* Updates Since Early This Morning

Judge affirms his ruling for Legislature in budget pay dispute -- In a win for lawmakers, Sacramento Superior Court Judge David I. Brown affirmed his decision today that Controller John Chiang cannot unilaterally block their pay if they submit a budget they consider balanced. Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

Mary Hayashi inquired about Nadia Lockyer's seat -- Maybe there's something about one of the Alameda County Board of Supervisor's five seats that attracts troubled Bay Area politicians. Steven Harmon in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/25/12

Lawmakers reject whistleblower protections -- Assemblyman Anthony Portantino has struck out in his push for legislation to protect Capitol whistleblowers. For the second time this year, a whistleblower bill proposed by Portantino has been killed by an Assembly committee. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/25/12

Safeway could be a potential takeover target -- Beset by tough competition and buffeted by the Great Recession, Safeway has struggled to find its footing, leading to speculation that it is ripe for a takeover by a bigger grocery chain or private equity firm. Eve Mitchell in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/25/12

TSA screeners allegedly let drug-filled luggage through LAX for cash -- Four current and former Transportation Security Administration screeners have been arrested and face charges of taking bribes and looking the other way while suitcases filled with cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana passed through X-ray machines at Los Angeles International Airport, federal authorities announced Wednesday. Victoria Kim in the Los Angeles Times$ Lisa Brenner KPCC LA -- 4/25/12

Violence can alter a child’s DNA -- Researchers and public health officials have known that the basis for adult health lies largely in childhood. The environment in which one is raised affects how healthy that person will be as they age. New research suggests that children who are repeatedly exposed to violence appear to be aging at a faster rate. Mary Flynn HealthyCal.org -- 4/25/12

Marine sergeant booted for criticism of Obama -- A Marine sergeant who criticized President Obama on Facebook pages is being dismissed from the service with an other-than-honorable discharge, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

Darrell Steinberg: Pay ruling a 'victory' for separation of powers -- Senate leader Darrell Steinberg said today that it would be "a victory for upholding the separation of powers" if a Sacramento judge finalizes his decision favoring lawmakers over Controller John Chiang in their budget-related pay dispute. Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/25/12

prison plan praised by Steinberg -- The state's plan for an extensive overhaul of its long-troubled prison system got a thumbs-up from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) on Wednesday. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 4/25/12

LA "flying pretty blind" on elimination of business tax -- The timeline to eliminate the city of Los Angeles’ business tax has increased from five years to 15 years, and despite all of the reports on the subject, one Los Angeles city councilman today said they are “flying pretty blind” in creating the new policy. Alice Walton KPCC LA -- 4/25/12

Feud between 2 obscure water agencies costs consumers -- The Central Basin Municipal Water District and the Water Replenishment District of Southern California have more than doubled their fees in recent years as they spend large amounts of time and money battling each other. Sam Allen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board may change, but how? -- A state Senate committee voted Wednesday to change how members of the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board are paid -- but nobody, including the author of the bill, knows what that change will be. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/25/12

Supreme Court skeptical of striking down Arizona immigration law -- The Supreme Court justices, hearing arguments Wednesday over Arizona’s tough immigration law, suggested they were inclined to uphold parts of the state’s law but may block other parts. David Savage in the Los Angeles Times$ Mark Sherman Associated Press -- 4/25/12

Jerry Brown tells state agencies to reduce emissions, water use -- Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state agencies today to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption by at least 20 percent by 2020, formalizing longstanding goals. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/25/12

Roger Hernandez driving drunk when arrested, lab results conclude -- Laboratory test results have concluded that Assemblyman Roger Hernandez was legally drunk when arrested last month in Concord. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/25/12

From “Girlie Men” to “Man Up” to the Prop 25 Ruling – California Legislature’s Image Problem -- Looks like the legislature’s majority got away with a fast one now that a judge’s tentative ruling declared the legislature can sit in judgment of its own actions when it comes to verifying that a valid budget was passed and legislators can get paid. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 4/25/12

California more Ozzie and Harriet than Kardashian -- California has a global reputation for an anything-goes lifestyle - fueled, perhaps, by the lavishly publicized antics of Hollywood's glitterati. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/25/12

