June 29, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

 Tough vaccination bill expected to pass California Legislature – The California Legislature on Monday is expected to pass a bill requiring mandatory vaccinations for children, moving to end exemptions from state immunization laws based on religious or other personal beliefs. LA Times article

 California Senate’s liberal agenda faces uphill climb in Assembly — While also dominated by the Democratic Party, which traditionally aligns with organized labor, the Legislature’s lower house has agrowing “moderate caucus” that is generally more receptive to the concerns of the business community. Those members helped kill or stall a number of union priorities before June’s deadline to pass bills out of their house of origin, including legislation to require two weeks’ notice for workers’ schedules. Sacramento Bee article

 Dan Walters: Drought shows need to untangle water rights — There is absolutely nothing in California government – or its politics – more complicated and contentious than water rights. As California endures its fourth year of severe drought, however, clarifying those rights – and perhaps modifying them – has become an important, if infinitely difficult, political chore for Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

 LA council members look to tighten gun safety measures — Los Angeles lawmakers have been mulling new rules that would require residents to lock up their handguns or disable them with a trigger lock when they are not being used. But the plan, championed by Councilman Paul Krekorian as a way to spare children from deadly accidents, has spurred unexpected opposition from the city police officers’ union, which argues that retired officers shouldn’t be held to those rules. LA Times article

 Same-sex marriage ruling highlights Supreme Court quandary: Restraint or intervention? – In a time of changing social attitudes, when should they step in to alter or overturn laws approved by voters or other elected branches of government? The issue has repeatedly divided the high court in recent years, with justices landing on both sides of the question, arguing for judicial restraint in some cases and for intervention in others. LA Times article

 Catholics see same-sex marriage ruling in disparate lights — The disparate opinions on the court’s historic decision are indicative of how the issue has polarized people of faith across the nation. Even in California — long progressive on same-sex marriage — the faith community’s opinion is as diverse as the state’s population. LA Times article

 Religious liberty is rallying cry after gay marriage ruling — Now that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, religious conservatives are focusing on preserving their right to object. Their concerns are for the thousands of faith-based charities, colleges and hospitals that want to hire, fire, serve and set policy according to their religious beliefs, notably that gay relationships are morally wrong. AP article

Berkeley prof: Why is marriage Supreme? – UC Berkeley Law Professor Melissa Murray is delighted with the result of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, and she doesn’t want to rain on anyone’s Pride parade. But in the course of deciding that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to wed their chosen partner, Murray thinks the court went overboard in portraying marriage as the Supreme — well, the supreme — human relationship. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Supreme Court ruling makes pride parades historic, jubilant — Hundreds of thousands of people on Sunday packed gay pride events from Chicago to New York City, Seattle to San Francisco, with overall attendance expected in the millions for what amounted to a celebration of a freshly endorsed right to marry. AP article

 Erwin Chemerinsky: With Obamacare ruling, court followed intent of Congress – The dean of the UC Irvine School of Law writes, “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding tax credits for health insurance is in accord with one of the most basic principles of law: Statutes should be interpreted to fulfill the intent of the legislature.” Chemerinsky op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File
News Briefs

Top Stories

 High-speed rail board seeks private-sector ideas, interest on financing, development — One of the chief criticisms leveled at the California High-Speed Rail Authority over the past couple of years has been the lack of private-sector investment in its ambitious statewide bullet-train program. Mindful — and repeatedly reminded — of that reality, the agency this week issued a “request for expressions of interest” from private industry, seeking input on how businesses believe they can best participate in financing, building and delivering a ready-to-operate system of electric passenger trains by the early 2020s. Fresno Bee article

 Lawsuits over California water rights are a fight a century in the making — The lawsuits hit the courts within days of the state mailing notices to some Central Valley irrigation districts: They were to stop diverting from rivers and streams because there wasn’t enough water to go around. Unsurprising as the move may be in this fourth year of drought, to the districts, the notices amounted to an assault on water rights they have held for more than a century. LA Times article

