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California Capitol Hill Bulletin



Volume 5, Bulletin 39 -- December 17, 1998

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
California Congressional Roster
Congress Sets Tentative Calendar for 1999
Reps. Farr And Roybal-Allard to Join House Appropriations Panel; Sen. Feinstein Receives Appropriations Subcommittee Assignments
Social Security Discussed; Californians Lobby Against Mandatory Coverage for State and Local Employees; Matsui Moving to Ranking on Social Security Subcommittee
California Receives $10.6 Million in Policing Grants
Legislative Session Convenes; Governor-Elect Makes Appointments
U.S. Trade Deficit Fell Unexpectedly in October



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 in kind donations from Sun Microsystems and QUALCOMM, Inc.

California Congressional Roster

A roster of California members of Congress for the 106th Congress is attached to this bulletin. We will correct and update it as needed. It will be available on our website in text format at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/106th.htm or in Adobe Acrobat format at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/106th.pdf.
 

Congress Sets Tentative Calendar for 1999

Congress has announced the following tentative calendar for the 106th Congress in the first half of 1999:

Jan. 6 House and Senate convene

Jan. 7-18 In recess

Jan. 19 State of the Union address

Jan. 20-Feb. 4 In session

Feb. 4-6 House Republican and Democratic retreats

Feb. 8-12 In session

Feb. 13-21 Senate President's Day recess

Feb. 15-19 House President's Day recess

Feb. 22-Mar. 18 In Session

Mar. 19-20 House bipartisan retreat in Hershey, PA

Mar. 22-26 In Session

Mar. 27-Apr. 11 Senate Spring recess

Mar. 29-Apr. 5 House Spring recess

May 1-9 Tentative Senate recess

May 28-June 1 House and Senate Memorial Day recess
 

Reps. Farr And Roybal-Allard to Join House Appropriations Panel; Sen. Feinstein Receives Appropriations Subcommittee Assignments

Reps. Sam Farr (Carmel) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (Los Angeles) have been nominated to serve on the Appropriations Committee. They will replace retiring Reps. Vic Fazio and Esteban Torres. Their nominations will be formalized by the House Democratic Caucus early next year. They will join five other Californians on this committee: Reps. Jerry Lewis (Redlands), Julian Dixon (Los Angeles), Ron Packard (Oceanside), Nancy Pelosi (San Francisco), and Duke Cunningham (San Diego).

House Democrats have not yet made other Committee assignments.

On the Senate side, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who will resume a seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee in the 106th Congress, has been named to several subcommittees. She will serve as ranking member of the Appropriations' Legislative Branch Subcommittee, and will also sit on the Agriculture, Interior, and Labor/Health and Human Services/Education Subcommittees.

In announcing these appointments, Sen. Feinstein stated that these subcommittees handles issues of great importance to California, including agriculture, health and education, and she will use her position to fight for funds for California's projects.
 

Social Security Discussed; Californians Lobby Against Mandatory Coverage for State and Local Employees; Matsui Moving to Ranking on Social Security Subcommittee

Last week, the White House hosted a two-day conference on the future of the Social Security program, which is at risk of running short of funds during the next century. The President may propose fixes for the system in conjunction with the release of the FY2000 budget in February, and various Californians, including a wide range of California members of Congress suggested one element that should not be part of any bailout plan.

California is among several states which would be adversely affected if state and local employees were to be mandatorily included in the Social Security system. Californians and others argue that, for relatively little benefit, mandatory coverage would bankrupt successful ongoing retirement programs.

Presently, Social Security taxes are adequate to finance retirees. But by 2013, when baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 begin to retire, the trust fund will start to pay more in benefits than it receives in the taxes. According to some calculations, the trust fund will run out by 2032 and tax collections will be able to cover only roughly 75 percent of benefits required. When originally devised in 1935, the Social Security system prohibited state and local workers and their employers from participating in the program. Thus, California and many of its local governments and school districts created programs of their own.

