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Preventing a Final Indignity

Death certificates are the latest battleground for gay rights advocates trying to ensure that the gender a person identifies with in life carries over into death.

A bill introduced recently aimed at ensuring the death certificates of transgender persons reflect their chosen gender is the latest legislative effort to vouchsafe the rights of this small category of Californians.

“A person should rest in peace after death as the same person they were during life. For transgender people, their gender identity may not be consistently recognized after death by family, friends and even officials,” said Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, a San Diego Read more »



Legislature and Governor Hold Budgetary Love-In

The Legislative Analyst routinely takes governors to task for any number of deficiencies  – unrealistic forecasts, faux-savings and gimmickry, among them — contained  in the January spending plans of the executive branch. Not this year:

“Overall, the governor’s proposal would place California on an even stronger fiscal footing, continuing California’s budgetary progress,” the analyst says in its 42-page Overview of the Governor’s Budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Continues the analyst:

“The governor’s proposal for a new rainy-day fund requirement emphasizes the importance of regular state contributions to a larger budget reserve. In general, setting aside money Read more »



New Budget Spends $65 Million on Illegal Immigrant Drivers Licenses

Providing up to 1.4 million driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants will cost $65 million for the Department of Motor Vehicles during the first six months after the law takes effect January 1, 2015, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget plan released January 9.

Lawmakers had debated the issue of whether illegal immigrants should have licenses for 20 years prior to approving legislation to do so in September. When he ran for governor in 2010, Brown said he opposed such a measure as “piecemeal” but last year reversed himself.

“This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally,” Brown said Read more »



Might Be Trying to Distance Himself from the Governor


Vidak: Governor Brown, Why Don’t YouCome to Your Senses? SACRAMENTO - Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) responded today to Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal to use cap-and-trade money to fund the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project with the following statement: 

Governor Brown, why don’t you come to your senses? 

In 2008, 52 percent of the electorate voted to pass Proposition 1A, which allowed the State of California to issue up to $9.95 billion in bonds to construct a high speed train.  In addition to allowing the state to issue bonds, Proposition 1A set a number of conditions that the high-speed train had to achieve. 

Read more »



Brown Saying “No” More Than Twice As Much as He Used To

Of the 896 bills lawmakers approved in 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed 96 of them – just under 11 percent – the lowest percentage of his current term, according to How Often Do Governors Say No?, an annual tabulation by the Senate Committee on Governance & Finance.

In 2012, the Democratic governor was sent 996 bills of which he vetoed 120.

Of the 870 bills sent to him in 2011, he vetoed 125 — a 14.4 percent veto rate.      

During his first two terms as governor, from 1975 through 1982, Brown’s veto rate was 4.4 percent compared to 12.4 percent for the last three years.

Over those eight years, Brown vetoed 528 bills – less than one-third the Read more »



California Creates Nation’s First Outright Ban on Lead Bullets for Hunting

California is the first state to ban lead bullets for hunting under legislation signed October 11 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Under the bill – AB 711 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, a Lakewood Democrat — the ban would occur “as soon as practicable” but no later than July 1, 2019.

“There is simply no reason to continue using lead ammunition in hunting when it poses a significant risk to human health and the environment,” Rendon said in a stament after Brown’s signature. “California is now the country’s leader in eradicating an unnecessary source of this lethal toxin.”

Limits on the use of lead bullets Read more »



Cesar Chavez’s Home Now Also A State Historic Landmark

United Farmer Workers leader César Chávez’s home and burial site — Nuestra Señora Reina de La Paz will become a state historic landmark under legislation signed October 8 by Gov. Jerry brown.

Located in Keene, about 30 miles southeast of Bakersfield, the 187-acre site was designated both a National Monument and a National Historic Landmark by President Obama exactly one year ago. 


The bill – AB 34 by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, a West Covina Democrat – also requires the state Office of Historic Preservation to identify other historical sites associated with the labor and civil rights Read more »



California Kids Can Have More Than Two Parents

California courts can now recognize more than two legal apretns for a child, under legislation signed October 4 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The measure — SB 274 by Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat – is similar to a bill Leno carried in 2012 vetoed by the Democratic governor over “ambiguities.”  Leno characterized both measures as a way to fix a quirk in the law that prevents a previous custodial or biological parent from taking care of a child if the two current parents are incapable.

“The structure of today’s families is evolving, and courts need the ability to recognize these Read more »



New Round of Clawing in GOP Board of Equalization Cat Fight

Below is the latest campaign email from Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, a Dana Point Republican, vying with Sen. Mark Wyland, an Escondido Republican, for a seat on the state Board of Equalization. 

A key element of Wyland’s campaign has been the bankruptcy of Point Center Financial — a firm run by Harkey’s husband, Dan. Wyland’s choice of issues doesn’t sit well with the termed out Orange County Assemblywoman: 





Wyland was first to bare claws with this “Taxpayers for Wyland Board of Equalization” email blast in August:

State Legislator and candidate for Board of Equalization, Diane Harkey’s husband Read more »



New Law Tries to Decide When Homemade Duck Sausage Is Food or Game?

When does homemade duck sausage or venison steaks become food instead of game?

California’s Fish and Game Commission must be decide under legislation signed October 2 by Gov. Jerry Brown

Sponsored by the California Waterfowl Association, the bill – SB 392 by Sen. Tom Berryhill, a Twain Harte Republican – requires the commission to adopt regulations or recommend changes in federal law to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service establishing when game birds like wild turkey, pheasant and quail that are skinned-out for eating stop counting toward a hunter’s maximum possession limit.

“Providing this much-needed clarity will benefit those of us Read more »