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More lawmaker reaction to Arnold’s veto threat

(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”

Posted on Sunday, October 11th, 2009
Under: Alberto Torrico, Assembly, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, General, Loni Hancock, Mary Hayashi | Comments Off

Two more local lawmakers named to reform panel

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, this afternoon announced that Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, and Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, will be among the 10 members of her chamber (eight Democrats and two Republicans) serving on the Joint Select Committee on Reform.

Bass and state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, are forming the panel with the goals of making the Legislature more transparent and effective and making state government more efficient and customer friendly. Steinberg announced his appointments last week, including state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, as co-chairman and state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, as a member.

Hill issued a statement saying he’s “eager to answer the call of our constituents for a more efficient and transparent government. I’m confident this group will lead the way to a more productive government with thorough analysis of potential reforms.”

Bass said her appointees “are ready to hit the ground running on reforms. I look forward to the Committee’s recommendations as they work throughout the coming weeks to produce a roadmap to help California work better.”

According to last week’s news release announcing the committee’s formation, the panel will be tasked with:

    - Giving Californians more value for their tax dollars by making government more efficient and accountable.
    - Prioritizing key issues, so government makes the tough decisions and only turns to the voters when absolutely necessary.
    - Cutting through the gridlock caused by outmoded rules and undue partisanship.
    - Making government more transparent and accessible from around the state.
    - Diminishing the influence of special interests.
    - Making government more customer-friendly.
    - Creating a process that encourages decisions that reflect long-term thinking, not short-term band-aids.

The Public Policy Institute of California found in July that only 17 percent of California adults, 14 percent of registered voters and 10 percent of likely voters it had surveyed approved of the way the state Legislature is handling it’s job, and I’m willing to bet the last two months haven’t brought any significant improvement. Re-instilling faith in our state lawmakers won’t be easy or quick; here’s hoping these and other appointees are up to the task, and that the task itself isn’t inherently impossible.

Posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, Jerry Hill, Karen Bass, Mark DeSaulnier, Mary Hayashi | Comments Off

Hayashi and Corbett bury the hatchet on ER

Whatever beef was happening last week between state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, over efforts to preserve the San Leandro Hospital emergency room, it seems to be a thing of the past: The two lawmakers issued a Kum-Ba-Yah news release today announcing that Corbett’s SB 196 had passed the Assembly Health Committee on a 12-5 vote.

The bill would lengthen the notice given to the state before emergency rooms could shut down and require three public hearings to allow for public input before any potential closure. Although a co-sponsor of the bill, Hayashi had refused to vote on it last week, letting it falter one vote short of passage.

“Significant progress was made yesterday after meeting with the California Nurses Association and Senator Ellen Corbett,” Hayashi said in today’s news release. “Several of the concerns that I had expressed about the bill were addressed and I am confident with the collective efforts moving forward. We share a similar goal of saving San Leandro Hospital’s emergency room as it has served nearly 50 years as a vital health care anchor for so many families.”

Said Corbett: “It is critically important that we do everything we can to keep San Leandro Hospital open. It is a vital resource for the community. It has been clear and obvious from all of the public gatherings that have been held that the community is relying on us to keep up the fight to keep the hospital open.”

Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, Mary Hayashi | Comments Off

Mary Hayashi’s friction-filled week

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, was accused of some tit-for-tat legislative tactics this week, but her office says it’s much ado about nothing.

Hayashi chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, while state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, chairs the equivalent Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.

Hayashi’s medical peer-review bill – AB 120, sponsored by the California Medical Association – was to be considered Monday by McLeod’s committee, but Senate committee staffers thought there should be a comprehensive medical peer review bill which would be the sum of parts offered by Hayashi (in AB 120), McLeod (in her SB 700) and state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley (in his SB 58). To that end, McLeod’s committee offered amendments and gave Hayashi and the CMA a week to mull them over, putting AB 120 on the schedule for the Senate committee’s July 6 hearing.

Several Legislative sources say Hayashi’s reaction was to try to pull eight bills – some of which were McLeod’s own, the rest of which came from her committee – from the Assembly B&P Committee’s Tuesday-morning hearing agenda. Then she tried to scuttle the hearing entirely, the sources claimed; apparently state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s office intervened so that as of late Monday night, the hearing was back on, though some of the eight bills still weren’t heard.

“It caused a great deal of anxiety on everybody’s behalf. She … had thrown a lot of people’s lives into flux,” said one Legislative staffer, noting people had flown to Sacramento for the bills’ hearing. “We all scratched our heads.”

“She, with that bill from day one that it got into the Senate, was saying ‘This is the CMA’s biggest priority,’ and everyone else was like, ‘Well, that’s nice,’” said another staffer elsewhere in the Legislature, adding a one-week delay of her bill to insert some consumer-friendly amendments with bipartisan support shouldn’t have caused such a reaction.

