Capitol Brief: Prohibition of dual state jobs stalls in Assembly committee

Published: Saturday, May. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4A

Legislation to prohibit salaried state employees from taking a secondary hourly-wage position within their same department or agency stalled Friday in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R- Camarillo, introduced Assembly Bill 208 after reports in The Bee shed light on the obscure policy.

Gorell blasted the practice, saying that it had become a way for salaried state workers to receive de facto overtime.

"I continue to ask my colleagues to make the responsibility of government oversight a top priority," Gorell said in a statement after the committee's action.

Gov. Jerry Brown has since banned intra-departmental "additional appointments" for salaried state employees. Brown's edict carries the force of administrative policy, not law.

– Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau

Clear-cut election win looks murky in latest vote count

The announcement that Republican farmer Andy Vidak won outright former state Sen. Michael Rubio's seat may have been premature.

An updated vote count puts Vidak below the 50-percent-plus-one threshold he needed to surpass to avoid a runoff against his Democratic opponent, Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez.

The total posted on the Secretary of State's website Friday afternoon gave Vidak 49.8 percent of the vote and Perez 43.8 percent.

The secretary of state's office faces a May 31 deadline to certify the results of the election.

– Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau

221 state spending bills headed for Assembly floor

The Assembly Appropriations Committee moved 221 bills proposing $700 million in spending off the suspense file and onto the floor Friday in preparation for a vote next week.

The committee, which is tasked with reviewing all bills with a fiscal implication for the state, considered 365 bills in all.

Appropriations Chair Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, said the committee cut 80 percent of the $3.5 billion in proposed spending on the suspense file.

Among the bills that failed to pass the committee were:

• AB 1326 by Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, which would have created a tax credit for drone manufacturing.

• AB 299 by Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, which would have prohibited health plans or insurers from making mail-order pharmacies mandatory.

• AB 332 by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, which would have required condoms in the adult film industry.

– Melody Gutierrez, Bee Capitol Bureau

Senate votes to eliminate legal edge for e-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes would be subject to the same prohibitions as regular cigarettes under a bill passed Friday by the California Senate.

Smoking e-cigarettes at a bar subject to an indoor smoking ban would no longer be possible under Senate Bill 648 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, which would ban e-cigarettes inside public buildings, near a playground, inside restaurants and on an airplane. It would also restrict the places where e-cigarette companies could advertise.

Corbett said she had authored the legislation in pursuit of "consistent regulation" that holds the burgeoning e-cigarette industry to the same standards as tobacco-based products, and added that studies of e-cigarette smoke had found harmful particles of metal components.

"This bill does not ban the use of e-cigarettes," Corbett said, "it just treats them the same as other cigarettes."

The measure passed on a 21-10 vote. One of the dissenting lawmakers, Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, argued that e-cigarettes are an effective way to help people quit regular cigarettes, something he asked senators to consider.

– Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau

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