California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Amid report Michael Peevey’s home searched, Jerry Brown praises PUC -- Even as it was reported that state investigators seized computers and other items from Michael Peevey’s home, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday offered only praise for the former president of the California Public Utilities Commission. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/30/15

Bill would raise California smoking age to 21 -- In an effort to keep cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers, state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, announced legislation Thursday that would raise the legal smoking age in California from 18 to 21. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 1/30/15

Kevin De León touts plans for government oversight -- Government oversight is the responsibility of every California senator and Senate staff member, not “the job of a small group of individuals in a room,” Senate leader Kevin de León said during a speech Thursday to the Sacramento Press Club, where he laid out broad policy priorities for the year. Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 1/30/15

Senate leader says Brown needs better understanding of poor -- The leader of the state Senate said Thursday that it is imperative California expand child care for working mothers and suggested Gov. Jerry Brown would make room for it if he had more education about the plight of the working poor. Judy Lin Associated Press -- 1/30/15

Sen. Kevin de Leon proposes boosting child care, social services -- After a two-day policy retreat by Democratic lawmakers, California Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) said Thursday that his caucus’ legislative priorities this year would be economic growth, the environment, education and income equality. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15

Panel urges overhaul of California parks system -- A panel created by the Legislature to review state parks operations will report Friday that the Department of Parks and Recreation is underfunded and mired in outdated bureaucracy, and that the parks system is out of reach for many poor people in urban areas. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ Paul Rogers in the Contra Costa Times$ Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 1/30/15

Tentative ruling: California must adopt execution process -- California must adopt a new process for executing condemned inmates after nearly three years of delays, a state judge ruled Thursday in a lawsuit filed by crime victims. Don Thompson Associated Press -- 1/30/15

California Meets Judges' Prison Crowding Goal 1 Year Early -- California reached a court-ordered target to reduce the number of inmates in its crowded prisons on Thursday, more than a year ahead of the deadline set by federal judges. Don Thompson Associated Press -- 1/30/15

Skin tests identify inmates for valley fever-stricken prisons -- Skin tests conducted by California prison officials this month show thousands of inmates have been exposed to valley fever, making them candidates for placement at two prisons stricken by the sometimes deadly fungus. Paige St. John in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15

California must move 2,100 inmates at risk of valley fever -- California will have to move more than 2,100 inmates from two Central Valley prisons because they could be susceptible to contracting a potentially deadly illness, officials said Thursday. Don Thompson Associated Press -- 1/30/15

Jerry Brown has nearly $24 million for future ballot campaigns -- Brown finished 2014 with $19.6 million left in his main campaign account after spending less than $5.7 million during an easy run for re-election, his state filing shows. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ Michael Finnegan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15

Walters: Bill to ban a word is just censorship -- The very first article in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights states it plainly: Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/30/15

Beck admits 'mistakes' over meeting that had ex-Mexican Mafia member -- Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck admitted late Thursday that "mistakes were made in holding" a meeting this week in downtown L.A. between a convicted ex-member of the Mexican Mafia, a group of business leaders and local law enforcement officials. Kate Mather, Richard Winton and Ruben Vives in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15

Lopez: 2 of 3 candidates for L.A. school board seat don't show up for debate -- Absenteeism was a big problem Wednesday night at a forum for Los Angeles Unified school board candidates. It wasn’t parents, students or concerned citizens who played hooky. It was two out of the three candidates. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15

Case of missing San Francisco bond money has a suspect -- A senior official at the Association of Bay Area Governments is under scrutiny for allegedly orchestrating the theft of $1.3 million in bond money that was meant for public parks and street improvements in the South of Market neighborhood. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/30/15

Taxes, Fees, Rates   

San Francisco Democrats want Airbnb to pay back taxes -- Add the San Francisco branch of the Democratic Party to those formally calling for Airbnb to pay its back taxes. John Coté in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/30/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions   

Plunging oil prices choke off boom in Bakersfield -- Each year, the American Assn. of Drilling Engineers hosts a meeting here affectionately called the Liar's Club. Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15

Government work declines in California, but is on the rise elsewhere -- Texas. The word alone sparks images of deregulated Utopia or wasteland, depending on where you fall on the political spectrum. It is a one-word Californian Rorschach test, an elastic term that reveals a Californian’s personal and political beliefs. Anthony York Grizzly Bear Project -- 1/30/15

