Field Poll: Little love for counties’ secession plan

Ah, Jefferson – we hardly knew ye.

Only one in four California voters support Siskiyou and Modoc counties’ calls to secede from the state, and join with other California and Oregon counties to form a new, 51st state called Jefferson, the Field Poll finds; 59 percent disapprove.

The idea of designating these counties as a special territory technically still within the existing states also met with a chilly 27 percent approval and 58 percent disapproval.

Opposition to both proposals is bipartisan, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and nonpartisans disapproving. The poll found slightly greater support for the proposals in inland counties and parts of Northern California outside the Bay Area and Central Valley, yet even in these areas, more disapprove than approve.

With secession requiring approval of both houses of the state Legislature as well as Congress, it surely seems the northern folk can kiss this dream goodbye.

Designating the counties as a special territory called “Jefferson Republic” wouldn’t require these legislative approvals, and could be granted if voters in the affected counties opt to do so. Petitions to that effect already are circulating up there.

The Field Poll surveyed 1,002 registered California voters from Nov. 14 through Dec. 5; the overall poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.


Boxer to introduce child-abuse reporting bills

This means you, Mike McQueary.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., says she’ll introduce a pair of bills tomorrow that she says will protect children from abuse by strengthening federal and state reporting requirements so abuse is reported to local law enforcement or a child protective agency.

“To protect our children from violence and abuse, anyone who sees or knows about a crime against a child must report it to local authorities. Right now, the federal government and 32 states have no such requirement in law,” Boxer said in her news release.

Boxer’s bills – the State Child Protection Act and the Federal Child Protection Act –require that anyone who witnesses or has reasonable suspicion of a crime against a child must report it to local law enforcement or a child protective agency. Under the State Child Protection Act, states that fail to comply would lose some of their federal justice assistance grants. The Federal Child Protection Act would require all persons on federal property to report child abuse.

California does not have comprehensive reporting requirements for child abuse, Boxer noted.

McQueary, a Penn State assistant football coach, apparently did not contact police after witnessing the alleged rape of a 10-year-old boy by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in an athletic facility shower in 2002.

UPDATE @ 3:48 P.M.: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., today introduced a similar bill requiring all states to pass and enforce a law requiring all adults to report instances of known or suspected child abuse; Boxer is the bill’s co-sponsor. The main difference between Boxer’s bill and Casey’s bill is the specific funding the federal government would withhold from states that don’t comply: Boxer’s threatens to revoke part of a state’s Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funding from the Justice Department, while Casey’s would hold back funding through the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act administered by the Health and Human Services Department.


Barbara Lee gets new Appropriations assignment

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, says she’s “extremely pleased” with her appointment yesterday to three key Appropriations subcommittees: She retained her position on the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and the State, Foreign Operations subcommittees, and also gained a new assignment to the Financial Services Subcommittee.

That new assignment gives her a say in jurisdiction over appropriation of funds to key federal offices including the Office of Management and Budget, Department of the Treasury, Federal Trade Commission and the Small Business Administration.

Said Lee: “I look forward to continuing my work on the committee to address the challenges confronting our nation and world.”


Steinberg names state Senate committee chairs

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento – how weird not to be writing “Don Perata!” – rolled out his committee chair appointments today:

  • Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego: Appropriations Committee
  • Ron Calderon, D-Montebello: Banking & Finance Committee
  • Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego: Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
  • Gloria Negrete-McLeod, D-Chino: Business, Professions & Economic Development Committee
  • Gloria Romero, D-East Los Angeles: Education Committee
  • Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley: Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee
  • Alex Padilla, D-San Fernando Valley: Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee
  • Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto: Environmental Quality Committee
  • Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood: Governmental Organization Committee
  • Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara: Health Committee
  • Carol Liu, D-Pasadena: Human Services Committee
  • Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro: Judiciary Committee
  • Mark DeSaulnier, D-Martinez: Labor and Industrial Relations Committee
  • Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa: Local Government Committee
  • Fran Pavley, D-Augora Hills: Natural Resources & Water Committee
  • Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana: Public Employees and Retirement Committee
  • Mark Leno, D-San Francisco: Public Safety Committee
  • Lois Wolk, D-Davis: Revenue and Taxation Committee
  • Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach: Transportation and Housing Committee
  • Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, continues as assistant Pro Tem, and the Agriculture and Veterans Affairs committee chairs haven’t been named yet.

    Let’s take a spin through the Bay Area appointments, shall we?

    Although Hancock had chaired the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, it seems a natural fit for her to take the Senate Elections committee now because she has been a champion of campaign finance reform. Her AB 583, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act signed into law Sept. 30, creates a pilot project in which the 2014 and 2018 candidates for Secretary of State (SOS) will be eligible to have their campaigns funded mostly with public money if they agree not turn away most private contributions and if they collect a specified number of $5 contributions.

    Simitian already chaired the Environmental Quality Committee and Corbett already chaired Judiciary in the last session, so no changes there.

    Alquist takes over the health committee from the term-limited-out Sheila Kuehl, who had used that post to crusade for universal, single-payer health care, twice vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (SB 840 of 2005-06 and SB 840 of 2007-08). Alquist had co-authored Kuehl’s bills, and opposed the plan put forth by Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders last year. See where this is headed?

    DeSaulnier takes over Labor and Industrial Relations from the ousted Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, defeated in her primary by Mark Leno. It could be an interesting place to be if Senate Democrats again try – as Perata did in the last two sessions, meeting vetoes both times (SB 815 of 2005-06 and SB 1717 of 2007-08 – to restore permanently disabled workers’ workers compensation insurance benefits that were slashed in 2004.

    And Leno – who chaired Assembly Public Safety before running Assembly Appropriations – gets Senate Public Safety, formerly chaired by Romero. Will he use the post as a bully pulpit for pushing prison reform, as she did?