Redistricting: The Line Dancing Ends

July 29, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 3 Comments 

Rose Institute Web Image

There are two, and only two, options left at this point for the political districts in which Californians will reside for the next decade: the current maps from the state's citizens redistricting panel or as-yet-to-exist maps drawn by judges.

And that second option -- judicial intervention -- only will happen if opponents prevail in court, the voters step in, or a subset of the 14 commissioners change their vote on August 15.
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Amazon Tax Suspended If Referendum Qualifies?

July 25, 2011 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Taxes · 2 Comments 

Getty/Eric Tahyer

Legislative lawyers believe that if a referendum on the new law requiring sales tax collection by online retailers qualifies for the ballot, the law will have to be put on hold until the voters have their say.

If that opinion holds, it may raise the stakes for a budget written with an expectation of at least $200 million from the law in question.
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To the Referendum!

July 20, 2011 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Elections · 1 Comment 

Getty/Kevork Djansezian

The initiative may the most popular form of direct democracy in California, but 2012 has the potential for the spotlight to be recast on one of the lesser known of the powers created a century ago: the referendum.

This morning, a referendum was filed to overturn a firefighting fee enacted in the new state budget. By year's end, it could be one of at least four referendum proposals, asking voters to overturn the status quo.
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Ex-Legislators: Why Go Home?

July 19, 2011 · Filed Under CA Government, CA Politics · 3 Comments 

Getty/Justin Sullivan

One of the essential selling points of California's move toward term limits for legislators two decades ago was that, by serving shorter terms, more citizen legislators would be elected who would do their time in Sacramento and go home.

But it's not happening, according to the analysis of a non-partisan think tank.
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Budget Lawsuit #1: Redevelopment

July 18, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Government · 3 Comments 

Pool/Hector Amezcua

Local redevelopment officials and leaders of several California cities took aim -- as expected -- at the newly inked state budget this afternoon, suing the state for its plan to revamp redevelopment agencies and redistribute billions of dollars to state and local services.

"This is about upholding the voters' will," said California Redevelopment Association executive director John Shirey.
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Podcast: Sue Me Summer

July 15, 2011 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

Now that the budget is wrapped and the Legislature has gone on summer vacation, things are all said and done in Sacramento, right?

Not so fast.

This week's Capital Notes Podcast examines the soon-to-come battles over the budget and its political ramifications. Yes, some of those are lawsuits; but as Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I discuss, it's also a good time to watch the 2012 election issues brewing.

We also discuss the home stretch of the independent redistricting effort... which also looks like a sure bet for legal action.

At least courtrooms have air conditioning, eh? There are worse places to be during the summer heat.

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Redistricting's Final, Controversial, Push

KQED/John Myers

As California's bold experiment with independent redistricting enters the homestretch, it's clear that drawing political boundaries is neither simple nor without controversy.

And for the 14 men and women picked to do the work, the questions will soon be: can it be done unanimously? And can the work product pass legal muster?
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Amazon Tax Referendum Filed

July 11, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget · 5 Comments 

Getty Images

With the state budget not yet two weeks old, the first of what could be multiple challenges to its underpinning policies has been issued: a petition for the voters to overturn the new law requiring sales tax collection from online purchases.

A formal request for a referendum on ABx 28 was filed with the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday afternoon by lobbyist Charles Halnan.

Halnan lobbies for, among other companies, Amazon.
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Notebook: Taxes, Maps, Parallel Universes

July 9, 2011 · Filed Under CA Government, CA Politics, Elections, People · Comments Off 

If there's one sure way to get a reporter's attention, it's to amend a contentious piece of legislation with so many new proposals as to make it a symbolic rallying cry... and... a candidate for political squeeze play of the week.

That's how SB 116 now reads, a taxation/jobs/budget smorgasbord and one of several items worth a look in this week's Reporter's Notebook.
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State Poised to Lose Indian Casino Cash?

July 8, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, Indian Gaming · 3 Comments 

As legislators ratified a new state budget last week, it's doubtful that many of them considered the dangers to that budget posed by the final
legal smackdown of California's attempt to get a cut of millions of dollars in tribal gaming revenue.

Now, there are signs that legal defeat puts at least a reasonably sized question mark in a budget that, to pencil out, needs every dollar it can get.
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