Legislation to encourage flu shots progresses -- After initially stalling, legislation intended to encourage health care workers to get flu shots was approved today by the Senate labor committee. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/25/12

 

   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Brown vows to help state retain innovative companies -- Gov. Jerry Brown would like to shove aside some of California's regulatory hurdles to help the Golden State better compete against its rivals, the governor said Tuesday during the annual CEO Summit organized by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. George Avalos in the Oakland Tribune -- 4/25/12

Is a California public pension overhaul dying this year? -- A key legislative committee isn't going to act on a package of public pension reforms proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and adopted by Republicans in their own bills. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/25/12

Walters: Close look at California bills reveals true beneficiaries -- If you look closely at your telephone bill, you will see a few cents labeled "TDD." Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/25/12

Kehoe’s narrowed abortion bill advances -- In a strategic move to ensure passage, San Diego Sen. Christine Kehoe Tuesday dramatically scaled back the reach of her controversial measure to redefine who is authorized to provide a certain kind of first-semester abortion. Michael Gardner UT San Diego Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert Wyatt Buchanan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/25/12

Judge says state controller has no power to block Legislature's pay -- A Sacramento Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the state controller has no authority to judge whether the state budget is balanced or block lawmakers' pay as he did last June. Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert John Myers Capitol Connection Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 4/25/12

California hunting bill to ban dogs draws hundreds -- Hundreds of animal lovers and hunters packed the Capitol on Tuesday to testify about a bill seeking to ban the use of dogs to hunt bears and bobcats in California, legislation that arose after a top state fish and game official drew heat for killing a mountain lion during a legal hound-hunting trip in Idaho. JUDY LIN Associated Press -- 4/25/12

Morain: Nurses union puts politics ahead of health -- State Sen. Lois Wolk wants to encourage – not require – that health care workers get annual flu vaccinations if they come into contact with patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/25/12

District attorneys protest measure that would end death penalty -- San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos was among fellow top prosecutors at the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday voicing their opposition to a measure that aims to abolish California's death penalty. Neil Nisperos in the San Bernardino Sun -- 4/25/12

Commission headed by Geena Davis gets last-minute funding from Assembly -- The California's Commission on the Status of Women is getting a second act with a last-minute funding pledge from the state Assembly. Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal$ JULIET WILLIAMS Associated Press -- 4/25/12

3 California bills to rein in Buy Here Pay Here dealers advance -- All three bills, aimed at curbing some practices at Buy Here Pay Here used-car dealers, were introduced in the California Legislature this year after a series of articles in The Times. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

California sports-betting bill advanced by Senate panel -- Gamblers may one day be able to legally bet on Lakers and Dodgers games in California under a measure that moved forward Tuesday in the Legislature. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 4/25/12

Jeffe: Brown v Villaraigosa: California's Dueling Tax Plans -- It’s clear that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is working hard to build his legacy on successfully expanding public transportation in and around the City of Los Angeles. Sherry Bebitch Jeffe NBC LA Prop Zero -- 4/25/12

Animal with mad cow disease tested in Hanford -- The discovery of mad cow disease -- only the fourth in U.S. history and the first in California -- was made during routine testing of a carcass headed to the Baker Commodities plant in Kerman. Robert Rodriguez in the Fresno Bee -- 4/25/12

California on the verge of huge generational change -- A lot more older people, a lot more younger people, and not as many folks in between. That's among the findings of a new USC study on California demographics, and it points up some important social and economic adjustments facing the state. Mark Lacter LA Observed -- 4/25/12

PG&E's pipeline maintenance should be more thoroughly scrutinized, advocates say -- The flaws in PG&E's high-pressure gas lines that led to the catastrophic explosion in San Bruno in 2010 may lurk elsewhere, and regulators should therefore launch a comprehensive review of the company's pipeline maintenance, consumer advocates argued in regulatory filings Tuesday. Mike Taugher in the Oakland Tribune -- 4/25/12

Protesters air grievances at Wells Fargo meeting -- Protesters enraged about the country's economic miasma disrupted Wells Fargo's annual summit Tuesday, as shareholders celebrated the bank's record profit and awarded its chief executive a pay package of nearly $20 million. Carolyn Jones, Vivian Ho, Jill Tucker, Kevin Fagan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/25/12

