Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California senators pursue Prop. 13 overhaul

Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is joining the push to change business property assessments under Proposition 13.
Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is joining the push to change business property assessments under Proposition 13. The Sacramento Bee file

After talking about it for nearly four decades, liberals are making their most serious push ever to overhaul Proposition 13, California’s landmark tax-limiting measure.

Last month, a union-led coalition launched a campaign to alter Proposition 13 with a 2016 ballot initiative that would would raise taxes on commercial property. The “split roll,” which could generate as much as $9 billion a year for schools and local government services, has been a dream of critics who argue businesses are taking advantage of a loophole in the law to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

That’s also the idea behind SCA 5, from Sens. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, and Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, which would put a similar amendment of Proposition 13 before voters next year. Hancock and Mitchell will discuss the proposal at 11:30 a.m. in Room 113 of the Capitol.

Any attempt to take on Proposition 13 has high hurdles to clear. Legislation will require a two-thirds vote in both houses – and almost certainly faces opposition from enough Republicans and moderate Democrats for defeat. Meanwhile, the prospect among voters is shaky at best; an April Field Poll found strong approval for changing commercial property assessments, but the Public Policy Institute of California said this month that support is falling.

GETTING BIZ-Y WITH IT: It’s the rare political position that everyone in Sacramento can get behind: supporting small businesses. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, incoming Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones will all address the California Small Business Association and other small business groups during their advocacy day, starting at 9 a.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center.

ALL THE SMALL THINGS: Even after clearing the Assembly in April with only one opposing vote, Assemblyman Matt Dababneh is taking no chances with AB 147, his legislation requiring publicly-funded research institutions to find homes for dogs and cats once they are finished as test subjects. The Los Angeles Democrat is calling in celebrity back-up, in the form of blink-182 singer Mark Hoppus, for the bill’s first Senate hearing before the education committee, 9 a.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol.

YOU RAISED ME UP: Secretary of State Alex Padilla has made it a priority to boost voter participation in California, with ideas including automatically registering eligible voters through the Department of Motor Vehicles. He will unveil another legislative proposal, based on a recent trip to observe the Colorado elections process, with the help of Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and others, 10 a.m. at the Secretary of State’s Office on 11th Street.

THE EAT GOES ON: They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch; this one hosted by Yum! Brands is a favorite corporate strategy for companies seeking some exposure at the Capitol. The parent of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut will hold its annual luncheon and canned food drive for legislators and staff, 11:30 a.m. on the south lawn.

I’VE GOT THE POWER: What it will take to meet California’s new energy and climate goals by 2030? De León joins environmentalist and business leaders for a forum sponsored by the Diesel Technology Forum, 2:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on J Street.

THE NAME GAME: De Anza College in Cupertino is renaming its community and civic engagement institute in honor of the late Sen. John Vasconcellos, the longtime liberal stalwart of the Legislature and champion of self-esteem who died last year. Friend and former Sen. Art Torres will be on hand for the dedication of the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action, 5 p.m. at De Anza.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, who turns 59 today.

READ MORE: Businesses with stake in California politics utilize Capitol grounds

Alexei Koseff: (916) 321-5236, @akoseff

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