Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown vetoes bill to help military members find legal aid

In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the Association of California Water Agencies conference, in Sacramento.
In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the Association of California Water Agencies conference, in Sacramento. AP

Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin’s bill to help active military members find pro bono legal help in California appeared to be one of the least controversial of the year.

Facing no registered opposition, the measure cleared committee hearings and floor votes without dissent. It was supported by officials at the U.S. Department of Defense.

But Irwin’s bill would have cost money Gov. Jerry Brown was not inclined to spend.

The fourth-term Democrat on Wednesday vetoed Assembly Bill 2085, which would have created a state office to coordinate free legal assistance for military members, saying the measure should instead be considered in budget deliberations.

The proposal by Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, would have cost the state about $800,000 annually to staff a new Office of Military Legal Assistance within the California Military Department, according to a legislative analysis.

“I believe this type of bill is more properly considered during budget deliberations,” Brown said in a veto message.

The bill was one of two the Democratic governor vetoed Wednesday. The other, Assembly Bill 2279, would have required the state to compile county revenue and spending data related to Proposition 63, the 1 percent income tax on Californians earning $1 million or more per year to pay for mental health services.

Proposition 63, passed by California voters in 2004, has faced ongoing criticism about oversight, with the Little Hoover Commission saying last year that it was difficult, if not impossible, to analyze the effectiveness of money spent under the measure.

Brown said in a veto message that the state is already collecting and posting reports that will provide much of the same information Assembly Bill 2279 is seeking.

The vetoes came as Brown rushes to act on hundreds of bills before a Sept. 30 deadline.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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