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Feb 19 2013

The California Flap: February 19, 2013

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Jerry BussJerry Buss R.I.P.

The California Legislature is in session.

Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to today’s California headlines:

  • Jerry Buss dies at 80; Lakers owner brought ‘Showtime’ success to L.A. – When Jerry Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, he wanted to build a championship team. He also wanted to put on a show. The new owner gave courtside seats to movie stars. He hired pretty women to dance during timeouts. He spent freely on big stars and encouraged a fast-paced, exuberant style of play. As the Lakers sprinted to one NBA title after another, Buss cut an audacious figure in the stands, an aging playboy in bluejeans, often with a younger woman by his side.
  • California inmates renew demands – California prison inmates housed in the state’s highest-security prison have sent an open letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, threatening hunger strikes and work stoppages if the state does not limit the length of time prisoners can be held in isolation cells. The undated letter, signed by four prisoners housed in segregation at Pelican Bay State Prison, contends California prison officials failed to deliver on promises made to end a series of prison hunger strikes that involved as many as 6,500 inmates in 2011. Giving a July 8 deadline, the inmates ask for an end to indefinite holding of prisoners in Security Housing Units, where they are isolated from other inmates, denied privileges and allowed out of the cell 90 minutes a day.
  • N.J. Gov. Christie in La Jolla, Romney sons join the party – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie swooped into town last week for a fundraiser in La Jolla that drew about 50 people, including two of Mitt Romney’s sons, Matt and Craig. The robust governor alienated many Mitt Romney supporters by making nice with President Barack Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and just days before the November election. The La Jolla conclave came between a similar cash grab in Los Angeles on Monday and one in Santa Barbara on Wednesday. Christie was warmly received here with no rancor stemming from his recent coziness with the president, according to Ron Nehring, vice chair of the county GOP.
  • Battle builds over calculating California Public Employee pensions – Debate is brewing across the state over which types of pay can be counted toward a public worker’s pension — fallout from landmark changes that went into effect this year. The overhaul, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, was intended to slash swelling pension costs by raising the retirement age for new workers and increasing employee pension contributions. The sweeping revision, known as the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013, also limits what’s considered pensionable compensation. This is crucial because it’s aimed to curb pension spiking and other issues that have caused governments to bleed money. However, redefining what types of pay can be used to determine pension amounts has led to at least four legal challenges from labor groups mainly in northern California. And the state’s largest public retirement system, which includes nearly all the cities in San Diego County, has stepped in to offer its interpretation of the term.
  • California’s budget windfall could end soon, officials say – The surge of revenue that showed up unexpectedly in state coffers last month may well be offset by a revenue dip in coming months, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. The surprise money has been the source of much speculation in the Capitol. Unanticipated tax receipts filled state coffers with more than $5 billion beyond initial projections for January — more tax dollars than are allocated to the entire state university system in a year. The revenue bump was historic. But the question for budget experts was whether lawmakers could begin allocating the windfall toward government programs and tax breaks — or whether the money amounted to an accounting anomaly.
  • California Higher-Ed: Regents Deny Critics a Fair Hearing
  • Will higher taxes on the rich derail California’s economic comeback?
  • Crazifornia: Will it be Gov. Brownout? – With long-time environmentalist Gov. Jerry Brown at California’s helm, green-leaning Democrat super-majorities in both houses of the state legislature and entrenched eco-crats ruling the state’s regulatory agencies, the AES plant is certain to remain shuttered no matter what the summer may bring. The carbon crusaders simply cannot afford to allow a high-profile precedent to undercut the centerpiece of their carbon-fighting battle so early in the auction’s history. So, should brownouts and blackouts return to California this summer, remember this: It wasn’t really problems at the San Onofre nuclear power plant that caused them. It was problems in the thinking of California’s leadership.
  • Manuel Rojas, burrito maestro of El Tepeyac has passed away? – Reports on social media are saying that the proprietor of Manny’s Original El Tepeyac in Boyle Heights has died. KFI News tweeted that employees of the burrito stand on Evergreen Avenue confirmed Rojas’ death. The station notes Rojas is credited with creating the Hollenbeck Burrito: it’s made with pork verde, rice, beans and guacamole and topped with chile verde.
  • Bill would require 3-day wait before California state lawmakers act – Jamming major bills through the Legislature at the last minute with little if any time for review has been an ongoing source of frustration for some lawmakers, especially minority Republicans. The practice has been used often on budget bills, forcing lawmakers to vote on spending issues with long-term consequences without having the ability to actually read what’s in them. That would change under legislation being proposed by two lawmakers. ADVERTISEMENT The identical bills by Democratic Sen. Lois Wolk of Davis and Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto would require all legislation to be in print and online 72 hours before it comes to a vote. Both bills would be constitutional amendments and would have to be approved by the voters. To get on the ballot, SCA10 or ACA4 need a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.
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