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Rich Pedroncelli/ The Associated Press
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, now the House Majority Leader, is one of the big guests at this weekend’s California Republican Party convention.

California Republicans are gathering in Los Angeles over the next three days for their biannual convention, hoping to stir up enthusiasm for the party’s slate before the November election. Chairman Jim Brulte is seeking to roll back the Democrats’ two-thirds supermajority in both houses of the Legislature.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield are the convention’s big guests, delivering keynote addresses at the lunch and dinner banquets on Saturday, respectively. But for political aficionados, the stories to watch are how party activists, who favored Assemblyman Tim Donnelly at the March convention, react to gubernatorial nominee Neel Kashkari, and whether secretary of state hopeful Pete Peterson and controller candidate Ashley Swearengin, widely regarded as the best GOP prospects this fall, can gather momentum for their campaigns.

David Siders has a preview of the convention in today’s paper. Siders and Christopher Cadelago will have coverage from Los Angeles throughout the weekend.

VIDEO: Gov. Jerry Brown’s crony capitalism hurts home health care workers, Dan Walters says.

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Manny Crisostomo/ mcrisostomo@sacbee.com
More than 4,000 home care providers and the seniors and people with disabilities for whom they provide care rallied on the south lawn of the Capitol on June 5, 2014.

Gov. Jerry Brown argues the state can't afford to better compensate low-paid home health care workers, but he's found hundreds of millions of dollars for corporate tax breaks, Dan says.

Have a question you’d like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

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Eric Risberg/ The Associated Press
University of California President Janet Napolitano at a UC Board of Regents meeting on Nov. 12, 2013, in San Francisco.

The University of California Board of Regents on Thursday approved average 16 percent raises for four chancellors and hired a fifth at a 24 percent increase, amid discussions about increasing compensation across the board for its 10 campus leaders.

“Our chancellors have not had raises for years,” and they are paid far less than leaders of large public universities in other states, UC President Janet Napolitano said during a board meeting in San Francisco.

“The notion that we can continue to be so far off-market and still attract who we want as chancellors” is wrong, she said. “This is going to hurt the university in the long term if we don’t take corrective action.”

The board agreed to take steps over the next several years to raise the compensation packages for UC chancellors, which it said are in the bottom third compared to peer institutions, starting with salary bumps for the four lowest-paid campus leaders in the system.

Thursday, September 18 2014
Jerry Brown signs film tax credit bill
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Damian Dovarganes/The Associated Press
Gov. Jerry Brown holds up California Assembly Bill 1839, which he signed Thursday, in front of TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. Brown and the bill’s proponents say it will keep entertainment jobs in California as the state competes with the subsidies other states offer. The Legislature more than tripled an earlier tax credit.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday to more than triple California’s film and television tax credit, a point of heavy lobbying by the state’s TV and movie industry.

Assembly Bill 1839 will expand to $330 million annually the state’s existing $100 million tax credit. Brown and legislative leaders announced an agreement on the bill last month, and his signature was not in doubt.

“Today, we remind the world that the Golden State is the home of the silver screen,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “This bill helps thousands of Californians – from stage hands and set designers to electricians and delivery drivers.”

Proponents of the bill said it would bring back to California productions that have left the state for tax incentives in other parts of the country, while the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has said there is no conclusive evidence that increasing California’s tax credit will reduce production losses.

Thursday, September 18 2014
Prosecutors offer Sen. Ben Hueso a plea deal
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Fenit Nirappil/ AP
Democratic state Sen. Ben Hueso, left, walks out of the Sacramento County Jail on Aug. 22, 2014, following his arrest on suspicion of drunk driving.
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Courtesy his office/

Sacramento County prosecutors offered Thursday to lower the drunk driving charge against state Sen. Ben Hueso to a lesser misdemeanor known as a “wet reckless.”

Hueso, a San Diego Democrat, was arrested Aug. 22 after CHP officers saw him driving a state-issued car the wrong way down a one-way street near the Capitol around 2:24 a.m.

His blood alcohol content was 0.08, according to Sacramento prosecutors.

“It’s an offer we typically make when the blood alcohol level is at the level he’s at,” Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said after a scheduled court appearance Thursday. “Under these facts and circumstances anybody would get that.”

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Randy Pench/ rpench@sacbee.com
A Natomas resident Patrice Clark enjoys a head massage on Monday, March 19, 2012.

Gov. Jerry Brown has handed California cities some sought-after tools for controlling a massage industry boom.

Cities and police officers have complained about a proliferation of massage parlors in recent years, saying the culprit was a 2008 law giving the nonprofit California Massage Therapy Council overriding authority for overseeing massage parlors. The issue was a priority for the League of California Cities.

Brown announced on Thursday that he had signed Assembly Bill 1147, which restores some power to local jurisdictions – notably granting them land-use powers making it easier to shut down or restrict the number of massage establishments.

Also earning Brown’s signature was a measure prodding California schools to teach students about the Armenian genocide. Advocates for greater awareness call the deaths of over 1 million Armenians one of the great atrocities of the 20th century, but granting official recognition often proves difficult. A congressional resolution acknowledging the event has encountered strong opposition amid concerns it would damage relations with Turkey, which says the deaths were part of a war, not a genocide.