 Drought conditions make bad air worse, aggregate health problems — In the Central Valley, the drought compounds problems with the mix of tiny solid and liquid particles in our polluted air. They come from exhaust fumes, wood smoke, agricultural fields and road dust, among other sources. Sacramento Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

 Modesto’s downtown property owners to vote on assessment district – Property owners will vote on whether they want to pay an annual assessment to make downtown Modesto cleaner, more attractive and safer. The City Council last week declared its intent to form the Downtown Modesto Community Benefit District, mail ballots to property owners within the proposed district and hold an Aug. 11 public hearing to determine whether to create it. Modesto Bee article

 New rules try to spotlight hidden retirement debt – An accounting board best known for requiring the calculation and reporting of the debt owed for retiree health care promised government workers, which often turned out to be shockingly large, is having another moment. Calpensions article

 Five Valley cities ranked among state’s most family-friendly – The local communities making its family-friendly list include Waterford and Patterson in Stanislaus County, Escalon in San Joaquin County, and Los Banos and Merced in Merced County. Escalon was the highest ranked, at 37, with Patterson 73rd, Waterford 80th, Los Banos 83rd and Merced 85th. Modesto Bee article

 LA’s NFL stadium riddle: Three teams, two plans, what to expect next — Suddenly, the Los Angeles market, the NFL’s most glaring vacancy for the past 20 years, was flush with options. Now the hard part: whittling down those options to find an actual solution. In the coming months, the league will navigate a minefield — owners pitted against owners — in an effort to solve one of the biggest riddles in sports. LA Times article

 A’s or Raiders? Oakland may not be able to keep both – Through the haze of negotiations over building new football and baseball stadiums in the East Bay, one fact is becoming clear: At some point, Oakland will probably have to choose between the Raiders and the A’s. San Francisco Chronicle article

 If Boston stumbles in 2024 Olympics bid, LA may be asked to step in — U.S. Olympic Committee board members will meet in Northern California this week and, while they will probably not take decisive action now, there is increasing pressure to abandon the Boston bid. Pulling the plug would leave two options: Submit no American city for 2024 or make a last-minute switch.LA Times article

 Foon Rhee: Sacramento’s riverfront is going to waste – Sacramento boosters have the same ambition to become a world-class city. I hate that phrase, but if it is to mean anything, remaking the riverfront near downtown has got to be part of it. With some money, imagination and willpower, Sacramento could be a lot closer to the Vancouver waterfront – well, maybe without the seaplanes. Rhee column in Sacramento Bee

 State marijuana laws complicate federal job recruitment – It may now be legal in Colorado, in Washington State and elsewhere to possess and smoke marijuana, but federal laws outlawing its use — and rules that make it a fireable offense for government workers — have remained rigid. As a result, recruiters for federal agencies are arriving on university campuses in those states with the sobering message that marijuana use will not be tolerated. New York Times article

 Fitz’s Stockton: Oh, for Pete’s snakes! A Christian store’s new neighbor — The Lord working in mysterious ways is on full display in the College Square shopping center, where a new store has opened right next door to a Family Christian Stores bookstore. The Serpentarium. A snake store. Snakes and sundry reptiles. Fitz’s Stockton in Stockton Record


 In drought’s firm grip, California schools try to cope — With Gov. Jerry Brown imposing new mandatory water reductions to respond to the statewide emergency, school districts are grappling with how to adhere to those requirements while continuing to meet the needs of students and communities. As of June 1, districts were ordered to start slashing their water usage anywhere from 4 percent to 36 percent, depending on each district’s water supplier. They potentially face fines for failing to meet those mandates by 2016. EdSource article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Tulare County close to youth offender vocational program – Tulare County officials are expected to jump the final hurdle Tuesday to obtain a $3 million grant to pay for building a first-of-its kind vocational center for incarcerated youths in the county. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Olivia Garcia: Paying tribute to law enforcement officers – The past couple of days have been a trying time for the community as it mourns the loss of a young Bakersfield Police Department officer. Garcia column in Bakersfield Californian

