Tag Archive: California Air Resources Board

Feb 20 2013

The California Flap: February 20, 2013

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California Cap and Trade

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:

  • Mistake in First California Carbon Auction Raises Questions About Secrecy – California’s cap-and-trade program to cut greenhouse gases resumed this week with its second auction of carbon allowances to industrial polluters. The market is being closely watched around the world, and billions of dollars are at stake. But some nagging questions are lingering from the first auction. The state’s first-ever carbon auction last November was a very exclusive online event, open only to bidders and regulators at the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Four days later, Mary Nichols, who heads the board, declared it a resounding success, saying the auction came off “without a hitch.”
  • Second cap and trade California auction needs big bucks – In a private and somewhat secret event on Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget inched a little more towards balance… or further towards a multi-million dollar hole created by what’s turned out to be relatively low demand for greenhouse gas pollution credits. It was the second of three initial auctions of carbon dioxide credits, and the first since November’s offering came up significantly short in revenues available to the state. Net proceeds won’t be revealed by the California Air Resources Board until Friday.  The first auction brought in $55.8 million, less than a third of the $200 million expected in the governor’s budget through the end of June.
  • We predicted there was no California tax ‘windfall’ – The bottom line is that people react to tax increases. When he was plumping for the $6 billion Proposition 30 tax increase last fall, Gov. Jerry Brown touted a study by two Stanford sociologists that rich people supposedly don’t leave to avoid paying higher taxes. I debunked that study here and here. Wayne Lusvardi did so here. In about two months we’ll know much more about how Prop. 30 — and the federal Obamacare and fiscal cliff — tax increases have affected tax receipts and employment.
  • CalPERS to sell all its stock in two gun manufacturers – The nation’s biggest public pension fund is taking a stand against gun violence by voting to sell all its investments in two firearms manufacturers: Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm, Ruger & Co. On Tuesday, the Investment Committee of the California Public Employees’ retirement System voted to sell about $5 million worth of the gun makers’ stock and other securities. Some of the two companies’ products — particularly assault weapons and cheap handguns, known as Saturday night specials — are illegal in California. They “present a significant danger to the health, safety and lives of California residents, including our members, no matter where such weapons are sold or trafficked in the United States,” read the motion approved by the CalPERS board’s Investment Committee in a 9 to 3 vote. Representatives of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger did not respond to requests for comment on the CalPERS vote.
  • California Insurance commissioner touts new plan for CA health-care regions – Saying the Legislature’s existing proposal could exacerbate rate shock, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones unveiled his own proposal Tuesday for dividing California into geographic regions for implementing federal health-care reform. Jones vowed to appear Wednesday before Senate and Assembly health committees to push his 18-region plan instead of existing legislative proposals for six regions in 2014 and 13 regions in 2015. “I believe very strongly that we should draw regions in a way that minimizes rate increases,” Jones said. Because costs of providing health care differ among communities, residents could find themselves paying higher or lower premiums based on the extent to which regions drawn by the state differ from those currently used by health insurance firms.
  • A Mighty Wind – California Flatulence Jokes
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Feb 06 2013

The California Flap: February 6, 2013

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President Ronald ReaganToday would be the 102nd Birthday of California Governor and President of the United States Ronald Reagan

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:

