Tag Archive: California Assembly

Feb 22 2013

The California Flap: February 22, 2013

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Carl WashingtonFormer California Assemblyman Carl Washington

The California Legislature is in session, but there are no floor sessions scheduled until Monday.

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 for today:

  • 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:

  • Carl Washington, a former assemblyman, to plead guilty to fraud – A top L.A. County Probation Department executive who once was a state assemblyman has agreed to plead guilty to federal bank fraud charges, admitting he bilked financial institutions out of nearly $200,000 by falsely claiming to be an identity theft victim. Carl Washington, a division chief of intergovernmental relations and legislative affairs, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts of bank fraud for causing losses of $193,661 to financial institutions, including Farmers and Merchants Bank, First City Credit Union and L.A. Financial Credit Union. Washington, 47, of Paramount, began in the summer of 2011 to run up large debts and file bogus police reports with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, blaming his debts on identity theft.
  • LAO has ‘serious concerns’ with governor’s Prop. 98 calculation – The State Legislative Analyst’s Office is calling into question the legality of Gov. Brown’s proposal to count new revenue from Proposition 39 toward funding for education. In a report released Thursday, the LAO warns that the governor’s plan for the initiative, the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, violates the intent of the law. Proposition 39, which won with 61 percent vote last November, is projected to raise up to half a billion dollars in revenue this fiscal year and as much as a billion per year starting next year for clean energy projects. It does this by changing the tax formula for multistate corporations doing business in California to one used by most other states.
  • California faces rising bill for retiree healthcare – First the good news: The state controller says the cost of providing healthcare to retired public employees did not rise as fast as expected. Now the bad news: Over the next three decades, the bill is expected to be $63.84 billion more than Sacramento has set aside to pay for it, and state officials don’t have a clear plan to cover those costs. The updated figures were released Thursday by state Controller John Chiang. “The current pay-as-we-go model of funding retiree health benefits is shortsighted and a recipe for undermining the fiscal health of future generations of Californians,” Chiang said in a statement. “However, today’s challenge won’t necessarily become tomorrow’s crisis if policymakers can muster the fiscal discipline to invest now so that we can pay tens of billions of dollars less later.” The unfunded liability for retiree healthcare, considered one of the most troublesome threats to California’s financial health, was previously pegged at $62.1 billion.
  • Brown may forge alliance with GOP governors on health plan – When Gov. Jerry Brown meets with the nation’s other governors this weekend in Washington, D.C., he will find common ground with some unlikely counterparts on an unlikely issue: President Obama’s healthcare plan. Among the governors now moving nearly as aggressively as Brown to implement the federal healthcare law are conservatives who have long fought to unravel it. They are finding that they cannot afford to pass up Obama’s offer of billions of dollars in federal aid to cover expansion of their Medicaid programs for the poor. Arizona’s Jan Brewer, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval — all Republicans — have bucked the GOP trend on the Obama law by opting to accept the new federal money. In Florida, where 20% of residents do not have health insurance, Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he is joining the renegade group.
  • Field Poll: California voters want driver’s licenses, other privileges for illegal immigrants – Californians in record numbers want to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, not charge them extra for college, and offer a path to citizenship, a new Field Poll shows. Attitudes are changing fast: This marks the first time a majority of voters have turned thumbs-up on driver’s licenses since the Field Poll began asking the question in 2005. But voters indicated the welcome mat should extend only to immigrants already living in the state. “Voters are in favor of liberalizing some of the laws toward undocumented immigrants, but at the same time, they don’t want to diminish border control,” said Mark DiCamillo, Field Poll director.
  • Freer home sales market draws Californians to Texas – What draws working and middle class Californians to states like Texas is mostly a freer home sales market, which brings lower prices.  A zero state income tax rate and lower business tax rates that provide incentives for job creation also matter, but to a lesser extent. The Texas advantage occurs even though its property base tax rates are double or triple those in California. However, although the tax rates are higher, because home prices are lower, the rates are applied to the lower values. That is the conclusion of Jed Kolko, the chief economist for Trulia, an online home sales listing company.  Kolko found that net California out-migration (those leaving minus those coming in) is higher for the working and middle class than it is for the wealthy.  Kolko’s statistical analysis actually found that high-income households making $200,000 per year or more were holding steady in California.
  • Garcetti and Greuel have spent $6.6 million and it’s pretty even – Thursday’s latest filing of campaign finance reports in the mayoral race shows the top two candidates essentially as matched in fundraising as they are in positions on the issues. There’s no real news in the numbers, so to sum up: Total raised: Garcetti:$4,138,938 Greuel: $4,078,547 Total spent: Garcetti: $3,501,589 Greuel: $3,154,086 Cash left for final 12 days: Greuel: $1,668,319 Garcetti: $1,504,723
  • Kristin Olsen to move to smaller office after failed GOP move – Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen was ordered to move immediately into a much smaller office in the wake of a failed effort within the Assembly Republican Caucus to oust its leader, Connie Conway. The move was widely regarded as punishment for Olsen, R-Modesto, who had been touted by some Assembly Republicans as a potential successor to Conway. The caucus decided nearly unanimously Thursday to retain Conway, with only one person voting no, members said. “I don’t know the exact circumstances of the reason for the move, but I do know that Assembly member Olsen was not the vote to vacate the chair,” said Kim Nickols, Olsen’s spokeswoman. Nickols declined substantive comment about the caucus leadership turmoil, saying only that “I know that the only thing that’s important to her is that the party unifies, refines its message and implements winning strategies.”
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Jan 18 2013

The California Flap: January 18, 2013

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Hilda SolisFormer Secretary of Labor and Rep. Hilda Solis

These are my links for January 8th through January 18th:

  • Hilda Solis considering a run for L.A. County Board of Supervisors – U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis confirmed Friday that she is considering running for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, plans to “get my footing back in the community” and remain politically active in Los Angeles.”I’m going to take a look at it,” she said of her potential run for the eastern Los Angeles County seat that will be vacated late next year by Supervisor Gloria Molina, who will be termed out of office.Solis declined to offer a date when she will officially announce her decision, saying she wants to take time to “reflect, relax” and spend more time with her 87-year-old mother.