Settlement ends national dispute over memorial -- A 7-foot-tall cross-shaped war memorial at the center of a decade-old national dispute will soon return to its perch atop Sunrise Rock east of Baker in the Mojave Desert, following the settlement of a court case that wound its way from California to the Supreme Court and back. BEN GOAD and DUG BEGLEY in the Riverside Press -- 4/25/12

CalBuzz: The Politics of TMI: Three Arguments Against Twitter -- As sheer hypocrisy, the spectacle of Calbuzz criticizing Twitter ranks right up there with Paula Deen attacking butter, Jose Canseco bashing steroids or Jerry Brown banning Teilhard de Chardin. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 4/25/12

   Economy

San Jose minimum wage initiative qualifies for November ballot -- The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters on Tuesday confirmed that an initiative to raise the minimum wage in San Jose has officially qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot. Tracy Seipel in the Contra Costa Times -- 4/25/12

Undoing redevelopment: State slaps down Orange County cities -- The state Department of Finance is challenging several Orange County cities over redevelopment bills – throwing into question the fate hundreds of millions of dollars that the cities say must be paid, while the state says, not so much. Teri Sforza in the Orange County Register -- 4/25/12

Apple posts another blowout quarter -- Wooing back fickle investors who recently had strayed, Apple on Tuesday announced second-quarter profit that jumped 94 percent from a year earlier, thanks to robust sales of its popular iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. Patrick May in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/25/12

Housing market may be on rebound at last -- New data show price declines easing in big cities, sales of new homes improving nationally and foreclosures in California dropping to levels not seen since 2007. Alejandro Lazo in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

Discovery of mad cow in Calif. was stroke of luck -- A non-descript building in the heart of California's dairy country has become the focus of intense scrutiny now that mad cow disease has been discovered in a dead dairy cow. TRACIE CONE and GOSIA WOZNIACKA Associated Press -- 4/25/12

Mad cow reemergence may hamper California's beef, dairy industries -- The reemergence of mad cow disease, discovered in a California dairy cow, could have major implications for the state’s meat industry, even though officials have said that the human food supply is unaffected. Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

   Taxes - Fees

DWP pursuing 10.5% electric, 5% water hikes -- In a nearly hourlong presentation to the City Council, DWP General Manager Ron Nichols said the department has received only emergency rate hikes this year and it needs a regular schedule of increases to take care of the aging systems. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 4/25/12

   Education

San Diego Unified votes for layoffs -- The San Diego school board voted to eliminate nearly 1,000 nonteaching positions Tuesday night over the familiar protests of parents, teachers and others who have grown frustrated with budget cuts they say will give students a substandard education in an unsafe environment. Maureen Magee UT San Diego -- 4/25/12

Fensterwald: Brown wants financing reform -- Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t taken the Education Coalition’s “no” as a final answer on a weighted student funding. John Fensterwald educatedguess -- 4/25/12

Leg panel moves against Brown’s charter agenda, showdown looming -- With the governor’s release of his revised May budget just a few weeks away, a key legislative panel on Tuesday rejected a host of ideas the administration had put forward in support of charter schools. Tom Chorneau SI&A Cabinet Report -- 4/25/12

Bill would give vets in-state tuition -- The Dream Act, passed by the California Legislature last year, made college more affordable for illegal immigrants. Orange County Assemblyman Chris Norby and host of other lawmakers now want to do the same for U.S. veterans. BRIAN JOSEPH in the Orange County Register -- 4/25/12

Herdt: A big idea to cut college costs -- There aren't many big ideas coming out of Sacramento these days, so it takes awhile for the magnitude of Assembly Speaker John Pérez' middle-class scholarship proposal to sink in. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 4/25/12

Obama honors Burbank's Rebecca Mieliwocki as teacher of the year -- President Obama recognized Burbank teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki as the 2012 National Teacher of the Year during a ceremony Tuesday at the White House. Stephen Ceasar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

DWP to audit LAUSD sites for energy efficiency -- While refusing requests to lower Los Angeles Unified's utility rates, the DWP will audit the school district's biggest energy-guzzlers - its "Dirty 30" - in the hope of shrinking its $90 million-a-year electric bill. Barbara Jones in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 4/25/12