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Hector Amezcua/ hamezcua@sacbee.com
Covered California Board Chairwoman Diana Dooley, who also serves as secretary of health and human services.

After months of intense discussions, California’s health insurance exchange on Thursday remained on the sidelines of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would allow the state’s elected insurance commissioner to regulate rates.

Covered California Board Chairwoman Diana Dooley, secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency, acknowledged the many concerns of the exchange and its more than 1 million consumers should Proposition 45 be approved. Among the impacts are its potential to interfere with the exchange’s role negotiating with health insurers, possible delays caused by third-party rate-challengers, unforeseen effects on federal subsidies and the risk of plans pulling out of the program.

But taking a formal position against the measure could undermine the agency’s efforts to largely remain above the political fray as it enters its second year of the federal health care overhaul, Dooley said at the board’s meeting in Sacramento.

“I personally have some very serious concerns about the interaction of the plain language of this initiative and the work that we’ve invested in making the Affordable Care Act real in California and to some considerable degree somewhat successful,” she said. “I think we have established a reputation of openness, evidence and consumer protection and for that reason I have been unwilling to further make this political by taking a formal board position.”

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Michael Kitada/ KRT
Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe look-a-likes stand ready to pose for tourists in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles in February 2004.

It’s a happy ending for California’s film and television tax credit. Gov. Jerry Brown will sign today the bill expanding the program to $330 million in annual production incentives for the next five years.

The effort to reverse declining film and television production in California faced doubts over its effectiveness in luring industry jobs back from other states. But after an intense lobbying effort by Hollywood – including a visit from stew aficionado Carl Weathers – Brown reached a deal with lawmakers more than tripling the five-year-old tax credit.

Brown will sign the legislation, which also replaces the program’s lottery system with a competitive application, at 10 a.m. at the legendary TCL (formerly Grauman’s) Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. No word on whether he’ll leave his handprints and signature alongside those of fellow Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

VIDEO: A special election hasn’t even been called yet, but several candidates launched campaigns this week to replace resigning state Sen. Rod Wright, Dan Walters says.

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Hector Amezcua/ hamezcua@sacbee.com
Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, is one of the candidates seeking to replace resigning state Sen. Rod Wright.

A special election hasn’t even been called yet, but several candidates launched campaigns this week to replace resigning state Sen. Rod Wright, Dan says.

Have a question you’d like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

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Pete Schaafsma, an analyst of government finances, was a fixture in the state Capitol.

Peter Schaafsma, an analyst of governmental finances for the Legislature, the state treasurer’s office and private clients for nearly 40 years, died Monday night of esophageal cancer, his family said. He was 62.

Schaafsma was a fixture in the Capitol for 12 years as the chief budget adviser to Assembly Republicans, taking that position in 1999 after four years in the state treasurer’s office and 20 years in the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the last 16 as director of state and local finance analysis.

In the latter position, Schaafsma was responsible, among other duties, for writing ballot pamphlet analyses of all ballot measures dealing with taxes and government finance, including Proposition 13 in 1978.

After leaving the Legislature’s staff in 2011, Schaafsma joined former colleagues from the Department of Finance and LAO as a managing partner of Capitol Matrix Consulting. With partners Mike Genest and Brad Williams, Schaafsma provided advice on fiscal matters to governmental and private clients.

Wednesday, September 17 2014
Jerry Brown signs ride-sharing insurance bill
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Eric Risberg/ Associated Press file
From left, Gov. Jerry Brown, state Sen. Alex Padilla and Google co-founder Sergey Brin arrive at Google headquarters in a driverless car in Mountain View in 2012.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring drivers in the burgeoning ride-sharing industry to carry more insurance, his office announced Wednesday.

The bill affects companies such as Uber and Lyft, which initially objected to legislation increasing insurance requirements for their drivers. The companies reversed course last month, announcing support for the bill after negotiations lowered the minimum cost of liability insurance they will have to carry to $200,000.

The regulation comes amid increasing popularity of services that allow people using a Web app to ferry passengers in their own cars for a fee.

“While AB 2293 is a consumer protection bill, it represents much more than that,” Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, the Concord Democrat who carried the bill, said in a prepared statement. “This measure symbolizes business flexibility, consumer affordability, political compromise, and most importantly, what true public policy should be – a collective process for all stakeholders to contribute.”

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Hector Amezcua/ hamezcua@sacbee.com
Sacramento City Councilman Kevin McCarty is running for the Assembly against fellow Democrat Steve Cohn.

With the November election drawing closer daily, Sacramento City Councilman Kevin McCarty told reporters and editors in The Bee’s Capitol Bureau why he is running for the state Assembly. Below are some excerpts from our conversation.

Tell us why you’re running.

I think first and foremost is to continue my commitment to public service and serving my hometown here of Sacramento … with a big focus on key issues like reinvesting in our schools and education system.

Proposition 30 was passed specifically with an eye to that type of investment in our school system. Do you think it would be appropriate to extend that tax when it expires?

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