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California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Brown, Democratic lawmakers divided on budget estimates -- Two weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown released his revised budget proposal, Democratic lawmakers are pushing their own spending plans that include hundreds of millions of dollars more for child care, healthcare and the state's rainy-day fund. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ Jessica Calefati in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 5/27/15

California Assembly leader to stop unilateral spending -- California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins plans to stop steering millions of dollars toward favored causes using her chamber's operating fund. Fenit Nirappil Associated Press -- 5/27/15

California gambling interests face off over future of Internet poker -- Is this the year California finally legalizes Internet poker? It’s a long-shot bet. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/27/15

Walters: Revenue forecasts on state budgets are a crapshoot -- Marty Block, a state senator from San Diego, recently asked a question in public that many in and around the Capitol have been mulling for years. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/27/15

PG&E president to retire after tough run at utility -- The executive who oversaw PG&E’s utility operation during the deadly San Bruno pipeline blast and the company’s turbulent aftermath will retire at the end of the year, company officials announced Tuesday. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/27/15

Drought angst shrivels Californians’ views of state -- Despite an improving economy and burgeoning budget surplus, California’s worsening drought is stirring fresh anxieties about the direction of the Golden State. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/27/15

Leno tables Ellis Act reform bill -- State Sen. Mark Leno will forgo efforts this year to take on “greedy speculators” who he says are gobbling up San Francisco’s limited rent-controlled housing supply. Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/26/15

California Assembly passes two bills to deter frivolous ballot measures -- Amid outrage over a proposed initiative that calls for the execution of gays and lesbians, the California Assembly on Tuesday passed two bills to discourage outlandish ballot measures. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/26/15

Supreme Court could deal California 'a one-two punch' on redistricting -- In recent years, California voters have backed a series of changes to the state's elections system to reshape its political landscape. Now, potential upheaval is brewing again, this time from the U.S. Supreme Court. Melanie Mason, Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/15

Redistricting veteran offers his take on Supreme Court move -- California political analyst Tony Quinn has been following redistricting matters long enough to remember when the Earl Warren court handed down its "one person, one vote" ruling half a century ago. Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/15

California Assembly passes bill targeting ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ -- California pregnancy centers that often seek to steer women away from abortion would need to provide information about reproductive services available elsewhere, including abortion, and disclose when they lack medical licenses under a bill the state Assembly passed on Tuesday. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/26/15

California ‘boys and men of color’ committee to focus on police, schools -- Touting the enlarged size of a committee devoted to California’s minority men and boys, lawmakers on Tuesday stressed policy priorities that include nondiscriminatory policing and sending more money to schools with high minority populations. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/26/15

Grocery workers job protection bill passes California Assembly -- Assembly Bill 359, which passed 42-26, bars stores from firing workers for non-performance related reasons within 90 days of a merger or a buyout. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/26/15

Man ordered to pay $6.5 million for Sequoia National Forest fires -- A Perris man was sentenced Tuesday to more than six years in federal prison and ordered to pay about $6.5 million in restitution to the U.S. Forest Service after fires he lighted at a marijuana growing site sparked a 1,600-acre wildfire. Veronica Rocha in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/15

Supreme Court: Big Pharma must pay for prescription drug disposal in Alameda County -- Alameda County can force the pharmaceutical industry to pay for collection and disposal of unused drugs that otherwise would end up in the bay, in groundwater or in the hands of abusers, the Supreme Court ruled in a precedent-setting case Tuesday. Doug Oakley in the Contra Costa Times$ Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/27/15

'Staggering' overtime pay found in L.A. Department of Transportation unit -- Workers in a division of Los Angeles' Department of Transportation collected unusually high amounts of overtime pay, costing the city $3.3 million in a single year and raising concerns some of the extra pay may have been claimed improperly, according to a new audit. Soumya Karlamangla in the Los Angeles Times$ Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 5/26/15

California Republicans Soften Tone On Immigration -- Immigration debates in the California Legislature aren’t what they used to be. Republican anti-immigrant rhetoric is largely gone. Instead, GOP lawmakers are softening their criticism. Often, they aren't even voting no. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 5/26/15

Ro Khanna to launch new campaign against Mike Honda on Saturday -- Democrat Ro Khanna of Fremont is about to launch his second challenge to eight-term Congressman Mike Honda to represent a big chunk of Silicon Valley. Josh Richman in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 5/27/15

Owner to check ruptured pipeline's integrity at four other spots -- The owner of the pipeline that ruptured and spilled more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil along the Santa Barbara County coast said Monday that it is going to investigate the integrity of the pipe at four additional locations after receiving preliminary inspection results. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/15

L.A. sidewalk repair costs should shift to property owners, city report says -- Los Angeles’ commercial property owners should be required to pay for repairing badly broken and inaccessible sidewalks next to their land, a city report released Tuesday suggests. In addition, heavily damaged sidewalks next to homes should be repaired by the city and then future responsibility for upkeep and liability of the walkways should be shifted to property owners, the report says. Ben Poston and Ryan Menezes in the Los Angeles Times$ Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 5/26/15

California Bill Would Prohibit Defendants From Questioning Victims -- A state bill aimed at protecting victims in the courtroom may be in conflict with the U.S. Constitution, according to experts. Under the Sixth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution gives a criminal defendant the right to serve as their own attorney in a court of law. Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh, Peggy Pico KPBS -- 5/26/15

