"In the final days of session, which ends Thursday, the Legislature will take up 100 bills or more a day
. Lawmakers who rarely meet for more than a few hours each week will debate past midnight. Bills will be approved with little time for review," report Brian Joseph and Charles Proctor in the Register.
"you're balancing a lot of stuff, a lot of which is important, some of which isn't, but yet it's causing trouble,' said former Senate leader John Burton
, a legendary end-of-session warrior."
"'It's like being a mother with three children, trying to cook dinner as you change diapers, mop the floor and stop them from fighting – all at the same time
,' he said."
"Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fast-tracked legislation to gain control of Los Angeles area public schools faces a key Senate vote today
, just days before the legislative session runs out," reports Naugh Boghossian for the Daily News.
"But even as lawmakers race against the clock, nearly all observers say approval has been virtually assured by an intensive lobbying campaign and the nearly unprecedented support of a powerhouse coalition of political leaders."
While passage may be assured, "Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally
(D-Compton), who heads the state Legislature's black caucus, said Sunday that he opposes Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plan to gain substantial authority over the Los Angeles Unified School District
," reports the LAT's Howard Blume.
It may not help that the bill is now known as the Gloria Romero Educational Reform Act of 2006
. But hey, whatever you need to do to get the bill through, right Mr. Mayor?
"Dymally's announcement, made to The Times through a spokeswoman, came the day after an 'emergency' meeting of the caucus at the Renaissance Montura Hotel Los Angeles near the airport."
"Participants interviewed for this article said they were worried that the plan would diminish African American influence in a school district that educates tens of thousands of African Americans."
"'African Americans were silent because they were not included on issues that directly affect African American children
,' said Dymally spokeswoman Jasmyne Cannick
From our Veto Bait Files, Sheila Kuehl and Don Perata
will hold a press conference today to rally support for SB 840
. "SB 840 provides a concrete plan for covering every resident of the state with comprehensive health insurance, saves the state of California, businesses and working families nearly $8 billion in the first year, and guarantees our right to choose our own doctor," according to a statement from Kuehl's office.
The Chron's Matthew Yi looks at the campaign for the telecommunications franchise bill
, which is expected to clear the Legislature this week. "Phone companies that stand to gain the most from the legislation, especially AT&T, have pulled out all the stops in making their case before lawmakers, spending more than $200,000 a day during a three-month promotional blitz."
"State lobbying reports show that in April, May and June, AT&T and Verizon spent almost $19.7 million to influence the vote on AB2987
, an amount that astounds Capitol veterans."
"AT&T led the way by spending nearly $18 million
on lobbyists; television, radio and newspaper advertising; wining and dining lawmakers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; and Lakers basketball tickets for the chairwoman of the Senate committee that held hearings on the legislation, records show."
That means you, Martha
"'This appears to be an example of special interest(s) using their financial clout to buy public policy,' said Ned Wigglesworth
, policy advocate of California Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group. 'If you look up 'juiced bill' in the dictionary, this would be the definition.
The U-T's Bill Ainsworth writes "When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was swept into office by the recall election in 2003, he promised to end politics as usual, where 'money goes in and favors go out.'”
"But Schwarzenegger has carried on the political tradition of providing favors
– in the form of coveted state appointments – to generous campaign donors."
"At least 13 of Schwarzenegger's appointees, their spouses and their companies have contributed more than $1.4 million to his campaigns, according to campaign disclosure forms and a review by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights."
CW's Shane Goldmacher reports on a big donation from builders to Sen. Don Perata
just one day after Perata killed a package of bills opposed by the industry
"This week, just as Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata put on hold an eight-bill package of flood-protection legislation, one of his political committees received a $500,000 donation from the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), one of the package's biggest opponents."
"The donation is the single largest that a Perata committee has received since he became Senate leader in 2004."
"On the same day, the builders donated another $500,000 to Let's Rebuild California, a campaign committee that is not controlled by Perata but employs top Perata confidant Sandra Polka as the chief strategist."
, a Polka associate and spokesman for both committees, denied that there was any connection between the donations and Perata's decision to scuttle the flood-protection package."
"'The senator makes his decisions about legislation on the merits and nothing else," said Hefner. 'It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why the Building Industry Association would be in favor of an infrastructure plan that calls for building roads, building schools, building homes and building levees.'"
George Skelton looks at the bipartisan effort needed to pass the package of public works bonds
on the November ballot.
"'It's going to require heavy-duty bipartisan campaigning on the part of the governor and the legislative leadership to pass these bonds,' says Democratic consultant Garry South
, who's not involved in any campaign."
"'Everything on the ballot is in trouble. The electorate is in a pissy mood.
"Schwarzenegger and the legislative leaders seem acutely aware that they need to jointly pitch the public works bonds. The governor has been pressuring the Democrats to hit the campaign trail with him, and they've agreed — as long as they're seen as promoting only the bonds, not him."
"'I've committed to campaigning on specific days during September and October with the governor,' Perata says. 'The agreement was that there would be no [gubernatorial] campaigning.'"
"But nobody's kidding themselves: When Democrats show up with Schwarzenegger, he's pictured as a bipartisan problem-solver, rather than the old unpopular polarizer."
Dan Walters gets advice from Martin Helmke
, the long-time legislative consultant who is retiring this year.
"Helmke, chief consultant to the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee for the past 22 years, is retiring with the state's finances in anything but sound condition -- not that it's his fault."
"Given his long association with politicians and the state's fiscal dilemma, one might expect Helmke to be a little jaded. From all appearances, however, he still enjoys the semi-intellectual, semi-political process of fashioning tax policy for the nation's largest state."
"There is no indication that any of the steps Helmke suggests, or any others that could be taken, are on the political radar screen, given the short-term nature of legislative politics. Nevertheless, the Capitol needs its Helmkes, the long-term staffers who have a sense of history and context, to remind short-term lawmakers about reality. That's why he and other other long-timers who are retiring in droves will be missed."
From our From Pluto to Goofy
Files: The termed-out bipartisan duo of Keith Richman
and Joe Canciamilla
have one final legislative goal
: to condemn "the International Astronomical Union's decision to strip Pluto of its planetary status for its tremendous impact on the people of California and the state's long term fiscal health."
Are there voters on Pluto? And are they mods?
The House Resolution concludes with the clause: "Resolved, That the Assembly Clerk shall send a copy of the resolution to the International Astronomical Union and to any Californian who, believing that his or her legislator is addressing the problems that threaten the future of the Golden State, requests a copy of the resolution.
That should keep down printing costs.