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California Capitol Hill Bulletin



                           Volume 7, Bulletin 13 -- April 13, 2000    [or see pdf version]

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
California's Share of Federal Spending Continues Decline;
     Grants Receipts Rise While Procurement, Salaries and Transfers Fall
Immigration Subcommittee Marks Up H1-B Visa Bill
California Delegation's Bipartisan Success Last Year on Base Closure Rules
     Yields Cost-Free Land Transfer at Norton Air Force Base
Valenti Keynotes Golden State Roundtable Luncheon
Bob Hertzberg Takes Helm as Speaker of California Assembly
House Agriculture Subcommittee Passes Hass Avocado Promotion, Research and Information Act
Senate Passes Stock Option Bill
Comments on FEMA's Disaster Insurance Proposal Are Filed; Delegation Leaders Weigh In Again
Senate Discusses MTBE; Sen. Daschle Proposes to Eliminate Oxygenate Requirement
Senate Panel Discusses Energy Deregulation and Electric Competition
WAR Against Meth Act Introduced By Rep. Calvert
Report Examines the Plight of An Aging Workforce
Senate Commerce Examines Internet Tax Moratorium
Hearings on China PNTR Continue
House International Relations Reports Computer Export Bill
Commission on Local Governance Examines State's Growth


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's Share of Federal Spending Continues Decline; Grants Receipts Rise While Procurement, Salaries and Transfers Fall

California and its residents received $166 billion in federal expenditures in fiscal 1999, according to data being released Friday by the Census Bureau, an increase of $4.5 billion from the prior year. The rise did not keep pace with the relative growth in total U.S. spending, however, meaning that California slipped from 11.2% of federal dollars in 1998 to 11.1% in 1999.

While the precise impact on California's taxes-vs.-spending deficit will not be known until tax figures are available in late summer, it is very likely that California's record deficit of $19.4 billion will have been exceeded considerably. The strong economy is almost sure to produce continued upward movement in California residents' share of the nation's tax bill, and the downward movement in federal spending in the state will accelerate the effect. (For a detailed California "balance of payments" report based on the last year's tax and spending data, see the California Institute website, at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/bop99.htm .)

California's share of funding from federal formula grants and other state and local grant programs actually saw a very significant increase from 1998 to 1999, climbing from 12.1% to 12.6% of the nation's grants, and from $32 billion to $36.4 billion in raw numbers. The state's share of grants thus exceeded the state's share of the nation's population for the first time in nearly two decades. Roughly half of these grant dollars flowed from the Health and Human Services Department, which includes Medicaid (of which the state received just over 10%) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF program (of which California received 24%). The state's $2.1 billion in highway trust fund spending was 9.5% of the U.S. total, while California's $764 million from the Federal Transit Administration was 16.7% of that total.

However, California's federal grant receipts growth was overshadowed by a substantial decline in the state's share of procurement spending, federal employee salaries, and direct payments such as Social Security and medicare. In procurement, from 1998 to 1999, California's share of the nation's spending declined from 13.8% to 13.6%. Total procurement contract spending in the state grew slightly, from $25.4 billion to $25.8 billion, while the nation's procurement expenditures increased more rapidly, from $183.6 billion to $189.9 billion. The slight increase did reverse what had otherwise been a six-year slide in the state's contract spending receipts.

Two-thirds of procurement dollars are spent by the Defense Department and there too California's share eroded, slipping from 16.0% to 15.2% of total federal DOD contract dollars spent. Total DOD contract dollars rose by barely $70 million from 1998 to 1999, while the nationwide figure leapt by $6.2 billion. After peaking at 23% in 1984, California's share of DOD contracts funding hovered around the 20% mark until 1995, when that share dropped through the high teens.

Residents of California received $619 million fewer federal transfer payment dollars in 1999 than in 1998, while U.S. payments rose by nearly $16 billion. Roughly half of these direct payments to individuals are in Social Security payments, and another fifth are medicare payments. California's population is relatively young, with a relatively low fraction over the age of 65, so this trend is not surprising. Social Security, medicare and Medicaid account for nearly half of the nation's $1.5 trillion federal budget. California received 10.2% of direct payments to individuals in 1999, falling from 10.5% in 1998.

