“Checking the Pipes While the House Burns to the Ground”*

The Legislature adjourned for its spring break March 25 with a $20 billion hole still remaining in the current budget year and the next one, which begins July 1.

Before adjourning, however, the state Senate adopted a resolution by Sen. Elaine Alquist, a Santa Clara Democrat, acknowledging March 25 as Greek Independence Day.

The upper house also approved Assembly Speaker John Perez’s ACR 133 which endorses “efforts to raise awareness of global climate change and energy efficiency and would declare the hour of 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday of March to be “Earth Hour” throughout the state.”

Under the non-binding resolution, cities, counties, state workers and private sector employers are urged to turn off nonessential lights in government buildings, public schools, public landmarks, and other buildings for that hour on March 27, 2010.

Organized by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour “has grown into a powerful international statement,” said Sen. Loni Hancock, a Berkeley Democrat, in presenting the measure to the upper house.

Last year, Hancock said, the Empire State Building, Vatican, Las Vegas strip and Golden Gate Bridge all participated.

The Assembly approved AB 142 before adjourning, which was touted as increasing the amount of the state lottery proceeds that are given to public schools.

What the measure actually does is require that not less than 87 percent of lottery revenues be returned to the public, a 3 percent increase over current law.

At least 50 percent of the revenues will be prizes, as determined by the Lottery Commission. Under current law, a fixed 50 percent of revenues is given away as prizes.

As for schools, the commission decides how much they receive in a manner “designed to maximize the total net revenues for public education.”

The bill repeals the requirement that public schools receive at least 34 percent of lottery revenue. The percentage of money that can be spent on administrative costs would be lowered from 16 percent to 13 percent.

A bipartisan 58 to 1 vote by the 80-member body sent the measure to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Also approved by the Senate was SR 36, which designated the week of March 21 through March 27 as National Surveyors Week.

There are 3,488 surveyors in California, the upper house was told by Sen. Jeff Denham, a Merced Republican, who carried the non-binding resolution.

The resolution notes that “surveying has been an essential element in the

development of the human environment since the beginning of recorded history and it is a requirement in the planning and execution of nearly every form of construction with its most familiar modern uses in the fields of transport, building and construction, communications, mapping, and the definition of legal boundaries for land ownership.”

A number of famous Americans were surveyors, Denham said: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Lewis and Clark. Denham didn’t mention him but the resolution does: Henry David Thoreau.

Rounding out the Senate’s workday was approval of SCR 73, which continues the existence of the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace

Wellness, which promotes fitness and health in schools and workplaces.

The resolution also allows the task force to accept private funds and in-kind donations, and requires it to submit a report on its work to the Legislature on or before June 30, 2012. Without legislation to extend its life further, the task force will cease operations on July 1, 2014.

“I want to thank the membership for a good solid week of work,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, before wishing his colleagues a “very nice holiday.”

*(Editor’s Note: Quote from a lobbyist who wished anonymity regarding legislative behavior.)


Filed under: News


  1. Just shows how far we’ve come. I mean, checking the pipes whilst the house burns is so much more advanced and just better than simply playing upon one’s fiddle. Isn’t it?

    Comment by lotuslover — 3.25.2010 @ 7:52 pm

  2. Whatever happened to the good times we used to have? Well, actually, forget that one. Greg, it almost sounds like you are making this stuff up. Can’t wait for Earth Hour on Saturday. Maybe it’s time to replace the clock in the Assembly with a Deficit Clock to remind these morons about the state’s budget mess. However, there are no easy fixes and therein lies the problem: When faced with a dilemma, take a week off. At least we’re safe from having them do something stupid.

    Comment by Joe Montoya — 3.26.2010 @ 9:01 am

  3. Ah! a weeks rest from worrying about our life, liberty and property.

    Comment by Management Slug — 3.29.2010 @ 8:55 am

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