Lawmaker wants NFL cheerleaders protected by state wage laws -- While NFL fans focus on Sunday’s Super Bowl in Arizona, one California lawmaker is turning her attention to helping improve conditions for a group of workers on the sidelines—cheerleaders. Patrick Mcgreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15

L.A. leaders vow to end homelessness among veterans this year -- Declaring they had turned a corner in the fight against homelessness, city leaders on Thursday vowed that by the end of the year there would be no more veterans living on the streets of Los Angeles. Gale Holland in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15


California officials: Public schools cannot require parents to volunteer -- The California Department of Education issued a memo last week after civil rights group Public Advocates complained in November that public schools across the state, particularly charter schools, had imposed parent volunteer mandates. Kevin Yamamura and Loretta Kalb in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/30/15

Districts seeking reimbursement for Common Core test costs -- The state could be liable for as much as $1 billion per year in costs if a group of school districts succeeds in winning reimbursement for expenses associated with the implementation of computer-based tests in the Common Core and other new state standards. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 1/30/15

Groups push for English learner advocate on state board -- The leaders of 20 nonprofit organizations have called on Gov. Jerry Brown to name “an individual with a track record of advocating on behalf of English learners” to one of two vacancies on the State Board of Education. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 1/30/15


California snowpack gains erased by meager January rainfall -- Traditionally California’s wettest month, January’s meager rainfall has produced a miniscule improvement in the crucial winter snowpack in the Sierra Nevada that historically provides about 30 percent of the state’s water needs. Jim Steinberg in the San Bernardino Sun Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/30/15


California, U.S. energy plan to aid apartment dwellers -- The federal government, California and one of the nation's largest foundations are teaming up to expand financing for energy efficiency and solar energy in multifamily housing. Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/30/15

MillerCoors unveils largest solar array of any U.S. brewery at Irwindale plant -- The black solar panels, which are very similar to those affixed to rooftops and parking lots, will provide between 7 percent and 40 percent of the plant’s electrical energy, said Kim Marotta, MillerCoors director of sustainability. Steve Scauzillo in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/30/15

Sea slug masses migrate to Northern California coast -- A colorful flood of tiny southern sea slugs rarely seen in the waters off Northern California is puzzling scientists concerned about the warming ocean. David Perlman in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/30/15


Some doctors won't see patients with anti-vaccine views -- With California gripped by a measles outbreak, Dr. Charles Goodman posted a clear notice in his waiting room and on Facebook: His practice will no longer see children whose parents won't get them vaccinated. Alicia Chang Associated Press -- 1/30/15

Faster flu forecast by UCSD team -- UC San Diego researchers say they can predict the spread of the flu a week in advance, with accuracy equal to Google Flu Trends' real-time information. Bradley J. Fikes UT San Diego$ -- 1/30/15

Insurance choices dwindle in rural California as Blue Shield pulls back -- After the insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act first went live in late 2013, Lori Lomas started combing the website of Covered California on a hunt for good deals for her clients. Pauline Bartolone NPR -- 1/30/15

Mercy patient being treated at UCD Medical Center for possible Ebola -- The patient originally sought treatment at Mercy General Hospital in East Sacramento before being transferred to the UCD Medical Center, Mercy spokeswoman Melissa Jue confirmed. UCDMC is one of four sites designated by state and federal health officials to treat possible Ebola cases in California. Sammy Caiola in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/30/15

Ebola May Be Mutating -- Only a day after the World Health Organization announced that an end was in sight for the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, scientists had less uplifting news: The virus may be mutating. Cari Romm The Atlantic -- 1/30/15

Also . . .

BART rider satisfaction lowest in 16 years -- The transit agency said the problems are side effects of record ridership as the recovering economy creates more jobs and more commuters -- many of whom can't find seats on trains or spaces in station parking lots. Denis Cuff in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 1/30/15

Boy Scouts settle sex abuse lawsuit before 'perversion files' are opened -- The Boy Scouts of America announced Thursday that it had settled a lawsuit brought by the family of a Santa Barbara County man who was molested by a volunteer Scout leader in 2007. Amanda Covarrubias in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/30/15

POTUS 44    

Barack Obama threatens to veto attacks on his immigration policy -- President Barack Obama vowed to House Democrats on Thursday night that he would “happily” veto any legislation that would “compound” the country’s immigration problems — posing yet another challenge to Republican efforts to pass a Homeland Security spending bill by next month’s deadline. Lauren French Politico -- 1/30/15