The hardest thing about Tuesday night in the Capitol was finding a lobbyist that wasn’t working the plastic bag bill or the renewable energy proposal. In the end, of course, both measures failed. Luckily for all involved, those proposals will live again, with more billable hours to follow. Among the surprises of the end of the legislative year was the demise of a number of bills that grew out of the recent scandals in the city of Bell. Among the measures that stalled was AB 1955 by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre. That bill would have set guidelines for cities to pay their elected officials and senior staff. The guidelines would be based on a number of factors like population of the city. It’s clear why the League of Cities would oppose the measure. Heck, the state didn’t want to disclose their own staff salaries, so why should cities embrace being told what to do by the state? But it was also interesting to note that the only Democrat who actually voted against De La Torre’s measure was Loni Hancock. Why would the liberal senator from Berkeley vote against caps or guidelines on local official salaries? And does it have anything to do with the fact that her husband, Tom Bates, is the mayor of Berkeley? We couldn’t say for sure. But we do know that the bill was just one of the many casualties of the end of the legislative year. C’est la vie.

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