Squirreled away on Page 79 of Gov. Jerry Brown's state budget summary is the always-entertaining narrative on the Commission on State Mandates.
In recent years, California lawmakers and governors down on their fiscal luck have pored over obscure corners of state government to pick up a little cash.
The idea is to suspend laws so local governments are no longer required to do certain things, therefore relieving the state of the legal responsibility to pay for those things.
Last year, the approved budget suspended 56 separate laws though mid-2015. Gone or at least unenforced for a while are laws dealing with mandatory open meetings, crime reporting, absentee ballots and animal shelters. The savings to the state is no joke: $828 million a year.
And now, Brown has his eyes on another $103.8 million by suspending four more laws, including one that requires local police to take a report and investigate incidents of identity theft.
Brown's Department of Finance contends the maneuver has few consequences for the public because local governments will continue to take crime reports, have open meetings, etc., even "without the incentive of the state being financially responsible."
Dan Smith, Bee Capitol Bureau
The Bee's Kevin Yamamura hosts a segment on the California Channel's "California Connections" about the budget Gov. Jerry Brown proposed last week. Participants include Senate Republican leader Bob Huff, Finance Department spokesman H.D. Palmer, and Democrat Mark DeSaulnier, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. View it at sacbee.com/capitolalert starting at noon.
Bee Capitol Bureau
"California is way behind the curve. I think it's time to take the issue to the voters."
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER DAVE JONES, talking to Politico last week. A ballot measure now slated for November 2014 would require that, except for exployers' large group health plans, any proposed rate changes be approved by the insurance commissioner.