Among counties, Los Angeles County received the second largest federal spending total, $43.5 billion, while San Diego was fourth at $17.9 billion. Other large California county recipients included Sacramento ($12.4 billion), Orange ($9.2 billion), Santa Clara ($8.6 billion), Alameda ($8.1 billion), San Bernardino ($5.9 billion), San Francisco ($5.7 billion) and Riverside ($5.1 billion). Seven counties received between $2 billion and $3.3 billion, including in descending order Contra Costa, Ventura, Kern, Fresno, San Mateo, San Joaquin, and Santa Barbara.

The state and county spending data to be released Friday will be available on the Census Bureau website at http://www.census.gov/goes/www/cffr.html .
 

Immigration Subcommittee Marks Up H1-B Visa Bill

The House Judiciary Committee's Immigration Subcommittee marked up H.R. 4227 on Wednesday, April 12. The bill was introduced on April 11 by Subcommittee Chair Lamar Smith (TX) and co-sponsored by Reps. Tom Campbell (Campbell) and Robert Goodlatte (VA).

H.R. 4227 would eliminate the cap on the number of H1-B visas for skilled workers over the next three years. In exchange, however, the bill places significant eligibility criteria on the employers who apply for visas for their employees. In order to apply for a visa, an employer would have to show that the number of its U.S. workers had increased over the past year, and that the average wage paid to U.S. workers had increased. Employers would also be required to file detailed information on the employee and his or her education and wages to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The bill would require companies with less than $250,000 in assets to file additional documentation to show legitimate need for the employee. It would add $100 to the current $500 application fee, to be used to combat fraud in the program.

During consideration of the bill, Reps. Barbara Jackson Lee (TX) and Zoe Lofgren (San Jose) raised amendments that they subsequently withdrew, because they would have necessitated sequential referral of the bill to other committees. Both amendments would have provided funding for education and training of U.S. workers. Rep. Lofgren's amendment would have added many of the same provisions contained in H.R. 3983, introduced by her and Rep. David Dreier (Covina), as well as several other Californians. See, Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 9 (3/16/00). Rep. Dreier has indicated that he supports the Smith bill.

Although California's information technology industry strongly supports raising the caps on H1-B visas, many companies have expressed concern over the eligibility criteria contained in H.R. 4227.
 

California Delegation's Bipartisan Success Last Year on Base Closure Rules Yields Cost-Free Land Transfer at Norton Air Force Base

On July 2, 1999, a majority of the bipartisan California Congressional delegation, led by Reps. Jerry Lewis (Redlands) and Sam Farr (Carmel) wrote House Armed Services Committee leaders urging that DoD be allowed to transfer unused base properties to qualified local reuse authorities without cost, thereby streamlining the base closure process and moving surplus property more rapidly into productive use. Lewis and Farr testified before an Armed Services panel, and Rep. Gary Condit (Ceres) was also active on the issue. Ultimately, Congress agreed and a no-cost conveyance provision was incorporated in a year-end legislative package.

That effort bore tangible fruit on Thursday, April 13, 2000, when the federal government agreed to transfer 600 acres of property at Norton Air Force Base without cost to the Inland Valley Development Agency. Rep. Lewis on Thursday commented, "This step is long overdue - we are finally meeting the commitment that local communities will not be sacrificed" in base closures. He added that, "The communities of the East Valley can finally move full speed ahead toward restoring the thousands of jobs that were lost with the closure of Norton AFB more than a decade ago."

In a press release, Rep. Lewis noted that the 600 acres were originally to be sold for the high price of $52 million, a figured later nearly halved to $28 million before being transferred cost-free. Once housing 10,400 personnel, Norton was ordered closed in 1988, and the Air Force predicted 22,000 private sector jobs by 2000 on the re-used base. Companies using the base now employ fewer than 2,000.

California was saddled with a greatly disproportionate share of the nation's base closures during the 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 base closure rounds, shouldering 60% of the net cuts despite housing only 15% of the nation's military personnel before the closure rounds began.

For further information, see Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 23 (7/2/00).
 

Valenti Keynotes Golden State Roundtable Luncheon

On Tuesday, April 11, the California State Society (CSS) hosted a roundtable luncheon with guest speaker Jack Valenti, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA). California Members of Congress attending the event included Reps. Lynn Woolsey (Petaluma), Buck McKeon (Santa Clarita), Mike Thompson (St. Helena), Grace Napolitano (Norwalk), Nancy Pelosi (San Francisco), Ken Calvert (Corona), Howard Berman (Valley Village), and Brad Sherman (Sherman Oaks).

