"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will propose that all Californian children
, including those in the state illegally, be guaranteed medical insurance
as part of the healthcare overhaul he intends to unveil next week, according to officials familiar with the plan," reports Jordan Rau in the Times.Don Perata
's plan would exclude undocumented kids, while Fabian Nuñez
's would include them. Assembly Republicans would deport them.
"If enacted by the Legislature, his proposal would affect about 763,000 children who now lack insurance. Although the administration has not revealed details of how it would pay for such a program, officials estimate that extending insurance to all children could cost the state as much as $400 million a year."
"That would be a small piece of Schwarzenegger's stated goal: to ensure medical coverage for all of the 6.5 million Californians who now have none. Experts say that could cost upward of $10 billion a year."
"'There is no final health plan,' said Adam Mendelsohn
, Schwarzenegger's communications director. 'As has been the case from the start, all ideas are on the table and the final touches are being applied. The administration is not confirming the inclusion of any one piece.'"
"But several independent sources said Schwarzenegger had committed to the framework of the children's insurance portion. Administration officials have privately told people outside government that they intend to guarantee medical coverage for children of families earning up to 300% of the poverty level, or $60,000 a year for a family of four. Those families have 90% of the children without insurance. But the cutoff is not yet set in stone."
The Merc's Mike Zapler reports on a new Field Poll that shows -- surprise -- Californians want someone else to pay for expanded health care
"With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers vowing to make the expansion of health care a top priority this year, a new statewide poll shows that nearly eight in 10 California voters believe employers should be forced to provide health insurance for their workers or pay into a state fund that would do so."
"Such a mandate on business is backed by leading Democrats, but is expected to face stiff opposition from business interests. Schwarzenegger has opposed employer mandates in the past, but has signaled recently he may be reconsidering."
Meanwhile, the Bee's Kevin Yamamura writes the governor's skiinging accident has put a damper on his party schedule. "Sidelined with a broken leg requiring more rest than previously thought, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed out Wednesday from his only scheduled public inaugural appearance
despite earlier assurances he would attend all events to kick off his second term."
"He was supposed to make his first post-accident appearance at a three-hour celebration today in Capitol Park to promote environmentalism and kick off his second term. The event will go on without the governor. First lady Maria Shriver
, former Sacramento Kings basketball star Vlade Divac
and comedian Bob Saget
Hey Vlade, since you're in town, can you play a few minutes for the Kings tonight against the Lakers? They could use some energy.
"'Gov. Schwarzenegger is recovering from significant surgery on his femur," [orthopedic surgeon Kevin] Ehrhart
said in a statement. 'His recovery has been extraordinary, and I am adamant he not do anything that could jeopardize that recovery. I will continue to advise him on his health through his swearing-in, inaugural speech, State of the State, and budget presentation.'"
Capitol Weekly's salary database has been updated
with the latest info, reports John Howard.
"The $122.7 million annual payroll for the California Legislature is far more than a compendium of salaries. It reflects the individual eccentricities of each house's approach to pay and politics, and the depth to which the partisan divide is reflected in the pocket book."
"Proportionally and as a group, Senate employees are better paid--at least on paper. The Senate's 934 staffers earn a combined pay of $57.7 million. The Assembly, which has twice as many elected members and 250 more staffers, has a total payroll $65 million--just $7.3 million more than the smaller Senate. Commensurate with its position as the Legislature for the nation's largest state, California legislative budget is larger than any other state."
"But while the average Senate pay is higher, the top Assembly people earn significantly more than the top Senate people, and the distribution of salaries throughout each house is different."
"For example, Dan Eaton
, chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez
, earns $200,004 a year--the highest salary in the Legislature and nearly $25,000 more than the next highest paid, Greg Schmidt, the secretary of the Senate.
Aside from Eaton, eight Assembly staffers earn $150,000 or more, but in the Senate, only one employee earns more than $150,000--Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata
's budget expert, Diane Cummins, who earns $152,640. "
You can conduct your own salary searches here
CW's Daniel Macht reports that the fight between San Francisco and Santa Clara over the 49ers is moving to the Legislature
"Better put on a helmet and some pads: It's Migden vs. Alquist
over the fate of the San Francisco 49ers--and you can follow the Capitol play-by-play without a season ticket."