Lopez: School community pulls together for ill sixth-grader -- When students at St. James' Episcopal School in Koreatown learned that James Lee was seriously ill, they held fundraisers and reached out to the community for help. The response was overwhelming. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

Surprise April bond sale nets more cash for school construction -- The state’s school construction program, running critically low on cash, is set to get an infusion from the sale last week of $1.3 billion in state general obligation bonds. Kimberly Beltran SI&A Cabinet Report -- 4/25/12

Senate committee votes in favor of school seismic reform -- A state Senate committee voted today to support legislation that would create a task force to strengthen the state's oversight of earthquake protections for public schools. Corey G. Johnson California Watch -- 4/25/12

   Health Care

Los Angeles Bets On Crusading Doctor To Turn Around Public Health System -- His everyman demeanor belies his stature. As director of the county's Department of Health Services, Katz, 52, oversees Los Angeles' public hospitals and clinics, the health care of last resort for millions of low-income Angelenos. He oversees 22,000 employees and a $3.7 billion-dollar budget. SARAH VARNEY NPR -- 4/25/12

California moves forward with insurance Exchange -- Despite a potentially disruptive U.S. Supreme Court Decision expected this summer, California officials are moving forward with the creation of a new, online health insurance market that is expected to be the centerpiece of the federal health reform approved to years ago by Congress and President Obama. Joshua Emerson Smith HealthyCal.org -- 4/25/12

   Environment

PG&E customers can pay more to be greener -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. wants to give its customers a way to support more renewable power - for a price. David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/25/12

Federal court gives green light to low-carbon fuel standard rules -- The crafting of regulations critical to California’s landmark law curbing climate-changing carbon gas emissions will go forward temporarily while a federal appeals court decides whether they violate the commerce clause of the U.S. constitution. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 4/25/12

   Immigration

Study: Fewer illegal Mexican immigrants in U.S. -- The population of Mexicans in the U.S. illegally shrank by about 1 million from 2007 to 2011 thanks to fewer job opportunities, heightened border enforcement and a record number of deportations, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of governmental data from both the U.S. and Mexico. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 4/25/12

Illegal immigrant screening proposal for San Bernardino County restaurants rejected -- The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected a proposal to discourage the hiring of illegal immigrants by requiring restaurants to inform customers if they use the federal E-Verify system. Joe Nelson in the San Bernardino Sun -- 4/25/12

   Also..

San Francisco bicyclist in fatal crash may face felony -- San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón is preparing to file felony vehicular manslaughter charges against Chris Bucchere, the bicyclist who fatally struck a 71-year-old pedestrian in the Castro district last month. Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/25/12

Quan, chief defend 100 Block plan -- Police Chief Howard Jordan called the city's 100-block crime-fighting initiative a success despite rising crime outside the targeted crime hot spots in East and West Oakland. Matthew Artz in the Oakland Tribune -- 4/25/12

Lake County proposition would treat pot like a farm crop -- Traditional farmers are rallying against a novel June ballot measure in Lake County that would extend “right to farm” protections to medical marijuana growers. GLENDA ANDERSON in the Santa Rosa Press -- 4/25/12

Ranked-Choice Voting Repeal Blocked -- The signature-gathering effort stalls, and there aren't enough votes for it on the Oakland City Council. Robert Gammon East Bay Express -- 4/25/12

   POTUS 44

Obama 'slow jams' on student loans with Jimmy Fallon -- Alternately serious and silly, President Obama weighed in on the ongoing Secret Service scandal and even "slow jammed" the news as he taped an appearance on NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" on Tuesday. Michael A. Memoli in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/25/12

   Beltway

House GOP pulls its budget punches -- Instead of big reductions in Medicaid and Medicare, top GOP lawmakers are sticking mostly with familiar proposals like cutting money for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and federal employee pensions while reaching out to Democrats to help pass annual spending bills. Andrew Taylor Associated Press -- 4/25/12

Republican Primary 2012: What's next for Mitt Romney -- With the primary campaign essentially over, Mitt Romney has landed on a new strategy to keep him in the headlines: getting in President Barack Obama’s face at every opportunity. REID J. EPSTEIN Politico -- 4/25/12