Rep. McKeon introduced Mr. Valenti, noting the guest's distinguished career which included serving as Special Assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, receiving numerous military awards, and having his own star on Hollywood's famous Walk of Fame. Mr. Valenti began his remarks with pointing out many similarities between his two passions: politics and movies. He also stressed the importance of knowing how to relate to people.
 

Bob Hertzberg Takes Helm as Speaker of California Assembly

On Thursday, April 13, Assemblyman Robert Hertzberg was sworn in as the 64th Speaker of the California State Assembly, taking the helm from Antonio Villaraigosa, who held the post for three years. Hertzberg represents the 40th Assembly district, which covers northern Los Angeles area suburbs in the central San Fernando Valley. He has served as chair of the Assembly Rules Committee since 1998.

In his inaugural address, Hertzberg focused on the state's knowledge base, stating, "California is changing. We are at the dawn of a new economy that will completely transform the way we work and live." We have to be on the side of the new economy, making sure tat its promise reaches every Californian. He also focused on education, affordable housing, child care, mental health treatment and efforts to shorten commute times.
 

House Agriculture Subcommittee Passes Hass Avocado Promotion, Research and Information Act

On Thursday, April 13, the House Agriculture Committee's Livestock and Horticulture Subcommittee heard testimony on, and adopted by voice vote, an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 2962. Titled the Hass Avocado Promotion Research and Information Act, H.R. 2962, authored by Reps. Ken Calvert (Corona) and Gary Condit (Ceres), would address concerns over the increasing number of imported avocados, while the state of California remains the only party that pays for an avocado promotion program. The measure would promote avocados by creating the Haas Avocado Board comprised of both domestic producers and importers. The Board would advertise programs, conduct research on the distribution and sale of the fruit, take a referendum of producers and importers, and impose an assessment rate for all growers, domestic and foreign, of 2.5 cents per pound.

Witnesses testifying at the hearing included: Charley Wolk, Chairman, California Avocado Commission; Tom Bellamore, Senior Vice President, California Avocado Commission; Michael McLeod, Counsel for the California Avocado Commission; and David Holzworth, U.S. General Counsel for the Chilean Exporters Association and the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association.

On behalf of the California Avocado Commission, Mr. Wolk testified in support of the bill, arguing that it is vital to the survival of the avocado industry as a whole, and objected to the generic promotion statute (as in the 1996 Farm Bill). Under generic promotion of avocados, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be given control over the governing board and referenda rather than allowing those who pay the assessment and produce the fruit to maintain control.

Mr. Holzorth, from the Chilean Exporters Association objected to H.R. 2962 on the grounds that there is a mandatory checkoff, rather than a voluntary one, and Chilean importers have successfully relied on a voluntary one in the past. He further testified that the Act violates the Foreign Commerce Clause and is against free-trade principals outlined in GATT.

While Rep. Cal Dooley (Visalia) expressed his support for the mandatory promotional program, he raised some questions concerning the Act's compatibility with GATT and the possibility that it might set a precedence in which trade boards favor their state of origin. Those concerns were addressed by the panel, and Mr. Calvert responded that they would talk further after the bill was moved to the full Committee.

For more information, contact the subcommittee at (202) 225-1564.
 

Senate Passes Stock Option Bill

On Wednesday, April 12, the Senate unanimously passed S. 2323, which will ensure that stock options do not have to be factored into an employees wages when determining overtime pay. The bill is identical to H.R. 4129, the Worker Economic Opportunity Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (San Diego) and other Californians.

The legislation is in response to a recent Department of Labor (DOL) advisory that would require employers to add the value of exercised stock options to an employee's wages when determining his or her base wage for overtime computation purposes. See, Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 3, (2/3/00). In today's information technology job market, stock options are now frequently offered to hourly wage employees. The DOL advisory would have made the overtime pay calculation so complicated that many employers might have stopped giving stock options.

S. 2323 had such overwhelming support in the Senate that the leadership took it up on the floor without referring it to committee. The Administration also supports the legislation.
 

