To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic faxed bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill which directly impacts our state. Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods. The e-mail edition is made possible in part by a computer server donation from Sun Microsystems.
Bipartisan California Delegation Meets with Bliley, Riordan
Natural Disaster Insurance Bill
Co-Sponsors For Dellums Bill
Line-Item Veto Overrides
Senate To Hold Hearings on New U.S.-Japan Aviation Agreement
State's Domestic Migration is Positive for First Time in Six Years
Subcommittee Votes To Ease State's Penalty on Child Support
B-2 Commission Begins Deliberations
Bipartisan California Delegation Meets with Chairman
Bliley Regarding Utilities, Mayor Riordan Regarding Airport Growth
Half of the members of the California Congressional Delegation, including an even number of Democrats and Republicans, met in a luncheon session on Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Invited by California delegation chairs Jerry Lewis (Redlands) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (Los Angeles), the members met with Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan regarding plans for expansion of Los Angeles International Airport and with House Commerce Committee Chair Tom Bliley (VA) regarding electric utility restructuring legislation.
California delegation members attending the session were Reps. Berman, Bilbray, Brown, Calvert, Campbell, Cunningham, Doolittle, Dreier, Farr, Fazio, Harman, Horn, Kim, Lewis, McKeon, Millender-McDonald, Miller, Packard, Rogan, Roybal-Allard, Sherman, Tauscher, Waxman, and Woolsey. Also present were representatives of the State of California, the City of Los Angeles, and the California Institute, as well as Los Angeles City Council Member Ruth Galanter.
During remarks, Chairman Bliley stated that he hopes that any electric utility restructuring legislation passed by Congress would provide a grandfathering exemption for states such as California which have "stepped up to the plate early" with their own state level measure.
Banking Subcommittee Reports Natural Disaster
The House Banking and Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity reported out a bill establishing a federal natural disaster reinsurance program after agreeing to an amendment in the nature of a substitute to the original bill, H.R. 219. The bill would allow states that offer natural disaster insurance programs to residents to join a federal reinsurance program, which would cover excess losses from earthquakes and hurricanes up to a maximum federal payout of $25 billion annually. Currently, only California, Florida, and Hawaii have state insurance programs eligible under the bill for federal reinsurance.
The subcommittee accepted an amendment offered by Rep. James Maloney (CT) that increases the amount of money states must commit to mitigation efforts to reduce natural disaster damages. Under the Maloney amendment, mitigation reserves must be 10 percent of a state's income from the program, whereas the substitute bill originally called only for a five percent reserve. The amendment was approved by voice vote.
Before reporting the bill to full Committee by a vote of 16-6, the subcommittee defeated two amendments offered by Ranking Member Joseph Kennedy (MA). Rep. Kennedy's first amendment would have ensured that insurance companies benefitting from the program were not discriminating in providing insurance in minority areas. It was defeated 2-10. His second amendment would have required the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce to study the availability and affordability of natural disaster insurance and report on alternative federal programs that could be enacted. That amendment was rejected 7-14.
In his opening remarks, Chairman Rick Lazio (NY) committed to continuing to work with interested parties in refining the bill before it is taken up by the full House Banking Committee. Action at the full committee level has not yet been scheduled.
Co-Sponsors Being Gathered For Bill To Honor
Reps. Jerry Lewis (Redlands) and George Miller (Martinez) are seeking co-sponsors to a bill to designate a federal building in Oakland the "Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building" in honor of Rep. Dellums. After 27 years of service in the House of Representatives, Rep. Dellums retired this week. The bill will be introduced next week. Members interested in co-sponsoring should contact Jeff with Congressman Lewis at 225-5861 or James with Congressman Miller at 225-2095.
Packard Leads House in Overriding Mil-Con Line-Item
Nearly closing the book on a lengthy procedural process, the House of Representatives Thursday voted 347 to 69 to override President Clinton's vetoes of 38 military construction projects. Rep. Ron Packard (Oceanside), who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, led the effort. The House vote was well in excess of the two-thirds majority required to override the vetoes. The President struck 38 projects worth $287 million from the $9.2 billion military construction appropriations bill (see Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 36 -- 10/23/97), including $28 million in California. The process represents the first override of a Presidential line-item veto. The Senate is expected to take up the override question early next week.