"The Niners' season is over but their fight for a new stadium is just heating up. With the team's dream to open a new stadium by 2012, the battle between those trying keep them in San Francisco and those who would lure the team to neighboring Santa Clara has now moved beyond the Bay Area and into the state Capitol and the U.S. Senate. And San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
, who wants to keep the team, has proposed a new option: a stadium in Hunters Point--if his Candlestick Point proposal falls through."
"Senator Carole Migden's aptly numbered SB 49 is likely to be introduced within the next week. She says it would prohibit any city or local entity from using "tax breaks and land giveaways" to steal an NFL team from a neighboring community."
"Attorney General-elect Jerry Brown
said Wednesday that he will appoint his wife
, Anne Gust
, as his unpaid special counsel, giving her a 'broad mandate' in a new post that will be part of a significant reorganization of the state attorney general's office," reports Shane Goldmacher in the Bee.
"'It will be a very important and high-level role very close to the policy and administrative processes,' said Brown, who was in Washington, D.C., to attend House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi
's inauguration. 'It is a broad title and she certainly will have a broad mandate because her experience is very broad.
Maybe using the word broad three times in a sentence isn't the best thing when talking about your wife. Roget has the following synonyms for future quotes: ample, capacious, deep, expansive, extended, extensive, full, generous, immense, large, latitudinous, outspread, outstretched, roomy, spacious, splay, squat, thick, vast, voluminous, widespread.
"This will not be the first time Brown and Gust have worked together. After their wedding in June 2005, Gust quit her post as chief administrative officer of Gap Inc. to become Brown's campaign manager. Gust was also unpaid in that role."
Vic Pollard reports the sludge fight is back
. Dean "Florez
, D-Shafter, announced plans to introduce new legislation that would require sludge haulers to guarantee that the material in their trucks meets federal standards for toxic pollutants like arsenic, lead, cyanide and cadmium."
"The bill, expected to be introduced next week, would also require state agencies to study whether standards are needed for any additional pollutants in sewage sludge that may threaten water quality or public health if spread on land as fertilizer or composted."
"A couple who admitted to their roles in an Orange County voter registration scandal each were sentenced Wednesday to three years' formal probation
," reports the LAT's Christine Hanley.
, 36, and Jessica Sundell
, 23, were among 12 people arrested last fall and charged with signing up voters during a registration drive that resulted in dozens of Democrats fraudulently being signed up as Republicans."
"Holly and Sundell, who pleaded guilty in November, cannot collect signatures for petitions or voter registration, said Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Dan Hess
, the lead prosecutor."
Speaking of lawbreakers, "An outbreak of a flu-like illness at San Quentin State Prison
has led corrections officials to bar new inmates and visitors from entering the prison," reports Mark Martin in the Chron.
"At least 489 inmates and six employees have become ill since late last month due to an outbreak of gastroenteritis, a contagious virus that can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhea."
"Visitation has been suspended and no new prisoners will be accepted at the Marin County prison until the illness is contained."
The Register's Martin Wisckol looks at the influence of Vietnamese-American voters in Orange County
. "Dave Gilliard
, one of the state's top GOP consultants, wasn't paying attention to Orange County's Vietnamese-American voters. It cost him one of 2006's hottest campaigns."
"Tom Harman won the county's coastal state Senate seat, after a recount, by 225 votes – despite being outspent 3-2. Gilliard pulled out all the stops for his client, opponent Diane Harkey
"The difference? Foreign-language ballots in Vietnamese. Without them, Harman would have lost."
"'An investment of dollars in that community would have paid off,' Gilliard said. 'Most people, including myself, did not anticipate (Vietnamese-Americans) would have that big of a role.'"
"Don't count on that mistake again. The burgeoning Vietnamese-American political community has become impossible to ignore, both as a vital electorate and as a producer of winning candidates."
From our If At First You Don't Succeed Files
, a DMV official in Connecticut "has been charged with persuading a woman to strip off some of her clothing in exchange for passing her driver's test
, 48, of New Britain, allegedly took advantage of a woman in her 20s who had failed her driver's test several times in the past, police said."
"Chagnon was charged Tuesday with coercion, when he turned himself in to Naugatuck police. The charge of coercion is defined as compelling a person to involuntarily behave in a certain way by threats or some other form of pressure or force."
"Police said Chagnon was giving a road test to the woman Dec. 13. She had failed the driving test several times previously. Chagnon allegedly told the woman he would issue her a driver's license if she would take her clothes off."
"Police said the woman reluctantly took off some of her clothing, but refused to take off all of it and Chagnon issued the woman a license."