Senate leaders are so sure they will kill Gov. Jerry Brown's court-ordered prison reduction plans that the subject matter was treated as a joke Wednesday.
For an hour, senators raised serious problems at the confirmation hearing of Brown's appointed prisons chief, Jeffrey Beard, grilling him on how he was addressing valley fever deaths, inmate suicides, contraband, healthcare and a slow start to expanding prison rehabilitation programs.
But then Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) broached the subject of federal court orders to further reduce crowding in the troubled prison system.
"The next question, were I to ask it, was, 'Do you have a plan to try to relieve us of the court order to continue releasing prisoners?' But I won't ask that question," Jackson said.