Comments on FEMA's Disaster Insurance Proposal Are Filed; California Delegation Leaders Weigh In Again

Several California entities have now filed comments with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on Public Assistance Insurance. Over the last several months, FEMA has been developing a proposal to require public entities to carry some measure of natural disaster insurance on public buildings. California's state and local governments, as well as non-profit sectors, have argued that FEMA's proposal is not economically feasible in California because of the significant threat of catastrophic earthquakes. See, Bulletin, Vols. 6, Nos. 19 (6/10/99), 20 (6/17/99), 27 (9/2/99), 32 (10/7/99), 33, (10/14/99), & 7, Nos. 5 (2/10/00), 7 (3/2/00), 9 (3/16/00), & 10 (3/23/00).

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Reps. Jerry Lewis (Redlands) and Sam Farr (Carmel), chairs of the California House delegation, sent a letter to FEMA's Director James Lee Witt urging that he carefully consider the comments on the ANPR from California entities and draft a new proposal that "avoids the defects of the current plan." The letter also points out that because disaster-resistant buildings have a higher valuation and would be more costly to insure, the proposed rule would penalize state and local governments with tougher building standards, such as California, and act as a disincentive to mitigation measures.

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES), Los Angeles County, the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), the University of California, the City of Los Angeles, and the California Healthcare Association are among the many organizations that filed comments with FEMA this week.

Several of the comments make the legal argument that FEMA has no statutory authority to mandate insurance coverage for public buildings. The comments argue that the Stafford Act makes insurance a condition for federal assistance only after a building has previously received federal assistance for disaster damage. In its comments, OES states that in 1999 it and Los Angeles City encouraged FEMA to adopt a proposal that rewards entities for undertaking disaster mitigation measures rather than punish public agencies. The California Healthcare Association points out that California's hospitals are in the process of spending $24 billion to seismically retrofit its facilities to withstand earthquake damage. Yet, FEMA's rule does not factor this into its proposal, or recognize the benefits that will accrue because of mitigation measures.

Los Angeles County reiterates the argument that FEMA lacks statutory authority for the proposed rule. It also argues that although it could possibly obtain the $125 million blanket coverage at considerable expense, thus meeting FEMA's requirements, it would not be effective in resolving future catastrophic losses. The California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities filed joint comments urging FEMA to allow entities to opt in/out of purchasing insurance, in return for which they would receive full federal assistance if they purchased insurance meeting FEMA's requirements, and only partial assistance otherwise.

ACWA's comments second those of the other entities, pointing out that FEMA has failed to consider an alternative based on incentives to mitigate damages, which may prove to be a more cost-effective strategy than merely "risk-shifting" as envisioned in FEMA's proposal. The University of California questions FEMA's assumption that earthquake insurance will be available, and at reasonable rates. It states that its insurance costs could run between $12 million and $36 million annually. Additionally, it points out that UC suffered no major earthquake damage between 1971 and 1989, but insurance premiums at the levels proposed by FEMA would have totaled $600 million over that time period.

The City of Los Angeles raised the issues of availability and affordability of insurance, and urged that a federally directed re-insurance program would be critical to ensuring stable, affordable, and available coverage for the public sector.

The deadline to comment on the ANPR was April 10. FEMA has not indicated when its notice of proposed rulemaking will be published.

Senate Discusses MTBE and Future of Renewable Fuels; Sen. Daschle Proposes to Eliminate Oxygenate Requirement

On Tuesday, April 11, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee held a hearing to discuss the future of renewable fuels in light of the MTBE phase out process. Specifically, the committee heard from several witnesses, some of which discussed Sen. Tom Daschle's (SD) proposal that would waive the minimum 2 percent oxygenate requirement in certain instances, direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate MTBE, and establish renewable fuel standards. Sen. Daschle's aim is to boost farm income while simultaneously decreasing dependence on foreign oil.

The Committee heard from various witnesses including: Ambassador R. James Woolsey; Keith Collins, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Robert Perciasepi, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA; Mark Mazur, Director, Office of Policy, U.S. Department of Energy; Hon. Thomas Vilsack, Governor of Iowa, Chairman, Governor's Ethanol Coalition; and Rus Miller, COO, Arkenol, Inc.