A key Ways & Means Committee figure in the debate during the 106th Congress will be California Rep. Robert T. Matsui (Sacramento), who will shift from the ranking Democrat slot on the trade panel to that position on the subcommittee on Social Security.
 

California Receives $10.6 Million in Policing Grants

California communities will receive $10.6 million in grants under the COPS MORE '98 (Making Officer Redeployment Effective) program. The money will be used to help law enforcement agencies upgrade their technology and equipment to help put more police on the streets.

The largest grant, $6.64 million, will go to the Brea Regional Consortium, which consists of 11 cities, to develop a new regional, information-sharing, network, the Brea Regional Mobile Data System. The 11 cities are: Brea, Yorba Linda, Buena Park, Downey, Newport Beach, Placentia, Cypress, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Tustin.

Other California cities receiving grants include: Garden Grove ($1.3 million); LaVerne ($212,440); Lodi ($270,000; Mountain View ($300,000); and Seaside ($225,000).

The program is designed to allow law enforcement agencies to purchase equipment and hire civilian support staff to handle administrative tasks, freeing up police officers to spend more time on the streets.
 

Legislative Session Convenes; Governor-Elect Makes Appointments

Last week, 119 state legislators were sworn into office for the coming two-year legislative session. In the Senate, John Burton (D-San Francisco) was reelected as President pro Tempore and Chairman of Rules Committee, Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) returns as Majority Leader, and Ross Johnson (R-Irvine) was reelected as Minority Leader. In the Assembly, Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles) was reelected Speaker, Fred Keeley (D-Santa Cruz) was appointed Speaker pro Tempore, and Rod Pacheco (R-Riverside) was elected Minority Leader.

Governor-elect Gray Davis has announced his selections for several posts in his administration recently. While this list surely omits some, among them are:

- Former Rep. Lynn Schenk, who also served as secretary of the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1980 to 1983, as chief aide and senior counselor;

- Vincent Hall, Davis' communications director in the lieutenant governor's office after serving as district Director for Rep. Bob Filner, will be the day-to-day manager of the governor's office staff;

- Tim Gage, veteran legislative budget staffer, as finance director;

- Mary Nichols, EPA assistant administrator and former CARB chair under Governor Jerry Brown, as secretary of the Resources Agency;

- former state Sen. Gary K. Hart as education secretary;

- Gartland Johnson, a former Sacramento County supervisor and now head of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services region that includes California, as head of the Health and Welfare Agency;

- William J. Lyons, California chairman of the Farm Service Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as head of the Food and Agriculture Agency;

- Philip Trounstine, political editor of the San Jose Mercury News, as communications director;

- Michael Flores, Davis' chief of staff in the lieutenant governor's office, as director of administration and protocol;

- Michael R. Yamaki, currently the president of the Los Angeles Fire Commission, was named special assistant to the governor;

- Burt Pines, a former Los Angeles city attorney, will be Davis' judicial appointments secretary;

- Dario Frommer will serve as Appointments Secretary;

- Demitri Boutris, financial counsel and formerly attorney for U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor, will be legal affairs secretary.
 

U.S. Trade Deficit Fell Unexpectedly in October

The U.S. trade deficit dropped unexpectedly in October from $14.37 billion to $14.19 billion, a 1.2 percent decline. Although there were record imports during the month, a boost in exports of farm products offset the imports. Overall, exports of goods and services reached $79.62 billion, a 2.8 percent rise.

The U.S. Commerce Department said the record-setting imports largely reflected increases in the purchases of civilian aircraft and engines, industrial supplies, and cars and parts.

Despite the decline in the overall trade deficit, and the Asian financial crisis, the U.S. deficit with Japan rose to $5.97 billion, the highest since March 1995. It had been $5.07 billion in September. The deficit with China, however, fell to $5.54 billion from $5.9 billion in September.
 

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