Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Backlash against Proposition 47 grows

In order to reduce the state prison population, shoplifting, forgery, fraud and petty theft, and other lower-level offenses are treated as misdemeanor under Proposition 47.
In order to reduce the state prison population, shoplifting, forgery, fraud and petty theft, and other lower-level offenses are treated as misdemeanor under Proposition 47. The Associated Press

Proposition 47 cruised to victory in the November election. Supporters of the ballot measure, which reduced some petty crimes from felonies to misdemeanors with the goal of cutting the state prison population, raised more than $7 million for their effort, while no significant campaign was ever mounted against the initiative, despite the opposition of law enforcement groups who argued it could hurt public safety.

More than three months after Proposition 47 passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote, the first real pushback has begun. Last week, Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, backed by a bipartisan group of district attorneys and lawmakers, introduced a bill that would allow police officers to collect DNA samples from suspects arrested for the newly reduced misdemeanors.

Now state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Manteca, and Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, along with Alameda County Districy Attorney Nancy O’Malley, are raising concerns over a provision in the law that reduces the possession of a date-rape drug to a misdemeanor, unless it is later used in a sexual assault. They will discuss plans to reverse this component of Proposition 47, 10 a.m. in Room 126 of the Capitol.

VIDEO: Gov. Jerry Brown has the political capital to finally tackle tax reform, California's most vexing public policy issue, Dan Walters says.

MR. POPULAR: Brown is riding high in his fourth and final term, according to a new Field Poll, with 56 percent of California voters approving of the job he is doing. But a majority also faults him for favoring “too many big government projects that the state cannot afford right now,” which may signal trouble for the proposed high-speed rail system and a pair of massive tunnels to divert water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the south, two controversial infrastructure plans Brown has touted that would be signature to his legacy. David Siders has more in his story from today’s paper, including an audio interview with poll director Mark DiCamillo.

TOBACC-NO: Freshman Assemblyman Tony Thurmond is taking huge aim with his first piece of legislation. The Richmond Democrat will introduce a bill banning the use of all tobacco products from California baseball venues, citing the example it sets for children and the health risks it poses for players, 10 a.m. at the Roosevelt Park baseball field on 9th Street. Thurmond’s proposal is the latest in a wave of anti-tobacco efforts this year, which already includes a possible cigarette tax initiative, a new campaign against e-cigarettes, and a bill to raise the smoking age to 21. Jeremy B. White has more on the Capitol Alert blog.

PAY UP: The conversation about equal pay for men and women was vaulted back into the national spotlight Sunday night after Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech at the Oscars. Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, Assemblywomen Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, and Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, and other members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus are bringing it to the Capitol with a bill to address gender wage disparities, 11:30 a.m. in Room 317.

HEAR YE, HEAR YE: If you’ve been wanting for legislative hearings, you can definitely get your fix today. Among the nine scheduled: a joint session between the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee to discuss the Parks Forward Commission’s final recommendations to overhaul the state parks system, 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the Capitol; an Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing on the impacts of Proposition 209, the 1996 ballot measure outlawing race- and gender-based preferences in state hiring and college admissions, on government contracting in California, 10 a.m. in Room 4202; a Senate Human Services Committee oversight hearing on the misuse of psychotropic medication in foster care, 2:30 p.m. in Room 3191; and the first meeting of the new Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee, 1:30 p.m. in Room 444.

ALMA MATTERS: The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, which represents 75 private nonprofit schools including Stanford, USC and the University of the Pacific, is at the Capitol for its lobby day. Students, administrators and educators will rally on the west steps of the Capitol at 11:15 a.m. to oppose a scheduled 11 percent cut to Cal Grant scholarship awards for students at private colleges and universities.

RICH OR PORT: Fresh off a deal in the long-running labor dispute at West Coast ports, the California Association of Port Authorities and other industry groups host the 15th annual California Maritime Leadership Symposium, a two-day conference on the state’s maritime infrastructure, environment and economy, starting at 1:45 p.m. at the Citizen Hotel on J Street. State Controller Betty Yee, Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, Sens. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and Jim Beall, D-San Jose, and Assemblymen Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, and Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, are slated to participate.

HRC IN SV: California voters’ early presidential pick, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is in the Bay Area today for the inaugural Lead On Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women, a professional development event. She will participate in the keynote luncheon, 1 p.m. at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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