One of the witnesses, Ambassador Woolsey, testified in support of renewable energy because he believes that the United State's dependence on foreign oil causes national security problems. While he testified that starch-derived ethanol (from corn) is a good start in weaning the United States off its dependence on foreign oil, he believes that ethanol made from biomass is a more remediable and environmentally beneficial option. Mr. Perciasepi also supports use of ethanol to replace MTBE, but testified that in order to achieve the public benefits of cleaner-burning gasoline while avoiding risks to water supplies, Congressional action is needed.

Mr. Miller, from Mission Viejo-based Arkenol Inc., testified that there "is an industry of biomass-to-ethanol technologies ready to meet nearly any demand for renewable fuels which can be imagined."

For more information, contact the web site at: http://www.senate.gov/~agriculture .
 

Senate Panel Discusses Energy Deregulation and Electric Competition

On April 11 and 13, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing regarding several bills relating to electricity competition. In light of the fact that all states are moving towards electricity restructuring programs of some sort, the bills before the committee discussed the role that the federal government should play in retailer competition. Throughout the week, 14 witnesses testified.

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson discussed his recommendations on how the federal government may be able to help promote competition without being overly market intrusive. The Department of Energy received recommendations from the Power Outage Study Team (POST) which studied the transition from state control to open competition and its affects on reliability. Secretary Richardson argued in for comprehensive legislation to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the interstate transmission system; promote regional transmissions organizations; prevent abuse of market power; establish mandatory bulk power reliability standards; ensure that renewable energy and other public benefits are not left behind; and remove Federal impediments to the development of competitive wholesale and retail electric markets. The Administration's legislation, S. 1047, he argued, would repeal the Public Utility Hold Company Act (PUHCA) and the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), and at a different rate than some of the bills examined at the hearing.

For more information, see the Committee's web site: http://www.senate.gov/~energy.
 

WAR Against Meth Act Introduced By Rep. Calvert

On Wednesday, April 12, Rep. Ken Calvert (Corona) introduced the Working and Reacting Against Methamphetamine Act of 2000 - WAR Against Meth. The bill aims to toughen penalties for methamphetamine producers and would help police to better locate and shut down meth labs. Specifically the bill "implements a multi-faceted approach in three ways" through expansion of penalties for criminals, creation of new penalties for harm to the environment as a result of meth production, and coordination of information. Rep. Calvert's bill would also equalize the penalties associated with amphetamine (which currently have less severe penalties) to its nearly identical cohort, methamphetamine. Furthermore, the bill would create reparations for harm to the environment and humans through the cooking process associated with methamphetamine. Lastly, the bill establishes a National Center for Methamphetamine Clandestine Laboratory Information in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the El Paso Information Center (EPIC) and the Los Angeles Clearinghouse. Through this coordination, Rep. Calvert aims at allowing law enforcement the ability to readily access information on seizures, including materials and procedures taken during lab closings.

The WAR Against Meth Act has received 64 co-sponsors thus far, including a bipartisan group of 27 members from California.
 

Report Examines the Plight of An Aging Workforce

In the Plight of an Aging Workforce, Cal State University San Bernardino authors Kenneth Schultz, Barbara Sirotnik, and Shel Blockman describe the ways in which older workers are disproportionately affected by the restructuring of California's economy. It also recommends public policy solutions to aid older Californians.

According to the report, California's recently changed economy has resulted in downsizing, business relocation and restructuring. The effect of the new economy and social influences on older workers is negative, according to the report.

In attempting to explain why older workers are disproportionately affected by the new economy, the report marks a recent shift in California from government, defense, and aerospace industries to business services and retail trade. As part of the new trend, downsizing of businesses and corporate mergers have decreased the number of management level positions, while increasing the level of entry positions. Furthermore, the entry-level jobs tend to employ younger workers, making it even harder for older workers to gain back the employment that they once held, prior to the recession.

In order to alleviate some of the negative effects of the new economy, the report suggests a number of policy recommendations. It encourages the State Legislature to make funding available and help foster a partnership dedicated to maintaining an adequate workforce and believes that employees and educational institutions should be offered incentives for upgrading job skills. The report further advocates that the state should help promote the use of telecommuting and flextime, phased retirement and part-time work options.

