This year’s fight over the road-funding package that will raise fuel taxes and registration fees involved lobbying from dozens of labor, business and local government organizations.
Yet the lobbyist employer that spent the most from January through March, the Western States Petroleum Association, largely had a hands-off approach to the measure that will increase taxes on its product. Lawmakers narrowly approved the increase, Senate Bill 1, on April 6.
The association reported spending almost $1.4 million from Jan. 1 through March 31, with about $1 million of that paid to various public relations shops, consulting firms, ad buyers and other expenses that fell into the so-called other payments to influence category. It remained neutral on the tax hike/road repair measure and has been engaged with other high-profile measures to expand cap-and-trade and to accelerate California’s shift to renewable energy.
The second-highest first-quarter spender was the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a strong critic of SB 1, the road measure. Much of the money went to marketing and printing costs, the group’s filing shows.
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Filling out the top-5 in the first quarter was Chevron Corporation, which spent $968,000; the California State Council of Service Employees, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, which spent $868,000; and the California Hospital Association spent just over $777,000.
Overall, the first three months of the legislative session featured $75.3 million in total spending, according to filings due last week. That compares to $66.5 million in 2011, $62.4 million in 2013, and $68 million in 2015.
HONORING FALLEN OFFICERS: Gov. Jerry Brown, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye are among the officials expected to speak at a memorial ceremony today honoring 15 California law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Their names will be added to the 1,590 others on the Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument in Sacramento.
The ceremony begins with the “Walk of Honor” at 10:30 a.m. from the Capitol’s west steps to the monument at 10th Street and Capitol Mall.
CALIFORNIA ROLL: Proposed legislation to allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs in California is headed for its first major test this afternoon.
The debate has persisted for years. High-profile fights erupted two years ago in San Francisco, with cyclists staging mass “stop-in” protests on the streets, jamming traffic behind scores of riders backed up at stop signs. Last year, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee vetoed a proposed ordinance that would have allowed bike riders to use the to so-called “Idaho stop,” or “California roll.”
It failed in San Francisco, but two state lawmakers, one a Republican from Southern California and the other a Democrat from San Francisco, say it’s safer to allow cyclists to roll through stop signs if traffic conditions permit. It’s a regular practice of bike commuters, though technically it’s illegal.
Assemblymen Jay Obernolte, R-Big Bear Lake, and Phil Ting, D-San Francisco – both avid cyclists – argue stopping at every stop sign causes safety hazards for cyclists, particularly in urban areas, and they lose momentum, increasing the potential for collisions with vehicles.
Critics say cyclists should not be able to operate under separate rules than motorists, and allowing them to roll through stop signs poses safety hazards for pedestrians other cyclists.
Assembly Bill 1103, modeled after an Idaho law passed in 1982, is up for its first hearing in the Assembly Transportation Committee. It begins at 2:30 p.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol.
The committee will also consider a measure, Assembly Bill 390, from Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, that clarifies how much time you have to get through a crosswalk when the “walk” sign is lit.
WORTH REPEATING: “Like many in this room, I am well-versed in trickery and fraud.” –Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-Templeton, as he faced friendly hazing by colleagues during an Assembly floor session.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: Bernie Sanders delivered a message to California Saturday night.
HIV CARE: A select committee of the Assembly organized to oversee infectious diseases in high-risk, disadvantaged communities will assess needs and progress of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides low-income people with HIV access to health care and necessary prescriptions. The hearing is at 3 p.m. in Room 444 of the Capitol.
FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE: Doctors, hospital administrators, health care experts and journalists will discuss the future of health care at a free, all-day event in San Francisco, hosted by the California Health Care Foundation titled “Charting a course in uncertain times.”
Panelists will discuss the current political environment and health care proposals at the state and federal level. They’ll likely touch on House Republicans’ bill to replace Obamacare, as well as a proposal from Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, to adopt single-payer, universal health care system for all of California.
RALLY TIME: Advocates and family members of formerly incarcerated people will gather from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. to lobby for legislation aimed at assisting people leaving the criminal justice system, including Assembly Bill 1008 by Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, to prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s conviction record until they’ve received a conditional offer.
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, which is organizing the rally, is also backing Assembly Bill 535 from Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, which would end the prohibition on people with felony convictions serving on juries, as well as Senate Bill 185 from state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, which would prohibit driver’s licenses suspensions when people cannot afford to pay minor traffic tickets.
Angela Hart: 916-326-5528, @ahartreports