Jim Brulte leads California’s GOP in an uphill battle for midterm elections.
From Capitol Weekly’s Jim Cameron: “Jim Brulte, who served as GOP leader in both the Assembly and Senate, heads the California Republican Party – not exactly a dream job in a state dominated by Democrats.”
“Exactly a year into his new gig, Brulte faces a basic problem: Can he put Republicans on the road to a political comeback? It’s a long, difficult journey back that Brulte has agreed to lead.”
California has become relatively more functional. The policies have change, but the politics not so much.
William Bradely reports for the Huffington Post: "Confidence is high among Democrats, some of whom believe they may be on the verge of finishing off the Republicans as any sort of real force in the state. Which is why Burton, perhaps thinking of the governor's race, said "It's tough to be enthusiastic when you think you have a cinch."
"But on the Republican side, many worry that running a relative nonentity against the popular and canny governor carries its own sort of risk, that of sliding participation among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who will interpret a collapse at the top of the ticket as a death knell, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy in many down-ticket races."
The GOP's gubernatorial contenders, Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari, have been given speaking spots at this week’s Republican Party convention.
David Siders reports for the Sacramento Bee: “Neither candidate was previously listed as a speaker. They are expected to address delegates Sunday, the final day of the convention.”
The longer the bullet train takes to complete, the more expensive and challenging the massive public works project becomes.
John Myers reports for News10: “Agency officials expect the new business plan to be presented to the Legislature before the summer. And while that could settle the existing legal hurdle, state officials are appealing the lower court ruling in hopes of killing any future challenges based on the project's alignment with the bond measure's provisions.”
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has made cutting state public employee future retirement benefits his signature issue.
From the Wall Street Journal’s Alejandro Lazo: “In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown pushed through legislation in 2012 that raised the retirement age and lowered benefits for many new public employees. But the state's two biggest pension systems, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, face a combined unfunded liability of $126 billion, according to Mr. Brown's most recent budget proposal.”
“A legal victory in San Jose for Mr. Reed could be significant, as California's court decisions ensuring pension rights have been influential, adopted in a dozen other states, said Amy Monahan, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who has studied the issue extensively.”
Public employees receiving retirement benefits can expect big long-term care insurance rate increases.
Kathy Robertson reports for Sacramento Business Journal: “Decision time is coming for 41,000 people with long-term care insurance through the California Public Employees' Retirement System.”
“These folks face a 5 percent rate increase in 2014 and an 85 percent rate hike over two years -- planned to occur in equal amounts in 2015 and 2016 -- if they choose to keep their current benefits. The other option is to accept less coverage.”
The federal government reported Tuesday nearly 870,000 Californians have signed up for healthcare through the state’s exchange.
Tome Verdin reports in the Sacramento Bee: “California leads the nation in enrollments, accounting for roughly 20 percent of all sign-ups across the country. Nationally, about 4.2 million people have enrolled in individual insurance plans under President Barack Obama's health care reforms, according to the data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”
Cost for an expanded transitional kindergarten is more than previously estimated.
Lillian Mongeau reports for Ed Source: “At full rollout in 2019-20, Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg’s proposal would cost $1.46 billion in addition to the $901 million already being spent on the current transitional kindergarten program, according to a recent analysis by the California Department of Education. Steinberg, D-Sacramento, had said the expansion would cost an additional $990 million at full rollout when he introduced legislation to create the program in January.”
One lawmaker kicked off her heels and hopped on a skateboard, in support of a bill to legalize boards for street use.
From the Sacramento Bee’s Alexei Koseff: “Early versions of motorized skateboards were prohibited by the vehicle code in 1977 because of concerns over loud and bulky gas motors. Olsen is seeking to allow new electric prototypes, which she said are silent and environmentally friendly, to operate where bicycles are allowed.”