The Weekly Roundup

Thursday, Dec. 29
Let the leaking begin! Gov. Schwarzenegger unleashes the first bit of news
that will be in Jan. 5’s State of the State address – that scheduled tuition
increases at state universities will not be going into effect. “Because of
the state’s improved revenue picture, the governor is taking the opportunity
to ease the financial burden on students and their families,” said an
administration official who detailed the budget move on the condition of not
being identified.

In all, the state will give the UC and CSU systems more than $141 million to
offset the revenues that would have been generated by the higher fees.

Friday, Dec. 30
Hey, that was so much fun the first time, let’s do it again. Leaks, leaks
and more leaks about the governor’s big speech. Once again, everyone’s
favorite “administration official who provided the information on the
condition of not being identified” is at it again, this time telling
reporters about the governor’s plan to spike the minimum wage by $1. Under
the plan, the hourly wage would rise from $6.75 to $7.25 in September and to
$7.75 in July 2007. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year because
the measure contained automatic future increases in the minimum wage pegged
to inflation.

Saturday, Dec. 31
It’s hard to remember what happened today, what with all the ball-dropping,
champagne drinking and etc. that followed. But that’s why God invented the
Internet (or was that Al Gore?). Storms continued to pound the state, and
the governor refused to hold a public clemency hearing for condemned
murderer Clarence Ray Allen.

Sunday, Jan. 1
The world woke up with a little headache, but rest assured it wasn’t from
all those stellar stories about all the new laws that greeted us in our
afternoon papers. The list of new laws include restrictions on the body
piercing of minors, the use of pocket bikes and online hunting. Teenagers
have now been given an 11:00 driving curfew, cities can regulate specific
breeds of dogs, slave trafficking is now a felony, and no more special
exceptions for incest in state sexual predator laws.

Monday, Jan. 2
God intervened to give Gov. Schwarzenegger a nice set up for his State of
the State address, as the governor declared a state of emergency in seven
California counties.

“We want to make sure that we don’t have the same thing as (Hurricane)
Katrina, where a city is wiped out because we didn’t do anything about the
levees,” Schwarzenegger said.

Schwarzenegger later said his bond proposal would also include money for new
school construction and modernization, which is not expected to be in the
Senate version of the bond.

And in yet another controlled leak, the governor will also send a letter to
Congressional leaders today “calling for a change in federal law to allow
consumers to safely import prescription drugs from other countries,”
according to a statement from the governor’s office. “The Governor will also
reiterate his call for federal action on this issue during his upcoming
State of the State address.”

Tuesday, Jan. 3
Gov. Schwarzenegger announced his education budget today, outlining a plan
that dedicates more than $54 billion to K-14 funding. The money includes a
repayment of about $1.7 billion to schools that education lobbying groups
say the governor owes public schools. The plan also includes money for after
school programs first approved by voters in Schwarzenegger’s Proposition 49
back in 2002. This is the first year the state has funded Prop. 49.

And from our Do As We Say, Not As We Do File: The LAT’s Patrick McGreevey
reports that L.A.’s Department of Water and Power spends $31,160 per year
buying Sparkletts bottled water. At the same time, the agency has spent $1
million in the last two years to inform Angelenos that DWP’s water is safe
to drink and top quality.

Wednesday, Jan. 4
The Legislature reconvened as Sen. Don Perata treated reporters to pancakes,
and both legislative leaders promised a new spirit of bipartisan cooperation
in their respective houses. Set those stopwatches

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