The Author, Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, Is Silent As To What the Mushrooms Are Fed
MUSHROOM ALERT – A Week of Action Outside the Capitol and Continued Inaction on Reforms Inside the Capitol
I only issue a Mushroom Alert on very rare occasions and generally only when I believe that you are being left in the dark, or need to be promptly informed of what is (or is not?) occurring inside your State Capitol. So let me get to the point(s):
Heads-up… If you are visiting or coming to the Capitol this week to testify on a bill – be prepared! It seems that our statewide teachers union and large organized groups of anti-war protesters have called for protests during a “week of action” at the State Capitol. Enhanced security precautions are being implemented so be prepared for extra delays getting into the building.
Now for what has NOT happened…. Reform!
On rare occasions a public employee is caught stealing very large sums of taxpayer money. These large scale thefts typically lead to a felony conviction, jail time, and employment terminations. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the convicted employee will still get to enjoy a taxpayer funded pension for life. In response to these abuses (e.g. City of Bell) Senate Bill 115 was proposed by Senator Strickland to eliminate the “taxpayer” portion of the lifelong pension benefit. I had done a similar bill in 2008 (AB 1858). Unfortunately, both bills met the same fate. They died in committee on partisan votes.
Another bill, AB 738 by Assemblyman Hagman proposed to eliminate future taxpayer funded pensions for elected officials. Admittedly, the bill needed some amendments to address positions like an “elected” County Sheriff and a few others – but the intent of the bill was to push elected “public servants” back towards the concept of “community service” and away from a lifetime of taxpayer funded perks. Needless to say – it also failed in committee on partisan votes.
One of my bills, AB 64, encouraged the state Department of Parks & Recreation to cooperatively work with willing and able local government cities, counties and districts to take over the operation of nearby State Parks threatened with closure because of state budget problems. This bill would have saved the state money and allowed local agencies to keep nearby state parks from closing-including California Citrus State Historical Park in Riverside. The bill died on the Assembly Floor, largely on partisan votes.
As you may have heard, AB 130, “The Dream Act,” passed on the Assembly Floor last week on partisan votes. It allows for “private” college grants and scholarship funds to also be awarded to students who are not legal citizens but have been residents of California for a certain number of years. A second “Dream Act” bill (AB 131) will authorize public taxpayer funded scholarships to be awarded. That bill is currently being considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Stay tuned for updates on the state Budget and Taxes. The good news is that it seems that revenues are coming in “billions” above projected levels. Many of us want the extra revenues to be used to prevent any further cuts to education, pay down debt and maintain adequate public safety services (we may have a nasty fire season ahead), and avoid higher taxes. You can watch upcoming committee hearings and floor sessions on your computer at: CalChannel.com
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