The Buzz: ‘Special’ senators seek reimbursement for special elections

02/09/2014 4:27 PM

02/09/2014 7:01 PM

Following a 2013 that featured 13 special elections, two state senators – both of whom were elected in special ballots last year – have introduced measures to reimburse counties’ election costs.

Senate Bill 963 by Sen. Norma Torres , D-Pomona, would require the state to reimburse counties for legislative and congressional special elections that took place after Jan. 1, 2013. Senate Bill 942 by state Sen. Andy Vidak , R-Hanford, would require the state to pay counties’ costs for special ballots from 2008 through 2014.

“County elections offices throughout the state did their job in conducting special elections that allow citizens across the state to elect their representatives,” Torres said in a statement. “The state needs to do its job and reimburse the counties for the cost of administering those elections now and in the future.”

Torres and Vidak’s measures face an uncertain fate. Last year, a reimbursement bill by then-state Sen. Bill Emmerson , R-Redlands, stalled in the Senate. Emmerson resigned several months later, triggering the state’s next special election: March 25 in Southern California’s 23rd Senate District.

– Jim Miller


NONPROFIT WATCH

Churches, affordable-housing projects and other California nonprofits avoided property taxes on $122 billion in assessed value in 2013-14 thanks to the state’s welfare exemption, according to a recent report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. A concern of some lawmakers, though, is that affordable-housing projects that make substitute payments to local governments risk voiding their welfare exemption. Legislation could be be introduced in the coming weeks to clarify the law.

– Jim Miller


WORTH REPEATING

“I don’t drink or smoke cigars.”

SEN. JERRY HILL, San Mateo Democrat, arguing that having a fundraiser at a lobbyist’s home “doesn’t mean they are (contributing) anything.”

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