The situation ranks among “tiddly-wink issues” compared to the massive budget crisis, this staffer said, and the Pro Tem’s office wasn’t happy that it had to take time during this hellacious week to deal with it. It’s unclear whether this had anything to do with Steinberg’s decision this afternoon to postpone all Senate policy committee meetings until after a budget deal is in place.

But Cory Jasperson, Hayashi’s chief of staff, says that’s not how it went down at all.

“The Business and Professions Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday, June 30th, was never cancelled or rescheduled. Only the Speaker has the authority to cancel or reschedule committee hearings,” he said. “All of the bills scheduled for the Tuesday morning hearing were heard by the Committee with the exception of three bills authored by Senator Negrete McLeod which the author requested be put over to a later hearing.”

“There has been a lot of confusion in the Capitol over the past few days around the uncertainty of committee hearings in the Assembly and Senate due to the fluidity of on-going budget negotiations,” Jasperson added. “Some committee hearings previously scheduled for Tuesday were rescheduled for Thursday and today the Senate postponed committee hearings indefinitely. For example, some Senate hearings this morning were cancelled mid-hearing and hearings this afternoon were cancelled just minutes before the scheduled start times.”

So it seems as if either there was some honest miscommunication about hearing schedules followed by some state Senate knife-sharpening for Hayashi’s hide, or Hayashi tried to flex some committee-chair muscle and got smacked down.

It’s still a lot of he-said/she-said, but add this to Hayashi’s dust-up with state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, over their bills to save the San Leandro Hospital emergency room from closure, and it surely seems Hayashi hasn’t been making any friends in the other chamber this week.

Posted on Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, General, Mary Hayashi | 2 Comments »

Hayashi: Name I-580 for slain Oakland cop

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, introduced legislation today to designate Interstate 580 through Castro Valley as the Sergeant Daniel Sakai Memorial Highway, in honor of one of the four Oakland Police Department officers slain by a gunman in March.

“Sergeant Daniel Sakai served with valor, and his tragic death was a tremendous loss to the community,” she said in her news release. “By naming this section of Highway 580 after Sergeant Sakai, we have the opportunity to pay tribute to his courage, and forever be inspired by the heartfelt dedication and strong values he demonstrated throughout his life.”

Sakai, 35, lived in Castro Valley and is survived by his wife and their 4-year-old daughter.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 79 goes first to the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
Under: Assembly, Mary Hayashi, Oakland | 3 Comments »

Assembly adjourns in honor of slain Oakland cops

At the request of several members, the California State Assembly today adjourned in memory of the four police officers slain in Oakland over the weekend.

From Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:

“I am shocked and saddened by the horrific deaths of four Oakland police officers. My deepest condolences go out to the families of the officers and the Oakland Police Department. I will remember their service and sacrifice. I also want to express my support and gratitude for all of the law enforcement officials who protect our communities on a daily basis.”

From Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley:

“While we are aware of the risks that our officers go through, we never imagine a loss of this magnitude, and it does not make grieving any easier.

“This violent tragedy that began with a routine traffic stop reminds us how real these risks are, and how much courage is shown by all those who serve in law enforcement.

“This is a terrible loss for so many, not just for the community of Oakland, but for all of us across this state.”

UPDATE @ 7:07 P.M.: From Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda:

“This was one of the most horrific acts in Oakland’s history. These officers made an historic sacrifice, and I have deep appreciation for how neighbors responded to the shooting and led police to the perpetrator. I also believe it is necessary for the entire community to come together to support these officers’ families, as well as the men and women of the police department who continue to put their lives on the line every day for the safety of our community.”

[snip]

“Such a shocking tragedy is a wake-up call to the terrible shortcomings of our criminal justice system. Not only did it utterly fail to rehabilitate this individual, it also released him back into our community without sufficient oversight to keep us safe and keep him from returning to a life of crime. We need to acknowledge these failings, and reform our system so that it truly protects the public and ensures that those who serve their time are rehabilitated and do not re-offend.”

“Most importantly, the State Legislature needs to revisit its regulations and supervision of the sale of assault weapons. These guns have a deadly purpose that far exceeds any recreational use. In the hands of criminals, they expose our police officers to unacceptable risk and further endanger our community.”

Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2009
Under: Assembly, Mary Hayashi, Nancy Skinner, Oakland, Sandre Swanson | No Comments »

Hayashi: Stimulus can buy greener state buildings

Even as Oakland author/activist Van Jones heads to Washington to become President Barack Obama’s “green jobs czar,” the Assembly is looking at ways to use federal economic-stimulus money to create some green jobs by renovating state government buildings.

The Assembly Business and Professions Committee, chaired by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, heard from Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor and Deputy State Architect Roy McBrayer today. “This comes at a critical time-with 1.9 million Californians out of work; we can invest in green jobs and put people back to work,” Hayashi said in a statement issued afterward.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, had directed Hayashi to hold the hearing. “The energy efficiency improvements the President’s stimulus package is helping California make to its state buildings will not only help us lead the fight against global warming, they will lead to greater energy independence,” she said.