The report was developed as part of the Faculty Fellows Program at the Center for California Studies at CSU Sacramento. Further information is available at http://www.csus.edu/calst/Government_Affairs/faculty_fellows_program.html .
 

Senate Commerce Examines Internet Tax Moratorium

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing on Wednesday, April 12 on S. 2255, the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 2000, which would extend the Internet tax moratorium for five more years. Rep. Chris Cox (Newport Beach) author of the House bill to extend the moratorium, testified in support of S. 2255. Rep. Cox pointed out that despite concerns that the moratorium would have adverse consequences on state and local tax revenues, tax collections are in fact up. Rep. Cox stated that California sales tax collections were up 11 percent in 1999.

The Committee also heard from several other witnesses, including: Mr. David Bullington, Vice President for Taxes, Wal-Mart; Mr. Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Business School, and John Burthoud of the National Taxpayers Union.

Testimony from all the witnesses may be obtained on the Committee's website at: www.senate.gov/~commerce .
 

Hearings on China PNTR Continue

On April 11 of this week both the Senate Commerce Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee held hearings on granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to China. The Commerce Committee heard from a number of witnesses, including Secretary of Commerce William Daley, and Jack Valenti, President and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Secretary Daley, reiterating the Administration's strong support for granting PNTR, pointed out that just in the last few years a nascent market-based economy has been evolving in China. Today, there are 40 million cell phones in China, for instance; but, that number remains only a small fraction of the potential market for cell phones. He stressed the benefits that will accrue to American businesses and workers, and the enforcement tools that the U.S. will be able to use through the WTO to ensure China's compliance with its agreement.

Mr. Valenti also testified in support of PNTR, pointing out that a "No" vote on the issue would not improve China's human rights record, or increase U.S. jobs. He testified that in MPAA's negotiations with China for access to its market, the Chinese have always lived by their commitments, and have worked with the MPAA to stop piracy. Mr. Valenti also pointed out the importance of the American film entertainment industry to the U.S. economy and the numerous benefits that the industry would garner from the U.S.-China agreement.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee continued its series of hearings on the issue on April 11 as well. In his opening remarks, Senator Jesse Helms (NC) stated that he could find no justification for believing that granting China PNTR status would benefit U.S. foreign policy goals or contribute to the democratization of China. The Committee heard from several witnesses on the issue, including Mr. Robert Kapp, President of the U.S.-China Business Council, and Wei Jingsheng of Columbia University. Testimony from the witnesses can be obtained on the committee's website at: www.senate.gov/~foreign .
 

House International Relations Reports Computer Export Bill

The House International Relations Committee favorably reported H.R. 3680, on April 13. The bill, introduced by Reps. David Dreier (Covina) and Zoe Lofgren (San Jose), reduces from 180 days to 30 days the congressional review period for adjustments made in the allowable strength of high-performance computer exports. Under the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, after the Administration increases the processing capability (measured in millions of theoretical operations per second (MTOPS)) of computers that may be exported, Congress has 180 days to review the change and legislatively preempt it if it chooses. See, Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 6 (4/6/00). During consideration of the bill, the Committee approved two technical amendments, one changing the title of the bill and the other clarifying that the implementation of the bill will not retroactively effect requests for export already acted upon by the date of enactment of the bill.
 

Commission on Local Governance Examines State's Growth

In "Growing Within Bounds," the Commission on Local Governance for the 21st Century discusses how local governments can help adequately address California's burgeoning growth. According to the report, by 2020, California will add 11 million people to the current 34 million. While population growth and diversity in California helps propel the state's economic growth, the Commission urges the state to invest in education, infrastructure and smart growth in order to sustain its economic vitality.

Several challenges stand in the way of local government in addressing concerns associated with growth. The report found that: local funding is unstable, often inadequate and unpredictable; land use is determined on financial resources of local governments; people feel alienated by a confusing number of independent districts and are less inclined to get involved; and the legal process used to restructure local government to meet growth challenges has not been revised since 1963.

Formed by legislation sponsored by new Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg, the Commission recommends that local agency formation commissions (LAFCO) powers be strengthened, that their policies be streamlined, and that they maintain neutrality. The report advises more protections for agricultural and open space, a review of the state-local fiscal relationship, and a local agency coordination plan.

For more information, contact the Commission at http://www.clg21.ca.gov .

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