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More lawmaker reaction to Arnold’s veto threat

By Josh Richman
Sunday, October 11th, 2009 at 1:33 pm in Alberto Torrico, Assembly, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, General, Loni Hancock, Mary Hayashi.

(UPDATE @ 11 A.M. MONDAY 10/12: I’ve updated this post throughout to denote which bills the governor signed and which bills he vetoed.)

Lisa and I worked up a story about East Bay lawmakers’ bills being held ransom as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatens a blanket veto this weekend unless Legislative leaders cut a deal on the state’s water problems. As print space is limited, I thought I’d post some of the lawmakers’ comments in fuller form here.

Assembly Majority Leader and state Attorney General candidate Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, said Friday that if the governor follows through on his veto threat, he’ll unveil a bill Monday explicitly banning exactly this type of legislative and executive “extortion” in the future. Torrico had asked state Attorney General Jerry Brown to probe whether the blanket veto threat already violates the California Constitution’s and Penal Code’s ban on such quid pro quos, but Brown said Friday he’ll not do so.

“This is a new low for the governor, but it really is in keeping with the tenor and tone in Sacramento of negotiation through ransom notes,” Torrico said.

Torrico cited Legislative Republicans’ successful moves in recent years to exact policy wins such as tax breaks for the horse-racing industry and a ballot measure that would create an open-primary electoral system, in return for their votes on the state budget.

He’s concerned about three bills he authored: AB 1049, (VETOED) adding the state Safely Surrendered Baby Fund to the state income tax return form’s voluntary contributions section; AB 1270, (VETOED) making it easier for victimss to receive compensation from the Victim’s Compensation and Government Claims Board in a timely manner by requiring the board to have written procedures and time frames in place as suggested by a state audit report; and AB 665, (SIGNED) to ensure that federal incentive payments given to California for increasing the number of youth adopted out of foster care will be distributed to counties to fund activities to improve legal permanency outcomes for foster youth ages nine or older.

Staffers for state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, said she’s concerned about two bills she has waiting on the governor’s desk.

SB 83 (SIGNED) would let county transportation planning agencies put measures on their counties’ ballots to impose fees of up to $10 per vehicle to raise money for local projects to ease traffic congestion. The Senate passed this on a 23-17 vote, the Assembly on a 46-31 vote.

And Hancock’s SB 279 (VETOED) would let cities and counties create local financing authorities to help property owners pay up front for solar-energy systems, energy efficiency improvements and water conservation measures; initial funding would come from a bond fund to be repaid over time through an assessment on the tax bills of the participating property owners. The Senate passed this 25-8, the Assembly 58-19.

State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, noted she has 14 bills awaiting the governor’s action – more than any other Senator – dealing with issues such as lengthening the notice given to the state and requiring public hearings before a hospital emergency room can be shut down (SB 196, VETOED); halting sales of electronic cigarettes, currently unregulated and sometimes marketed to children (SB 400, VETOED); updating the list of public school facilities that need to be seismically retrofitted (SB 305, VETOED); and reducing fraud by barring petition signature gatherers from being paid per signature (SB 34, VETOED).

“Every member of the legislature works long and hard to craft meaningful legislation. The bills would not be on the Governor’s desk if they did not have merit,” she said. “These bills are not just pieces of paper. Each one will have an impact on Californian’s lives.”

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, said she believes the governor will review every bill on its own merit

“These are vital issues to the people of California and I am sure that he will give careful consideration to each of these bills,” she said, noting she has 13 bills on the govenror’s desk. “My top priorities include AB 1386, (SIGNED) which will resolve a 40-year old dispute over a Caltrans project in my district and address local transportation and housing needs.”

She’s also concerned about AB 73, (SIGNED) without which Alameda County will risk losing its groundbreaking violence prevention program, Hayashi said. “Lastly, AB 108 (SIGNED) is critically important, because we need to protect consumers from having their health insurance policies rescinded, especially at the very moment they need costly treatment and life-saving services”

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