Capitol Alert

Donating your time off + Cohen to CalPERS

Video: Budget-balancing bonds of 2004 finally paid off

Treasurer John Chiang and Department of Finance Director Michael Cohen commemorated the final payment on the March 2004 "economic recovery bonds." Voters approved the bonds with 63 percent of the vote.
Up Next
Treasurer John Chiang and Department of Finance Director Michael Cohen commemorated the final payment on the March 2004 "economic recovery bonds." Voters approved the bonds with 63 percent of the vote.


Capitol staff members are working to address an under-discussed problem over how the Legislature handles accrued time off.

Legislative workers who have been employed for a year can apply for eight weeks of leave once every two-year session. If staff members have no vacation time accrued or don’t qualify for disability leave, they can request catastrophic leave donations by finding colleagues on their own and submitting an application with a list of people willing to donate their time to them.

As a result, three assemblywomen have asked to create a “Catastrophic Leave Donation Bank,” and sent a letter to Assembly Rules Committee Chairman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova.

In the letter, the lawmakers say the bank would allow staff members who have reached their 500-hour accrued time limit to donate their time to the bank for use by anyone who requests the leave. Creating a bank would allow staff in need of catastrophic leave to retain their privacy, and if staff members have specific people to whom they’d like to donate, they still could.

Teala Schaff, communications director for Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, said the idea for this proposal came after one of her colleagues realized she had maxed out accruing time. At the same time, a new staff member in a different office got pregnant without accruing enough leave time. Under the current process, someone in that position would have to ask colleagues for help.

“Staff that has stopped accruing because they’ve maxed out aren’t earning credit, and their credit just essentially goes back to the Legislature with no benefit to anyone,” Schaff said. “This proposal would automate that leave donation so folks don’t have to pander while ill and other folks who want to help, can, automatically.”

Schaff said Assembly Rules is reviewing the letter and could potentially create the bank in a simple Excel spreadsheet.


Michael Cohen, who worked in the Legislative Analyst’s Office for 16 years and recently stepped down as Gov. Jerry Brown’s finance director, will soon be working as chief financial officer at CalPERS — California’s largest public employees pension fund. He starts Oct. 1, thus putting an end to speculation about his possible candidacy for the Legislative Analyst position.


Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (@asmMelendez) — “The CA Assembly rejected an audit of the DMV, but did approve a bill that gives the DMV a blank check w/no accountability. Hope the Budget chair (from SF) doesn’t need an appointment soon.”


Is there middle ground on California health care? Influencers have plenty to say.

“Polls suggest 70 percent of California voters are content with the health care they have. There is no real single-payer plan that can legitimately promise Californians lower medical costs. And affordability alone is an inadequate way to evaluate health care proposals. Access and quality are huge issues with voters. Cox is well served to promote market based solutions that allow consumers to have choices and make providers compete. He also is well served to promote solutions that lower prices such as loosening scope of practice issues.”

— Rob Stutzman, Founder and President, Stutzman Public Affairs

MUST-READ: ‘Bailout in sheep’s clothing’ for PG&E? Advocates slam California wildfire plan


Raj Manni, the father of Stephon Clark’s fiancee, Salena Manni, urges the Legislature to pass Assembly Bill 931. He believes the bill would prevent other families from experiencing similar losses.

Laurie Wayburn, co-founder and president of Pacific Forest Trust, thinks California forests damaged by wildfires must be saved in order to safeguard the state’s water supply.

The Bee’s Editorial Board wants the Legislature to take action to keep ICE agents out of California courtrooms.


Jack Ohman peeks inside the National Enquirer’s safe on President Trump