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OPINION
September 5, 2009
So you wanted to keep up with the Legislature this year but got distracted? Don't worry. Anything important gets replayed or rescinded during the session's final week, which begins Tuesday. In the works are some good resolutions (domestic violence funding) and some bad ones (another bid at offshore oil drilling). In our last episode, the state Senate approved drilling off the Santa Barbara coast to help balance the shrinking budget, then adjourned. The Assembly rejected the drilling plan, expunged the record to shield members' votes from public scrutiny, passed a budget that didn't match the Senate version, sent it to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and left town.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 15, 2011 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
The difference between a full-time and a part-time Legislature is four weeks. And those four weeks begin today. It would behoove our lawmakers during the next month to show us what they've got, besides full-time pay ($95,000) and perks ($142 in tax-free per diem seven days a week while in session). There's an increasing clamor in California for rolling back the clock 45 years and returning the Legislature to part-time status. A recent Times-USC poll found that 65% of voters favored making the legislators part-timers and cutting their pay. That sentiment was shared by voters of all stripes and locales.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 28, 2004 | Robert Salladay and Peter Nicholas, Times Staff Writers
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is preparing an assault on the institutional power of California legislators after a month of contorted state budget negotiations in which his clout was questioned and his ideas were rejected. The Republican governor may call a special election next year asking voters to, among other things, convert the Legislature to part-time status, strip legislators of their power to draw their own districts and restrict campaign contributions, his spokesman said Tuesday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 27, 2014 | GEORGE SKELTON
Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. That's the American way. But it doesn't mean that anyone who has not been found guilty is qualified to hold public office. Specifically right now, it doesn't mean that a corruption suspect is fit to occupy a seat in the state Legislature. It only means that Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) -- if he can make bail, which he has -- shouldn't be locked up without being convicted. It shouldn't entitle him to continue drawing his $95,291 annual salary.
NEWS
January 2, 2013 | By Patt Morrison
You can have your "A Visit from St. Nicholas" and "A Christmas Carol. " My favorite holiday reading is always the list of new state laws. Nearly 750 new ones for 2013 were passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor last year. With the Legislature in session about seven months, that's something like 100 a month. But it can hardly be said that every one was accompanied by stirring, democracy-defining debates. My favorite so far is the slam-dunk law ending the discounts for past and current state legislators and California members of Congress who order vanity plates for their cars.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 2012 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - Surely it was just a casual throwaway line. Regardless, Gov. Jerry Brown deserves to have it thrown back at him. There are too many things that rub wrong - even rankle - about the governor scolding the Legislature to "man up" and cut state services. First, unlike when Brown was governor the first time in the '70s, the Legislature today is 28% female. (Back then, 8% tops.) Are the women of the Legislature supposed to man up too? Just a throwaway thought. Second, there seems to be something inappropriate about proclaiming that it's manly to cut services for the politically weak: poor welfare moms striving to become self-sufficient and old disabled people who need help at home so they can avoid costly nursing homes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2011 | By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
Lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature on Friday gave a preliminary blessing to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget, which calls for deep cuts to state services and counts on voters to approve billions of dollars in taxes later this year. The legislators made relatively minor changes to the governor's $84.6 billion spending proposal. Some differences remain on cuts in home healthcare services and healthcare for the developmentally disabled, as well as on Brown's proposed elimination of redevelopment agencies.
OPINION
September 12, 2011
Legislators got the right result by the wrong process when they approved an expedited judicial review for AEG's much-discussed downtown Los Angeles football stadium. The project is too important, and the state's system for reviewing such projects too flawed, to allow procedure to stand in the way of progress. Nevertheless, it's bad policy to offer special treatment to certain projects; it raises questions of favoritism and corruption to have the Legislature engage proposals one at a time rather than passing laws that apply equally to all. That's why the next business of this Legislature needs to be a comprehensive review of the California Environmental Quality Act. Now more than 30 years old, CEQA is the mainstay of the state's vaunted environmental protection regime.
OPINION
July 6, 2010
Between the disastrous budget years that helped push Gov. Gray Davis from office in 2003 and the disastrous budget years that have plagued the second term of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, there was one year — 2006 — when everything seemed rosy. The mortgage market was booming, the economy was humming, and the governor proposed a budget that continued to pay down Davis-era debt. Democrats in the Legislature instead tried to use some of that money for program expansions. As usual, they and the governor locked horns, but gently, given the comfortable level of revenue expected.
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