Category: California Proposition 37

Aug 16 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: August 16, 2012

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California Aqueduct

Good Thursday morning!

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 here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Jerry Brown, his dog Sutter in tow, kicks off Prop. 30 campaign

Flanked by education and labor leaders, dozens of schoolchildren and his dog, Sutter, Gov. Jerry Brown formally kicked off his campaign Wednesday for Proposition 30, the measure on the November ballot that would raise taxes on state sales and incomes of more than $250,000.

Brown used a Sacramento high school as the backdrop for the event, calling Proposition 30 a choice about whether Californians want to provide more funding for schools. In vintage Brown style, he quoted from the New Testament to make his pitch to voters, urging them to ask the state’s wealthiest residents to pay higher taxes to boost education spending.

“To those who much has been given, much will be required,” he said quoting from the Gospel of Luke, saying the state’s highest earners “now have an opportunity to give back.”

Brown was joined by his dog, Sutter, decked out in a red vest covered with Yes on 30 stickers for the event.

Under a budget signed by Brown earlier this year, public schools would face about $5 billion in cuts if the measure is rejected by voters. The state’s two public university systems would each face an additional $250-million reduction.

Assembly speaker vows action on public pensions, ‘regulatory reform’

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) said Wednesday that the Legislature would end its two-year session this month by passing measures to overhaul the state’s public pension system and enact a series of “regulatory reforms” to make California more attractive to businesses.

He said he hopes that a combination of “smart cuts and smart investments” will spur voters to approve billions of dollars in tax hikes in November to balance the state’s books.

Speaking at a Capitol news conference, Perez boasted about past achievements — delivering on-time state budgets, approving funding for California’s high-speed rail project, passing protections for homeowners from foreclosure and aggressive bank practices — but provided few details about some of largest items on the legislative agenda in the final weeks of the session.

On pensions, he pledged to deliver “comprehensive action” that goes above and beyond the 12-point plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but he declined to discuss specifics. On business regulations, he said lawmakers would likely consider legislation as part of “an ongoing effort to modernize our regulatory system so that it more accurately reflects real-world realities.”

California meter maids making nearly $100,000

 

Money pours in to defeat food labeling ballot measure

An initiative on the November ballot that would change the way packaged foods are labeled is shaping up like a battle between a tiny health food store and a big box grocery.

Proposition 37 would require new labeling on foods made with genetically-engineered ingredients. That would include just about every processed food that is not organic. As of yesterday, supporters have raised $2.4 million while opponents have raised $25 million – about ten times as much.

A list of supporters reads like the aisle of your local health food store: Eden Foods, Nature’s Path, Amy’s Kitchen, Lundberg Family Farms, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.

A list of opponents is like a stroll through Safeway or WalMart: Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Ocean Spray, Nestle, Kellogg’s, Hershey’s, Sara Lee, General Mills.

Enjoy your morning!

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Aug 15 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: August 15, 2012

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San Diego, California

Good Wednesday morning!

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 here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Jerry Brown and California’s Nurses are active in and around the Capitol today.

Gov. Jerry Brown will be at Sacramento’s New Technology High School this morning to promote Proposition 30, his tax measure on the November ballot. Teachers and others likely to benefit from the proposed tax increases will be joining him for the 10:30 a.m. campaign stop being billed as a “back to school” press conference.

Nurses are rallying outside the Capitol today to draw attention to a report about non-profit hospitals – and whether they earn their tax breaks. The noon rally by the California Nurses Association follows a 10 a.m. hearing on the same subject by the Senate Select Committee on Charity Care and Nonprofit Hospitals.

Dan Morain: Using CEQA as bait, Pérez muscles tax bill

On Monday, Assemblyman Brian Nestande, a Palm Desert Republican, broke with the GOP and voted for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez’s $1 billion tax hike to fund “middle-class scholarships.”

On Tuesday, Nestande ceased being Assembly Republican Caucus chairman.

“I would prefer to say I stepped down,” Nestande told me, though he had no choice.

The rest of us got a peek at how this town works, especially at the end of legislative sessions, when the insiders turn serious about doing their deals.

On the surface, Pérez won big on Monday, muscling his signature piece of legislation through the Assembly. As currently written, his Assembly Bill 1500 would raise taxes by $1 billion on out-of-state companies that sell heavily into California but have little payroll or property here. Think General Motors, Chrysler and, notably, Altria, also known as Philip Morris, the world’s largest cigarette maker.

Republicans are all but irrelevant in the Legislature except when the talk turns to tax increases, which require two-thirds votes. To round up the few Republicans he needs, Pérez is offering sweeteners.

The biggest plum would be an overhaul of the California Environmental Quality Act, the 1970 law signed by then Gov. Ronald Reagan that has been used and sometimes misused to restrict and block development.
In an email that is bouncing around the Capitol, a Pérez aide circulated language for one version of the overhaul. Proponents of the changes say the proposal would remove red tape from development. Environmentalists say the proposal would gut the law.

Unions circulating draft of workers’ compensation overhaul

Labor unions are making a late-blooming effort to raise long-frozen benefits for workers with job-related illnesses and injuries and promising employers enough administrative savings to pay for them.

A 45-point summary of the proposed legislation is circulating among lobbyists who specialize in the multi-billion-dollar workers’ compensation system, seeking to undo, in part, the reforms that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed through the Legislature eight years ago.

The changes could be placed into Senate Bill 863, a workers’ compensation measure being carried by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, when their labor union sponsors line up enough support. Business support is critical because Gov. Jerry Brown has indicated that he wouldn’t sign legislation on the subject that’s opposed by employers.

Biotech food measure Prop. 37 on ballot

The controversy over genetically engineered food has moved up the chain, all the way to the ballot box.

In November, voters will decide whether to make California the first state in the nation to require labels on most genetically modified food products. At least 18 states, including California, have tried to pass similar laws through their legislatures and failed. This time, however, the measure made it to the statewide ballot with 1 million signatures.

Recent polls show the proposal, Proposition 37, winning by a 3-to-1 ratio, although opponents have raised more than $22 million – $4.2 million from agricultural giant Monsanto alone – to the yes campaign’s $2.7 million in anticipation of a media battle leading up to the fall vote. The measure is opposed by deep-pocketed food manufacturers – including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola – the biotech industry and seed companies.

Enjoy your morning!

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