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Katy Grimes

Vindictive Obamacare bills speeding through Legislature

It’s always good to see the California Legislature proposing more vindictive bills aimed at penalizing employers.

The new “Walmart loophole” bill, AB 880, would require large employers to “pay their fair share when they dump workers onto Medi-Cal by cutting hours or wages in order to circumvent their responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act,” according to the bill’s author Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles.

Nice.

Under Gomez’s bill, the ACA threshold for fining businesses would be lowered so that large employers would be fined if their part- or full-time workers are enrolled in Medi-Cal.

The legislation — which is supported by the California Labor Federation and United Food and Commercial Workers — “aims to encourage large businesses to offer job-based coverage.”

I’d word that a little differently. The legislation, supported by two of the largest, most aggressive labor unions in the state, aims to force large non-union businesses to cover all employees, regardless of their part-time status.

And remember the other Obamacare penalty bill I wrote about earlier this week:

Read More

Katy Grimes

On gun shows and leisure suits…

What do leisure suits and gun shows have in common? More than you might think. It turns out that some members of the California Senate don’t particularly like either. But I’ll bet in this Legislature, gun shows are despised more.

But this is about constitutional rights, and not the right to wear ugly, pastel, stinky polyester clothing with the knees permanently stretched out.

At issue is whether the California Legislature can dictate who rents the Cow Palace. After taking a vote Thursday on SB 475 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the majority of senators think they should be able to decide.

Leno said the community surrounding the Cow Palace in South San Francisco does not want gun shows at the entertainment and exposition center. According to Leno, local residents… Read More

Katy Grimes

Pattern developing in reform bill killings

It’s the first day of May. If you haven’t noticed, the California Democratic Supermajority is killing all reform efforts. And the targets are not just Republican bills.

Just yesterday, the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality killed a bill which would have stopped the California Air Resources Board from assessing a very expensive administrative fee on California colleges for implementation of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

SB 497, by Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, said the committee’s failure to approve the bill will likely result in fewer students being able to attend California’s higher education institutions, and higher tuition costs for those who do.

The Senate Education Committee killed SB 441, by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, which would merely have suggested school districts around the state to assess the performance of teachers and school administrators.

This week SB 453, by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, was also killed. SB 453 would have allowed school districts to make staffing decisions based on performance evaluations and factors other than a teacher’s simple date of… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Brown calls for ‘social justice;’ redistribution of school funding

Citing a lack of civil rights and social inequities as what is wrong with California public schools, Gov. Jerry Brown vowed Wednesday at a Capitol press conference to give more money to the K-12 school districts that serve poorer students and English-language learners.

Brown said state funding needs to balance social equity and restore school funding cuts; and provide supplemental funding to children in high-poverty schools.

Following passage of Proposition 30 last November, raising taxes $6 billion, Brown’s controversial plan to shift money from wealthier schools to poor ones is a result of an emboldened Democratic supermajority.

Lawmakers and the governor are clearly preparing for the state’s looming June 15 budget deadline, with Brown working hard to get his proposal passed. Earlier this week, state Senate Democrats announced they had their own education funding proposal, but it… Read More

Katy Grimes

Illegal immigrant driver’s license bill races through Legislature

SACRAMENTO — Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants is back on the table and making its way through the Capitol once again. But this latest bill asserts a licensed driver is a safer driver, based on a new California Department of Motor Vehicles study.

The study, “Fatal Crash Rates for Suspended/Revoked and Unlicensed Drivers,” found that, compared to licensed drivers, suspended or revoked and unlicensed drivers are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash.

Supporters of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants have jumped on this report as… Read More

Katy Grimes

Really good state budget transparency bills – will they be killed?

In 2012, the state Legislature passed 80 budget “spot” bills — empty bills with no details. Such measures just sit on a shelf and await last-minute bill language, then are put forward for late-night passage on the last day of the budget session.

These are often the most controversial bills of each session. When lawmakers use them to avoid the legislative process, which requires committee hearings for all bills, it is clear that their goal is to avoid transparency and public involvement.

This has long been the norm. It has arguably been encouraged since the 2010 adoption of Propositions 25 and 26 into the state Constitution, allowing the Legislature to pass a budget on a simple majority vote and requiring a supermajority vote to pass fees and taxes by the Legislature, respectively. Lawmakers routinely take major policy changes and potential tax increases and drop them in trailer bill language.

Gorell and other Assembly Republicans target ‘waste, fraud and abuse’

To counter this practice, Assembly Republicans are pushing budget reform and transparency measures.… Read More

Katy Grimes

Caltrans boondoggles; director to be re-confirmed

Today, it appears the California Senate will reconfirm Malcolm Dougherty, the director of Caltrans. This will be done after only one Senate hearing, where instead of asking Dougherty to answer for the giant problems in his agency, lawmakers were silent or complimentary.

What timing. I hope Senators are paying attention today. Because yesterday, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission announced the opening of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge may be delayed a few more weeks or even months. The latest delay of the 10-year construction project is due to the discovery of more than 30 faulty giant bolts holding the bridge together — apparently they need to be replaced before the bridge can open to the public.

Under construction for more than a decade, the Bay Bridge project has not only taken much longer to build than planned, cost overruns have escalated the total cost to build it… Read More

Katy Grimes

Does Munger hunger for ‘Gov. Maldonado?’

Abel Maldonado is running for Governor. Groan.

Only a few years ago as a state senator, Maldonado, a Republican, sold taxpayers down the river when he provided the key vote for the $13 billion tax increase of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He did this after promising he would never increase taxes.

As a reward, Schwarzenegger appointed Maldonado to the vacant seat of lieutenant governor. But Abel seemed unable to acquire the confirmation of his colleagues. He’s not exactly liked in political circles. He finally prevailed, and settled in comfortably to the most useless office in the state.

But someone likes the sound of “Gov. Maldonado.”

“Charles T. Munger Jr. confirmed Friday that he plans to contribute an undisclosed amount to a committee Maldonado is opening to explore a gubernatorial bid, but said he is refraining from endorsing any of the possible… Read More

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