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Today, 12:29 PMState workers convicted of possessing or transmitting child pornography would have to pay an extra $2,000 fine if they used work computers to commit the crime, under terms of a bill breezing through the Legislature.
Assemblywoman Marie Waldron's measure is aimed at curbing criminal use of public computers in libraries and at colleges, but the measure would also apply to public employees' workstations. The bill cleared the Assembly on a 74-0 vote and now is set for a floor vote in the Senate.
Current law makes possessing, transporting or producing child pornography punishable by imprisonment county jail for a year or state prison for up to three years plus a fine of up to $10,000. Possession for sale is punishable by up to six years in state prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Assembly Bill 20 mandates that revenue from the $2,000 government computer-use fine be shared equally to fund sexual assault investigator training, to fund public agencies and nonprofits serving victims of human trafficking;and to fund teams that fight child abuse by bringing together law enforcement, child protection groups, medical and mental health providers and victim and child advocacy organizations.
California Assembly Bill 20
PHOTO: Students work on computers in the library media area at THE Yuba College Sutter County Center in 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki Jr.
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Yesterday, 11:46 AMState workers, welcome to the back of the line.
The tentative agreement covering 95,000 state employees represented by SEIU Local 1000 includes a 4.5 percent raise spread over two years starting in mid-2014.
But the deal includes a contingency that puts employee pay raises below the state's other obligations and leaves it to the finance director, currently Ana Matosantos, to make the decision.
Here's the caveat in the Local 1000 tentative agreement posted online last week:
The increases specified ... are contingent on projected revenues at the 2014-15 May Revision to the Governor's Budget being sufficient to fully fund existing statutory and constitutional obligations, existing fiscal policy and the costs of providing the aforementioned pay increases to all eligible employees. If funding is determined to be insufficient to fund the pay increase ... for all eligible employees, no employees or bargaining units will receive the increase. Determination of funding availability relative to this section shall be at the sole discretion of the Director of the Department of Finance.
Should the finance director decide the state can't afford the partial raise next year, then the whole 4.5 percent gets pushed to July 1, 2015.
If bargaining history is a guide, the SEIU deal sets a template for the other 10 bargaining units in contract talks with Brown. We expect several will reach tentative agreements with Brown soon.Those with deferred raises will likely include similar contingency clauses.
Giving the finance director, a gubernatorial appointee, authority to make the decision removes it from legislative politics and puts the responsibility squarely on the Brown administration. When the decision is made next spring, Brown likely will be in the middle of his re-election campaign.
Previous finance chiefs have had their fingers on other triggers.
In 2003, for example, Finance Director Steve Peace said that the state's coffers had met the legal definition of "insufficient monies" required by law to triple California's car tax. Arnold Schwarzenegger hammered then-Gov. Gray Davis for the tax hike.
Voters recalled Democrat Davis later that year and elected Schwarzenegger, who reversed the car tax increase on his first day in office.
PHOTO: Finance Director Ana Matosantos talks about Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal in Sacramento on Monday, May 14, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua
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Yesterday, 09:10 AMAmong the mountain of budget-related measures lawmakers approved last week, two paragraphs in the voluminous Assembly Bill 76 call for greater scrutiny of "additional appointments" and the policy that fueled them.
The measure requires the Department of Human Resources make regular reports to the Legislature on employees who hold two or more jobs in state government. The State Personnel Board would also have to make a report to the Legislature about the obscure, loosely-written policy manual departments leaned on to justify the practice.
The measure, now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature, is the latest turn in a series of events triggered by Bee reports that showed how the once-obscure policy allowed California state employees -- including salaried managers -- to take a second hourly-wage job within their same department.
A measure died in committee last month that would have prohibited salaried state employees from taking a second hourly-wage position within their same department or agency. The bill's Republican author, Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, said at the time he hoped lawmakers would enact similar legislation as part of the budget.
Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has banned the practice for salaried employees. Here's the budget trailer bill language:
(12) Existing law establishes the Department of Human Resources in state government to operate the state civil service system in accordance with Article VII of the California Constitution, the Government Code, the merit principle, and applicable rules duly adopted by the State Personnel Board. Existing law requires that civil service positions be filled by appointment, except as provided.
This bill would require the Department of Human Resources to submit reports to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and certain fiscal committees of the Legislature, by November 30, 2013, and November 30, 2014, regarding additional appointments held by state employees, as specified. The bill would also require, by November 30, 2013, the State Personnel Board to submit a report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and certain fiscal committees of the Legislature regarding the policies and practices included in the Personnel Management Policy and Procedures Manual, as specified.
PHOTO: Moon over Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton
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14 June 2013 - 05:33 PMThe tentative agreement hammered out between Gov. Jerry Brown and SEIU Local 1000 will add roughly $734.8 million over three years to California's compensation costs for the 95,000 employees the deal covers.
Put another way, the state's average cost per employee would increase under the proposal by roughly $7,700 -- $210 per month from July 2013 through June 2016. Union members must ratify the pact before it can take effect.
Raises phased in over the last two years of the deal account for the bulk of the money, according to estimates released last week by Brown's Department of Human Resources.
A planned 2 percent raise in fiscal 2014-15 would add a total of $262.5 million over two years. A second 2.5 percent pay increase anticipated in fiscal 2015-16 adds another $167.4 million for that year.
Higher health benefits costs will add another $271 million. Raises for seasonal clerks, employee pay differentials and a few other relatively minor items make up the balance.
Meanwhile, the state will save $2.79 million over the contract's three years because new CalPERS members will be under the lower-benefits, higher pension-contribution formulas mandated by the 2012 pension-change law.
CalHR's summary of the contract
The summary of the contract's cost (total costs are in the "total budgetary" column on the right)
The Bargaining Unit 1 tentative agreement is posted below. Click here for links to tentative agreements covering all nine state bargaining units under SEIU.
SEIU Local 1000 BU 1 memorandum of understanding, July 2, 2013 to July 1, 2014
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13 June 2013 - 10:41 AMCalPERS has lost a lawsuit over fees it owes a former real estate investment partner. A Delware court, The Bee's Dale Kasler reports, has ordered the fund pay $52 million.
Here's the court ruling for State Worker blog users who want to delve into the technical details. (We know who you are, Bargaining Unit 2 people!)
Senior Housing Capital, LLC v. SHP Senior Housing Fund, LLC 5 13 13
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