Nov 9, 2012

Gov. Brown won big on election night and now he has Democratic supermajorities in both houses. So what's next?


From Evan Halper and Anthon York in the LATimes:" "Now, the Democrats who won record-high numbers in the Legislature on Tuesday will owe him for the billions of dollars they'll have to balance the budget. The business interests who fear what a supermajority of Democrats might do with new, unilateral power will be eager to work with the moderate governor. They may see the pragmatic Brown as a check on a hostile Legislature."


"Brown himself is already talking about the next steps in the state's bullet-train program and about moving on a multibillion-dollar system to send more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Southern California — projects that could reshape his image into one of a builder like his father, who was governor when the state built new freeways and universities."


"He wants to focus on enduring changes to the state's spending policies that he hopes will enhance California's standing with Wall Street and put it on more stable financial footing."


They scored mightily at the ballot box, but Democrats are still roiling about that $11 million donation from an Arizona nonprofit that sought to turn the tables at the 11th hour.


From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "But Democrats remain angry over the contribution, whose true source has yet to be definitively known."


"In a post-election conference Thursday in Sacramento, Democratic strategist Gale Kaufman made clear several times that she resents the October money infusion that helped fuel ads

for Proposition 32, the anti-labor measure she worked against."


"Kaufman said Democrats still intend to push for sanctions against people involved in the donation, at one point saying they will "fight to get the $11 million back." That was an apparent reference to

a state penalty for cloaking donors through an intermediary, which is a payment to the state general fund equal to the amount of the contribution. Beth Miller, who was on the same panel with Kaufman,
said her Small Business Action Committee which received the controversial donation had disclosed everything according to state law."


There were major changes at the ballot box, but in the Legislature, the leadership was retained amid new supermajorities in both houses.


From the Bee's Jim Sanders: "Connie Conway was re-elected as Assembly Republican leader Thursday, two days after the GOP took a shellacking statewide that appears to have given Democrats a supermajority of seats in both houses of the Legislature. Meanwhile, Democrats chose Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez to remain as their leader, a move that was expected because of his past service and the party's apparent capture Tuesday of two additional Assembly seats, which would give it 54 of 80 seats."


"Selection of Conway and Pérez were unanimous decisions of their respective caucuses."


"Conway, ascended to leader of the GOP caucus in November 2010, two days after Democrats captured a Republican-held seat and Martin Garrick stepped down as caucus chief. Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, said that there was no dissension Thursday in retaining Conway."


California turned down the Air Force's request to store some forms of radioactive waste in the state, but Idaho was more cooperative.


From Katherine Mieszkowski at California Watch: "After California regulators refused to allow the U.S. Air Force to label residue from radioactive aircraft instruments as “naturally occurring” – declaring it unsuitable for a Bakersfield-area dump – the military turned to Idaho with the same story."


"There, military officials met with success. The Air Force is now sending radioactive waste from Sacramento County’s McClellan Air Force Base to a Grand View, Idaho, hazardous waste landfill."


"This solution involved a bit of legal semantics rejected in California despite 10 months of Air Force lobbying: The military claimed radium dust left over from glow-in-the-dark aircraft instruments actually was naturally occurring, putting it the same relatively lax regulatory category as mine tailings, according to government memos obtained by California Watch through a public records request."


The state university system is considering boosting the fees on students who stick around too long.


From Kelly Puente in the LA Daily News: "Cal State University students who stay in school when they could have graduated, repeat classes or overload their schedules could end up paying extra fees designed to free up spots for others."


"The Cal State University Board of Trustees in its meeting next week will consider raising the fees for some students in a move intended to improve graduation rates and free up classroom seats for 18,000 new students."


"The 23-campus system of more than 400,000 students turns away up to 20,000 eligible students each year. Officials said the new fees are meant to change the behavior of so-called "super seniors" who have already accumulated enough credits to graduate and deter students who frequently repeat courses or enroll in too many classes only to drop some later."



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