Capitol Alert

Bob Hertzberg bills recognized by business Democrats

Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles The Sacramento Bee file

So you introduced a couple of big bills last session that would overhaul California’s tax and energy infrastructures, but they never went anywhere.

What better way to relaunch those efforts and bring your fellow lawmakers on board than to be able to attach “award-winning” to your ideas?

Two measures by state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, were recently selected as finalists in the 2015 New Ideas Challenge, a competition for proposals to “modernize government” hosted by NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders). The group – which is chaired by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, and counts Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom among its members – bills itself as a national network of “pro-growth progressives.” (For those that don’t speak political jargon, that means business-friendly Democrats.)

Senate Bill 8 seeks to build a more stable source of tax revenue by lowering the personal income tax and replacing it with a tax on services. Senate Bill 155 would coordinate a marketplace between electrical grids in Western states to improve the availability and reliability of renewable energy.

The 16 other finalists, which were chosen from among nearly 70 submissions, address issues ranging from vacant housing and college aid to online tools promoting civic engagement. Six winners will be announced on Nov. 18 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“I’m humbled that NewDEAL believes my ideas are worthy of national recognition, and could be a model elsewhere,” Hertzberg said in a statement. He plans to pursue both bills again in the 2016 legislative session.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff