Jay Mather / Bee file, 2002

Plastic shopping bags could be banned statewide under Senate Bill 405, which has drawn the attention of the California Grocers Association.

The Buzz: CalPERS mailing list bill withdrawn; plastic bags targeted

Published: Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

Author withdraws measure to share CalPERS mailing list

A bill to let unions and retiree groups exploit the annuitant mailing list of the California Public Employees' Retirement System for marketing purposes has died by the author's own hand.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, pulled Assembly Bill 785 one day after she issued an op-ed that touted it as a way for retirees to stay informed about pension issues.

Then CalPERS staff delivered an analytical beat-down.

The measure was set for a legislative committee hearing last Wednesday, but Weber asked to cancel it. A call to her office seeking comment Monday wasn't returned.

The AFSCME-sponsored bill would allow groups representing CalPERS annuitants to request that the fund send retirees' address information to third-party mail houses, which would use that to send out nonpolitical materials on behalf of the groups.

The mail houses would then destroy the address lists to keep them from being abused. The groups would pay the normal costs of the mailings.

CalPERS' analysis concluded that AB 785 goes against the fund's policy, weakens the board's authority and "creates legal, financial and information security risks for the System." Staff members recommended that the board oppose the bill.

BILL WATCH

California stores would need to ditch single-use plastic bags under Senate Bill 405 by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, which has drawn interest from a key business lobby. The California Grocers Association has not yet taken a formal position, but president and CEO Ronald Fong endorsed a statewide approach offering "consistency and predictability" for consumers and businesses.

WORTH REPEATING

"These organizations are backed by moneyed interests, Republican operatives and out-of-state Wall Street billionaires dedicated to school privatization and trampling on teacher and worker rights."

DEAN VOGEL, California Teachers Association president, criticizing StudentsFirst, the education policy advocacy group founded by Michelle Rhee, and Democrats for Education Reform, a group backed by former Democratic state Sen. Gloria Romero, during the California Democratic Party's convention

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