Senate To Hold Hearings on New U.S.-Japan
On February 12, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the impact of the recently negotiated U.S.-Japan bilateral aviation agreement. Called an "open skies" agreement, the U. S. finalized negotiations with Japan in late January. The agreement expands U.S. air carrier's rights to fly into and beyond Japan and is expected to increase both passenger and cargo carriage between the U.S. and Japan. As a government-to-government agreement, congressional approval is not needed, but Congress will exercise its oversight jurisdiction to examine its impact on the U.S.
In September of last year, 43 members of the California delegation wrote Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater supporting an open skies agreement with Japan.
State's Domestic Migration is Positive Again
for First Time in Six Years
California's Department of Finance released its annual report on state and county population estimates for 1997 last week. The state's population grew by 1.8% to over 32.9 million, or an increase of 574,000 people over the prior fiscal year. The increase is comprised of two factors: a natural increase of births over deaths (315,696) combined with a net foreign and domestic in-migration (258,304). Last year, more people began to move to California rather than leave the state, reversing a six year trend of domestic out-migration that began during the recession of the early 1990s. In 1996-97, migration into California was composed of rises in both net domestic (21,000) and net foreign in-migration (237,304).
According to the California Association of Realtors, seven counties experienced a shift to net domestic in-migration in 1997, including Alameda (+13,924), Monterey (+9,966), Orange (+1,987), San Diego (+23,480), San Mateo (+2,935), Santa Barbara (1,137), and Ventura (669). Los Angeles County continued to experience substantial net domestic out-migration (-73,199) from 1996 to 1997, but foreign in-migration and natural increase still gave Los Angeles the largest year-over-year population gain, of 128,200.
California's three largest counties had the largest numeric increases in population, but their percentage growth rates -- Los Angeles (1.4%), San Diego (2.5%), and Orange (2.1%) -- did not rank them among the state's fastest growing. Only four (Mariposa, Mono, Sierra, and Trinity) of the state's 58 counties experienced no population increase, whereas 13 counties had reported losses in the previous fiscal year.
For further information, visit the Department of Finance's web site at <http://www.dof.ca.gov>.
Subcommittee Votes To Ease State's Penalty on
On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources voted unanimously to approve a bill relaxing the financial penalty imposed on states who fail to implement a statewide computer system for collection of child support. The bill, H.R. 3130, would assist California and the 15 other states currently without a uniform tracking system by allowing the use of a few dissimilar county-based enforcement systems and modifying the current non-compliance penalty formula.
Under current law, California would be penalized $4 billion in federal child support enforcement funds this year for failing to install a central computer system that tracks the whereabouts and employment status of absent parents owing child support. However, under the newly drafted bill, the state would be allowed to consolidate operation of a few dissimilar county-based enforcement systems and be liable for only $12 million this year and $24 million in 1999. In addition, the bill allows for states to recover 75 percent of a year's penalties if their systems are eventually certified by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in that year. (The bill calls for a sliding penalty scale of 4% loss of federal child support enforcement funds the first year of non-compliance, 8% in the second year, 16% in the third and 20% in the fourth.). Last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein testified before the subcommittee and asked for a lower 2,4,6 and 8% penalty formula. The Senator is expected to lead a drive to lower the penalties of the House version when the measure is taken up by the Senate in the coming weeks.
B-2 Commission Begins Deliberations
A blue-ribbon panel created to study the future of the B-2 bomber began deliberations this week. Congress created the commission as part of the FY1998 defense appropriations bill and charged it with examining the military's future needs for long-range bombers and specifically to consider whether to acquire more than the 21 B-2 bombers already purchased by the Pentagon. The commission is expected to report its findings to Congress by April.
NOTE TO BULLETIN SUBSCRIBERS: The California Institute prepared a cursory analysis of the impact on California of the Administration's FY 1999 budget proposal on Monday evening, 2/2/98. If you did not receive a copy of the document and would like one, please contact the Institute or refer to the document online at <http://www.calinst.org/bulletins/BULL504W.htm>.