According to Taylor, California could get up to $239 million in State Energy Program funding and $22 million from Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grants designed to create jobs that support clean energy and improve the state’s infrastructure. State buildings now consume more than $500 million worth of electricity per year, and California has set a goal to reduce grid-based energy purchases for its state-owned buildings at least 20 percent by 2015.

“If you’re looking for a poster child for how to spend one-time federal funds, this is as good as it gets,” Taylor said.

Posted on Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
Under: Assembly, economy, Environment, General, Global warming, Karen Bass, Mary Hayashi | No Comments »

Hayashi acts to counter Bush’s ‘conscience rule’

Reacting to a new regulation issued last month by the departing Bush Administration to give new protections to health workers refusing to provide care that violates their personal beliefs, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has introduced a bill aimed at ensuring California woman have all the information and access they need to make reproductive choices including abortion.

“California licenses healthcare practitioners to ensure patient safety,” said Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, who chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. “The personal views of providers should not interfere with the reproductive rights of women and families.”

The Bush Administration’s regulation, which takes effect Monday, lets healthcare providers not only refuse to assist in abortion related activities, but may also withhold information and access to birth control and other family planning services. Hayashi’s AB 120, introduced Thursday, would require California doctors, nurses, and physician assistants to fully disclose all reproductive options to a patient and declares legislative intent that a healthcare licensee may not withhold services or information from a patient; failure to do so would be professional misconduct punishable by discipline from the appropriate state licensing board.

UPDATE @ 3:50 P.M. FRIDAY: I forgot to mention that California Attorney General Jerry Brown joined several other states’ attorneys general in filing a lawsuit Thursday against the federal government, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt regarding this regulation.

Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2009
Under: Assembly, Jerry Brown, Mary Hayashi | No Comments »

Hayashi’s bill on child deaths becomes law

County Boards of Supervisors clearly have power to investigate the deaths of children connected to county child protective service agencies under a bill authored by an East Bay lawmaker and signed into law by the governor Friday.

AB 2904, from Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, clarifies that the supervisors have access to otherwise confidential case information regarding child mortalities in all 58 counties in California.

“It is unconscionable that a child would continue to suffer neglect or abuse after their case is reported to child protective services, and even more deplorable that they would lose their life,” Hayashi said in a news release. “These deaths can be prevented, and counties need to be able to investigate these cases and make changes to the system.”

Boards of Supervisors are not regularly involved in the oversight of these deaths, so it has been hard to determine whether they can make effective procedural changes, Hayashi said. Under the new law, a Board of Supervisors may receive and review any records in the custody of the juvenile court or other county agency relating to the death of a child who was receiving county child welfare services. The bill was sponsored by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, particularly Supervisor Gail Steele, who said she’s grateful to Hayashi for carrying the bill to enactment.

“This bill is a necessity because children in our care are dying in California and there is no accountability for the Board of Supervisors to look into what happened,” Steele said in Hayashi’s news release. “Boards now have the opportunity to look into these events and make corrections. I hope Supervisors will take this to heart and work to protect children.”

Posted on Monday, August 4th, 2008
Under: Alameda County, Assembly, General, Mary Hayashi | No Comments »

Mary Hayashi’s cosmetic-safety bill is vetoed

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today vetoed AB 2106 by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, a unanimously supported bill which would’ve prohibited making and selling cosmetics containing any of nine harmful chemicals.

In his veto message, the governor wrote:

While the intent of the author is laudable, there is an existing science-based process by
which chemicals are determined to be harmful to the public. I signed legislation in 2005 to require manufacturers that sell any federally regulated cosmetic products to submit a list of their products sold in California along with an identification of any ingredients that cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. This bill circumvents our state’s existing process and lacks enforcement and oversight provisions.

Harmful ingredients should be regulated based upon California’s existing science-based process, rather than through legislation.

According to an analysis of the bill:

The substances listed in the bill at one time were used in cosmetics such as hair dyes. However, most are no longer in commerce or used in cosmetics. For example, the first two used to be prevalent in coal tar hair dyes and if used require a warning level from the federal government that they have been shown to cause cancer in animals. The third also used to be used in hair dyes but was shown to cause cancer in animals in the mid-seventies and phased out. The nine substances have been declared to be “unsafe or use in cosmetics” by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel.
[snip]
According to the sponsor, the Personal Care Products Council, this bill is needed because most, but not all, manufacturers have agreed to never use “unsafe” ingredients in cosmetic products. The author’s office states that the bill will level the playing field in California.

The bill had been passed by the Assembly on a 77-0 vote, and by the state Senate on a 35-0 vote.

Hayashi, whom Assembly Speaker Karen Bass last month named to chair the Assembly Business and Professions Committee in the next legislative session, told me a few minutes ago she’s disappointed by the veto.

“I’ve been working really hard with the indusrty to come up with a policy they could support, this has been in the works for quite some time,” she said, adding she disagrees with the governor about the bill’s enforceability. “If he signs the bill, it actually adds the nine chemicals to the Health and Safety Code… so absolutely it’s enforceable, especially civilly.”

Posted on Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, General, Mary Hayashi | No Comments »