 Law enforcement seeks to bar release of video showing Gardena police shooting — Organizations representing police chiefs and officers from around the state have filed legal briefs supporting an effort to bar the release of videos that recorded Gardena police fatally shooting an unarmed man and seriously wounding another. LA Times article


 Students in limbo after high school exit exam canceled — The state canceled next month’s administration of the California High School Exit Exam because the test contract expired, leaving possibly thousands of students’ graduation status in limbo. EdSource article

 Science, technology focus of Merced County schools — A science, technology, engineering and math event brought more than 300 local children to UC Merced, where they dissected pig hearts, played video games with bananas as remotes and discussed hydraulics. Merced Sun-Star article

Health/Human Services

 Jared Salvo: Prevent another tragedy, teach CPR in high school – The Bakersfield cardiologist writes, “If we build CPR training into the high school curriculum, we will equip our students with lifesaving skills, and we will hear more stories of survival and less stories of tragic results. I believe implementing CPR in Schools at the local School Board level and placement of AEDs on all school campuses will empower our students to be heart savers ready to respond appropriately in an emergency cardiac situation.” Salvo op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


 Hanford police: Traffic collisions up this month — Hanford has seen more vehicle accidents than usual this month, according to the police department. New data released last week shows that since the start of June, the department has responded to 53 reports of traffic collisions throughout the city, several of which were serious enough to require medical aid. Hanford Sentinel article

 Other areas

 Some Gateway apartment residents welcome Neighborhood Blitz Teams – Standing in the parking lot of her much-maligned north-central Stockton housing complex last week, Letisha Aaron said there is only one thing keeping her from moving out of the Adobe Hacienda apartments on Gateway Court near Kentfield Road. Stockton Record article

 Leader hopes for new Stockton YMCA facility — If April Lewallen achieves her ambitious goals, YMCA programs throughout San Joaquin County will be significantly augmented in the years to come, and the organization will have its own facility in Stockton within five years. Stockton Record article


Next 10: UPDATED California budget challenge For the first time in a decade, California’s budget is largely in balance.  However, the state has outstanding debts of $28 million, not counting long-term pension and retiree health care costs.  Budget choices affect us all.  Take the Challenge and decide how much should be spent on programs and where the money should come from.  Next 10 California Budget Challenge

 Next 10: Federal budget challengeThe Federal Budget Challenge is based on The Concord Coalition’s Principles and Priorities budget exercise, which has been used in numerous town hall meetings across the country by members of Congress from both parties, as well as in hundreds of high school and college classrooms.  Next 10 Federal Budget challenge atwww.federalbudgetchallenge.org.

 Next 10: California Water Challenge – As our state faces some of the most severe drought conditions in its history, Next 10 wants to issue a new challenge to Californians: can you create a plan to make sure there’s enough water for everyone?  Next 10 California Water Challenge

 LEGISLATORS’ VOTING RECORDS: How often has a California legislator broken party ranks, abstained or switched sides? The Sacramento Bee has a database of the voting records of every member of the state Senate and Assembly. Enter a lawmaker’s last and first names to see how he or she voted, or enter a bill number to see how every legislator voted on it. Check it out at this link.  http://www.sacbee.com/votingrecord/

 Maddy Institute Updates List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials – The Maddy Institute has updated its list of San Joaquin Valley elected officials.  The list is available here.

 Maddy Institute on Facebook and Twitter – To learn about Maddy Institute activities (e.g. The Maddy Report tv show, The Maddy Associates’ Luncheons, the Maddy Legislative Intern Program), become a fan of the Maddy Institute on Facebook or log on to http://twitter.com/MaddyInstitute. And if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please add us and follow us!

The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.

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