from the primary election last week, defeating tea party rival Tim Donnelly. But Kashkari faces an uphill climb against incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown. Kashkari finished about 35 percentage points behind the third-term Democrat in the primary election, and Brown enjoys a massive fundraising advantage.

Christie, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, overcame a Democratic registration advantage to win election in New Jersey in 2009. His opponent, Jon Corzine, was highly unpopular, however, while Brown's job approval ratings are soaring.

Christie was in California raising money for the governors association. He suggested any direct financial assistance to Kashkari is not imminent.

Watch: Christie busts a move on "Tonight Show"

"I will do whatever is possible for us to do to make this race competitive," Christie said. "Now, at the end of the day it's up to him. You know, as I said before, each race is up to the individual candidate. And what the RGA can do is when we have a close race we can be the folks who help to push that person over the finish line. He's got work to do. He knows he's got work to do. He didn't just wake up this morning, OK? He knows how difficult this race is. But I believe he's going to do the work, and when he does do the work you're going to see not only the RGA but lots of Republicans across the country, when they see an opportunity to win here in California, are going to be really rushing here to try to make that statement."

PHOTO: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie campaigns with California Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari in San Francisco on June 13, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

June 13, 2014
VIDEO: Chris Christie calls Rick Perry 'wrong' on homosexuality

christiekashkari.jpgSAN FRANCISCO - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Friday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's remarks comparing homosexuality to alcoholism are "wrong," as Christie campaigned in San Francisco with Neel Kashkari, California's Republican candidate for governor.

Asked about Perry's comments, which caused a stir in San Francisco, where he made them, Christie said, "I'll just say that I disagree with them, and I don't believe that's an apt analogy and not one that should be made, because I think it's wrong."

Perry and Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, are both potential presidential candidates. Asked about another comment of Perry's, in which the Texas governor reportedly praised Hillary Clinton for her time as secretary of state, Perry demurred.

"I have to tell you the truth," he said. "I haven't spent a lot of time analyzing Secretary Clinton's time at the State Department. If there comes a time when I need to, then I'll give you my analysis then, but I don't have one now."

PHOTO: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie campaigns with California Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari in San Francisco on June 13, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

June 13, 2014
AM Alert: California budget deadline looms

budgetsign.jpgAgreements have been reached on controversial issues involving overtime pay for home care workers, the use of cap-and-trade money and expansion of pre-kindergarten, but some details of next year's budget still need to be hammered out.

With the deadline just two days away, look for the deal to be mostly wrapped up today. If lawmakers don't pass a budget by midnight Sunday, they begin losing wages, and legislators are scheduled to return to Sacramento for floor sessions on Sunday afternoon.

Sorry, Capitol dads. Looks like this year's Father's Day will be a little less relaxing than the standard breakfast in bed.

VIDEO: Rep. Kevin McCarthy's likely ascension to House majority leader is bad news for California's high-speed rail proponents, Dan Walters says.

DEAR GRADUATES: Just a month after his last visit to the state on a fundraising tour through Southern California and Silicon Valley, President Barack Obama returns to California to deliver the commencement address at UC Irvine. Obama arrives in Palm Springs tonight and will be there for most of the weekend. He will attend a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in Los Angeles Saturday morning before heading to Angel Stadium in Anaheim to speak at UC Irvine's graduation ceremony, which kicks off the school's 50th anniversary celebration.

CLASH OF THE GOVS: Texas Gov. Rick Perry fanned the flames of his political rivalry with Gov. Jerry Brown during a visit to the Capitol this week. Is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie next to enter the fray? He'll appear with Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari during a "small business tour" of San Francisco at 8:30 a.m.

OH FATHER: Father's Day isn't just for family celebrations; it's also an opportunity for political action. The Fathers' Rights Movement and the Grandparents' Rights Association of the USA hold a rally at 8 a.m. on the west steps of the Capitol calling for greater rights for fathers and grandparents in raising children. Fathers for Justice will be on the north steps at 11 a.m. urging an overhaul of the divorce and family law courts that allows for "equal parenting rights."

CELEBRATIONS: An early happy birthday to Assembly members Nora Campos, D-San Jose, who turns 49 on Sunday, and Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, who turns 44. And, of course, a happy, mostly budget-free Father's Day to all of the dads in the Capitol community.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown holds up a copy of the signed state budget at the Capitol on Thursday, June 27, 2013, in Sacramento as then-Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles, left, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, center, and Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, right, celebrate in the background. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling

June 13, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: McCarthy ascension could doom high-speed rail

Kevin_McCarthy.JPGRep. Kevin McCarthy's likely ascension to House majority leader is bad news for California's high-speed rail proponents, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

PHOTO: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, at the Republican National Convention inside the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 1, 2008. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer


Capitol Alert Staff

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. Twitter: @DanielSnowSmith

Jim Miller Jim Miller covers California policy and politics and edits Capitol Alert. Twitter: @jimmiller2

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

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

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

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers the Legislature. Twitter: @capitolalert

Koseff Alexei Koseff edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @akoseff

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

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