Friday, October 8, 2010

California Legislature dealing with everything from DUI checkpoint corruption to San Diego Chargers stadium issues

California Democrats pushed legislation to address an element of alleged corruption in Bell, where the city was reported to be making money by towing the cars of sober immigrants from California Drunk Driving / DUI checkpoints if they did not have proper ID. The proposed law change would prohibit that practice. "This is the money that fueled their corruption," said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).

State lawmakers were moving to bring California's longest-ever budget impasse to a close — but not before stuffing their spending plan with last-minute favors for special interests.

As the final votes on the budget loomed, legislators were engaged in a furious round of horse trading, according to lawmakers and staff involved in the deal-making. As legislative leaders rounded up votes, they added provisions that would boost the bottom lines of online travel companies and an ethanol firm founded by a close ally of the governor. They drafted language that could allow the city of San Diego to use more redevelopment money to facilitate a new NFL stadium for the Chargers.

It was unclear whether all the special provisions would survive the night. But the flurry of deal-making delayed passage of the bipartisan $87.5 billion general fund plan, the foundation of an overall $125.3-billion budget that would avoid broad new taxes and deep program cuts by pushing the bulk of the deficit into next year.

The package included 21 separate bills, which were brought up in fits and starts in between negotiations on the last-minute proposals.

Everything in the budget is give-and-take.