  • S.F. GOP leader slammed by Republicans – As chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party, attorney Harmeet Dhillon possesses an unusual background for a GOP leader. The Indian American is a past board member of the American Civil Liberties Union and doesn’t focus on the divisive social issues that have alienated the GOP from Californians. But now that Dhillon is running to be vice chair of the California Republican Party – she would be the first female of color in the job – one of the state’s top conservative groups is ripping her for being a little too San Francisco, warning that Dhillon is a Bay Area liberal who “simply doesn’t represent our values.” The California Republican Assembly, a conservative activist group, says Dhillon’s political contributions to Kamala Harris when she was running for San Francisco district attorney and Dhillon’s 2002-05 stint on the board of the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is a deal-breaker.
  • CARB honcho Mary Nichols makes power grab – What do the California Air Resources Board, the Transit Authority, the Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Bar Pilots have in common? More than you would think. Because all vehicles, railroads, aircraft, freight movers and floating vessels are polluters, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols (pictured nearby) would like a say in regulating them. The Assembly Transportation Committee originally announced it would meet on Monday, Feb. 4. The meeting agenda said it was to be about Assembly Bill 8, which would increase or extend $2.3 billion of fees on car owners until 2023. According to Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, these will include smog abatement fees, air quality management district fees, vehicle and boat registration fees and new tire fees. However, AB 8 was dropped from the agenda, and no mention of it was made at the two and one-half hour hearing.
  • California passes up millions for prison healthcare, report says – California’s court-run prison healthcare program is missing out on tens of millions of dollars a year in federal funds because of disagreement with counties and software problems, a new legislative report states. The legislative analyst’s office found increasing numbers of prison inmates who, because of their low income status, are eligible for the state’s Medicaid program. That program, delivered through counties, draws matching federal reimbursements. The LAO notes that federal policy has allowed states to collect federal Medicaid reimbursement for eligible state prison inmates since 1997. The agency states that California has only recently developed a process to obtain this funding, and is not yet seeking the full amount possible.
  • Compromise pot measure placed on May ballot – A third measure to regulate how medical marijuana clinics operate in Los Angeles was placed on the May 21 ballot by the City Council on Tuesday, offered as a compromise to two other measures that are also going before voters. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich urged the council to adopt the measure to resolve the marijuana issue after years of dispute and legal challenges. “This will put in place what we had back in 2010,” Trutanich said. “I believe this is the most sensible regulation we can come up with. This will give us the opportunity to regulate medical marijuana while making it accessible to those who need it.” Under the proposal, approved on a 10-3 vote, the original 135 dispensaries that registered with the city when an interim control ordinance was in place will be able to operate in the city. Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who has admitted using marijuana as part of his cancer treatment, hailed the council action.
  • California cities likely to keep right to ban medical pot dispensaries – California cities appear likely to retain the power to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, over the objections of medical pot advocates who argue such restrictions undermine the state law allowing the use of cannabis for medical reasons. During a hearing Tuesday in San Francisco, the California Supreme Court appeared inclined to allow cities to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in a case that has sweeping ramifications for local governments across the state and in the Bay Area, where dozens of cities have enacted dispensary bans. The dispensaries argue local governments cannot ban what California law allows, but the Supreme Court appeared unready to embrace that position. Most of the justices were openly skeptical of the arguments of a dispensary that challenged Riverside’s right to ban medical pot providers. The justices appeared particularly troubled that the 1996 voter-approved law allowing medical marijuana use, and later legislative revisions, did not expressly bar local gov..
  • Gov. Brown dismisses Texas’ job-poaching efforts as ‘a big nothing’ – Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday dismissed the efforts of Texas Gov. Rick Perry to recruit California businesses to relocate as a political stunt motivated by a breathless media. The story received wide attention Monday when the Texas governor launched a statewide radio ad urging California businesses to move to the Lone Star State to take advantage of what Perry called a more favorable environment for companies. Speaking at a news conference in West Sacramento, the California governor quoted philosopher Marshall McLuhan as Brown dismissed Perry and scolded reporters for giving more attention to the story than it deserves. Noting that Perry spent just $26,000 on statewide radio, Brown called the ad campaign “a big nothing.” He went on to say people have been seeking to take what belongs to California since the gold rush. “You go where the gold is,” he said. Perry is “not going to Lubbock, or whatever those places are that make up that state.”
  • Environmentalists and unions band together to fight CEQA changes – Environmentalists and labor unions are banding together to fight efforts to overhaul California’s landmark environmental law. Organizers said the new coalition, made up of dozens of advocacy groups and dubbed “CEQA Works,” was formed to counter an aggressive campaign by business groups to make changes to the California Environmental Quality Act. While legislation has yet to be introduced, Gov. Jerry Brown has called on the Legislature to streamline the law to help speed the state’s economic recovery. Environmentalists fear a repeat of last year, when lawmakers tried and failed to push through last-minute changes that activists said would have gutted CEQA. “CEQA is the most foundational environmental law in California,” said Bruce Reznik, executive director of the Planning and Conservation League, one of the coalition’s founding members. “We decided we couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore and wait for bad things to happen.”
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