Calbuzz: Santa Barbara Spill: Case Study of Post-MSM News -- The most enterprising story, amid the far-flung news coverage of last week’s ruinous leak of acrid, viscid, noxious oil that fouled miles of Santa Barbara’s splendid coastline, disclosed a disturbing and intriguing fact: The pipeline that spewed the toxic stuff onto the beach and into the water is the only one in the county not equipped with an automatic shut-off valve. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 5/27/15

Taxes, Fees, Rates    

Jerry Brown’s proposal to expand health plan tax sputtering -- Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to make more managed care organizations pay a state tax – one likely to be passed on to consumers – is meeting resistance at the Capitol. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/26/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

Bucking the trend, Irvine may repeal its living wage law -- A week after Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation to adopt a major minimum-wage increase, suburban Irvine in neighboring Orange County is considering going in the opposite direction. Emily Foxhall in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/15

San Diego Union-Tribune lays off 178, mostly in printing, delivery -- The San Diego Union-Tribune said Tuesday that it was laying off 178 employees, about 30% of its staff, in a cost-cutting effort that mainly affected its printing and delivery operations. Stuart Pfeifer in the Los Angeles Times$ Lori Weisberg in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/27/15

Homeless in Santa Clara County: Report puts cost at $520 million a year -- The human toll of homelessness can be seen daily throughout Santa Clara County with people living on the streets. But now, for the first time, a staggering fiscal cost has been calculated: $520 million annually. Mark Emmons in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/26/15

Firm behind PennySaver closure cited in abrupt shutting of Wisconsin dairy -- PennySaver workers filed into the printing plant of company headquarters in Brea, squeezing tight amid the machinery, to find their boss, Chief Executive Ronald Myers, sitting silently at a table. Dean Starkman, Paresh Dave in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/15

Air Force certifies SpaceX to compete for military launches -- After a two-year effort, entrepreneur Elon Musk and his upstart company SpaceX won approval from the Air Force on Tuesday to launch the military's most critical satellites. Melody Petersen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/15

Airline food company ordered to pay living wages to employees -- An airline catering company with operations at Los Angeles International Airport has failed to pay "living wages" to 271 employees, dating back to 2010, the city of Los Angeles said in a letter that calls for retroactive restitution. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/15

The great tech migration: Silicon Valley people increasingly searching for Seattle homes -- It seems like Silicon Valley and Bay Area residents are finally getting fed up with rising home prices and crowded cities. Rachel Lerman Silicon Valley Business Journal -- 5/27/15

Google lays out $20 million for tech altruism -- As the Google I/O conference in San Francisco approaches this week, Google Inc. is announcing a new $20 million pledge to develop technology that helps people with disabilities. Angela Swartz Silicon Valley Business Journal -- 5/27/15


L.A. County supervisors delay vote on water cuts after complaints -- Los Angeles County supervisors agreed Tuesday to postpone a vote on proposed water use restrictions for customers served by the county waterworks districts after residents expressed alarm at the reductions and questioned the method used to calculate target levels. Abby Sewell in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/15

Southland water district OKs $350 million more for lawn-replacement rebates -- The MWD will boost its turf-replacement budget by $350 million for one year, but will also change certain terms and conditions of the extremely popular program. The district voted to cap the total reimbursement for residential customers at $6,000, paying $2 per square foot of lawn removed. Taylor Goldenstein and Monte Morin in the Los Angeles Times$ Bradley J. Fikes in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/26/15

In Central Coast cattle region, drought continues to shrink the herds -- Grassland is turning into bare ground. Pine trees, some four stories tall, are dead or being eaten alive by fungal pathogens. And Sinton's cattle herd has shrunk to one-fifth its usual size. Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/15

California's Drought Makes It Rain Big Bucks For Local Businesses -- When people call up Leigh Jerrard, founder of Greywater Corps, they're greeted with a recorded message: "Note that we are overwhelmed with inquiries right now, so it may be a while before we get back to you. But have faith." Ben Bergman NPR -- 5/27/15


Career guidance helps students figure out their paths -- San Diego high school student Sharon Tamir is spending four weeks of her junior year in Vancouver, Canada, interning at an historic school for girls and delving into the teaching practices surrounding project-based learning. Michelle Maitre EdSource -- 5/27/15


Crews close to excavating ruptured section of oil pipeline -- Investigators are nearing an important step in determining what caused an underground oil pipeline last week to rupture and release as much as 101,000 gallons of crude along the Santa Barbara County coast. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/15


Weintraub: Mentally ill need to be treated with compassion, not as criminals -- Elyn Saks has a story that millions of people hide from their friends, their co-workers and even their families. But she wants the world to know about it. Daniel Weintraub in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/26/15

Also . . . 

IRS breach: Data on more than 100,000 taxpayers accessed -- Sophisticated criminals used an online service run by the IRS to access personal tax information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, part an elaborate scheme to steal identities and claim fraudulent tax refunds, the IRS said Tuesday. Stephen Ohlemacher Associated Press -- 5/26/15


Obama Warns Senators on Lapse in Surveillance -- With time running out, President Obama on Tuesday urged the Senate to pass legislation to renew surveillance programs that are scheduled to expire next weekend or risk endangering the American people. Peter Baker in the New York Times$ -- 5/27/15


Bernie Sanders Challenges Hillary Clinton at His First Rally -- Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont began drawing implicit contrasts with Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, as he played the liberal purist in throwing down policy gauntlet after gauntlet – a $15 minimum wage, $1 trillion for public works jobs, a “Medicare-for-all” system of universal health care — in his first campaign rally since declaring his candidacy last month. Patrick Healy in the New York Times$ -- 5/27/15