    Solis, 55, has spent 12 years in Washington, first as a San Gabriel Valley congresswoman and, since 2009, as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet.

  • Manufacturing stages U.S. comeback, but not in California – Manufacturing is staging a big comeback in the United States, according to a new U.S. Commerce Department report, but a new state employment report indicates that manufacturing is continuing its years-long slide in California.The federal report says that between the start of 2010 and the end of 2012, manufacturing accounted for 500,000 new jobs. But a state-by-state survey indicates that the effects are being felt mostly in the Upper Midwest and the South.In Indiana, for example, manufacturing accounts for 13.1 percent of jobs and 22.3 percent of earnings, making it the No. 1 state in terms of economic impact. All other states with high-impact manufacturing sectors, except for New Hampshire, are in the two regions.
  • California unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.8% last month – California’s labor market slowed last month as employers shed 17,500 jobs in December and the unemployment rate remained unchanged.The state’s jobless rate, which fell below 10% in November for the first time in nearly four years, stands at 9.8%, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.In addition, job figures for November were revised upward to show a net gain of 6,100 jobs that month.
  • Amgen to spend $200 million on Singapore manufacturing facility – Amgen will invest about $200 million to build a manufacturing facility in Singapore to produce clinical and commercial products, with an initial focus on expansion of monoclonal antibodies, the company announced Wednesday.”Amgen is pleased to be planning for a new world-class facility in Singapore as part of our global expansion strategy,” said Madhu Balachandran, executive vice president of operations. “Singapore is an ideal location to further our manufacturing efforts based on its rich talent pool and friendly business environment.”
  • California lawmakers use Lady Gaga to attract campaign cash – Are Democratic state Sens. Ricardo Lara and Ron Calderon “Little Monsters,” the term Lady Gaga uses affectionalty for her loyal fans.The two state lawmakers will be at Staples Center on Sunday night to see Lady Gaga in concert. They are holding a joint campaign fundraiser at the event, with a $3,900 VIP contribution also including a hotel room for the night. Calderon, a Montebello resident, is raising money for his 2014 state controller campaign while Lara, who lives in Bell Gardens, is hoping to bring in cash for his reelection to the Senate.
  • California High-speed rail critic Rep. Jeff Denham to chair House railroad panel – High-speed rail skeptics gained new traction Wednesday with the promotion of Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, to chairmanship of the House panel that oversees railroads.A sharp critic of California’s ambitious high-speed rail plan, Denham can use his post to challenge one of the Obama administration’s top public works priorities. Future rail legislation must pass through Denham’s subcommittee, which can also hold hearings to shed potentially unflattering light on specific projects like California’s.”I’m opposed to it, but I’m going to work with the California High-Speed Rail Authority on going forward,” Denham said Wednesday. “I want to work together with them, though I still have doubts about their funding and ridership numbers.”

    Underscoring his new leadership position, as well as his stated willingness to keep an open mind, Denham met early Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill with the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s two top officials, board chairman Dan Richard and chief executive officer Jeff Morales. In a statement, Richard described the meeting as “collegial and productive

  • California State misses prison benchmark on overcrowding – ‘s official. In a federal court filing Tuesday, California told federal judges that its prisons remain crowded beyond benchmarks set by the court nearly two years ago.The state said its 33 prisons on average are at 149.4% of design capacity. Nearly half of the individual prisons are much higher than that: 172% at North Kern State Prison, 187% at the Central California Women’s Facility, and the men’s section of Valley State Prison in Chowchilla is now at almost 352%.The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Wednesday that the last female inmates at Valley State have been moved out, freeing up 1,536 beds that can now be used for the male prisoners housed there. Starting next week, the state will begin moving female inmates into a converted 403-bed women’s facility adjacent to Folsom State Prison.
  • Picking a Republican to challenge Brownley – It’s way too early to start writing about the 2014 campaigns, but with the reported statement by former Republican Sen. Tony Strickland that he’s “seriously considering” taking on Rep. Julia Brownley in a rematch of the 2012 campaign, a few preliminary observations seem in order.
  • California lawmaker pushes driver’s licenses for more illegal immigrants – A week after California began issuing driver’s licenses to a select group of young illegal immigrants, a state lawmaker has proposed that licenses be provided to many others who are unlawfully in the country.A new state law that took effect Jan. 1 allows driver’s licenses to be issued to those given a work permit as part of an Obama administration program that suspends deportation for many people who arrived illegally as children.Now, Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D- Salinas) has introduced AB 60, which would provide California driver’s licenses to anyone who can show they pay taxes, regardless of their immigration status.

    Alejo estimates there are up to a million illegal immigrants who are driving without licenses and thus many are on the road without proper training, testing or insurance. His bill would allow licenses if someone provides the Department of Motor Vehicles with a federal individual taxpayer identification number or other document deemed proof of paying taxes.

  • Speaker Pérez modifies Assembly restrictions on press access – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has modified newly imposed restrictions on reporters’ floor access to legislators by designating a section in the back of the Assembly’s chambers for interviews.The development marks a significant change from Monday, when Pérez ended the longstanding practice of media interviews in the back of chambers during floor sessions. Reporters were required to conduct such talks in a hallway.
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