Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Governor Jerry Brown dropped hints last night that he may attempt to circumvent the two-thirds-vote requirement in the legislature to put his tax measures on the June ballot, the Chron and CoCo Times report. At a large meeting of labor activists in Sacramento, Brown said that “one way or another” the people of California would vote on his tax measures. Brown has maintained for months that he needs two Republican votes in both the Assembly and the Senate for his tax plan, but some Democrats have quietly suggested that a loophole in state law could allow Brown to muscle through his proposal with a simple majority vote. Brown also has stopped negotiating with the so-called GOP 5. In addition, the governor and Democrats are now looking at June 14 as Election Day, because it appears to be too late to do it on June 7.
2. A new Field Poll, meanwhile, shows that a plurality of Californians approves of the way Brown is handling his job, the Chron reports. The governor won approval of 48 percent of those polled, while 21 percent said they disapprove of his performance so far. However, a large percentage — 31 — said they have not formed an opinion. Brown, meanwhile, also launched a YouTube appeal to voters for his budget and tax plan.
3. Leftist environmental groups convinced a judge to temporarily derail California’s landmark cap-and-trade system for regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, the Chron reports. The judge agreed with the groups that state regulators should have done a more thorough job analyzing alternatives to cap and trade, and ordered them to do so. The leftist groups want the California Air Resources Board to adopt a stricter carbon-tax system, because they contend that loopholes in cap and trade will allow industry to spew pollution over low-income areas.
4. A Republican state senator is attempting to block the license renewal of PG&E’s Diablo Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo in the wake of the Japanese nuclear crisis, the LA Times reports. Senator Sam Blakeslee, who has a doctorate in geophysics, says he wants PG&E to conduct a thorough seismic study of the Diablo site, especially after the discovery of a new fault line nearby.
5. The state paid out $293 million last year to public employees, many of whom had huge amounts of banked time off from accrued vacation and sick leave, the Chron reports. California’s paid-leave liability for public employees is growing out of control and has now reached $3.5 billion, up from $1.9 billion four years ago.
6. And prosecutors in the Yusuf Bey IV murder trial revealed in opening statements yesterday that investigators found a spent shotgun shell in Bey IV’s bedroom from the weapon used to assassinate Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, the CoCo Times and Chron report.