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Washington faces numerous deadlines this week
This week could be the busiest of the year in our nation's capital. There are imminent deadlines for a wide range of issues.
We'll start in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid promised a vote on an immigration bill before the end of the week. A compromise on border security between Republicans and the Senate "Gang of Eight" means there are likely enough votes to pass a comprehensive measure before Congress leaves town for the 4th of July holiday.
Student loans are set to double after June 30th and there is also talk of a bipartisan Senate deal to link new federal student loans to Treasury bonds with borrowers guaranteed a fixed rate for the life of the loan.
There's also a fight coming to a head between Senator Barbara Boxer and the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency. Allison MacFarlane has a June 30th deadline — the day her term expires — to turn over thousands of pages of documents related to San Onofre before Boxer, who heads the Environment and Public Works Committee, schedules a vote on her reconfirmation. Boxer says she's been getting more papers every day, "but I haven't gotten them all. And the minute I get them all, we will move forward with it."
Across the street, the U.S. Supreme Court typically closes up shop for the summer on June 30th. That means the High Court has 11 decisions to unveil this week — including cases on affirmative action, California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
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Unless a court intercedes, California will have to reduce its prison population by about 9,500 inmates by the end of the year.
After federal judges on Thursday ordered California to shed more than 9,000 inmates from prisons by the end of the year, Gov. Jerry Brown said the state would request an "immediate stay" of the ruling.
While the state awaits a response, it must be prepared for a denial, which would mean implementing the reduction plan corrections officials submitted in May.
The plan addresses a 2009 order the judges issued to limit the number of inmates state prisons can hold to 110,000. The court did that to relieve overcrowding it determined had caused inmates to fall ill or even die from treatable or mild diseases because they lacked access to basic medical and mental healthcare.
When the state submitted its plan, this is how Secretary of Corrections James Beard described the approach: “We provided a plan which consisted of the best of the bad options.”
Anschutz Entertainment Group
The Los Angeles City Council confirmed Robert Ovrom as the new executive director of the Convention Center Friday. Above is AEG's rendering of what a new convention space could look like.
The Los Angeles City Council confirmed Robert "Bud" Ovrom's appointment as executive director of the Convention Center Friday.
The appointment comes at an uncertain time for the Convention Center. The L.A. City Council is considering a proposal that would allow the private Anschutz Entertainment Group to take over day-to-day management of the city asset. A rival company, SMG World, has filed a protest against that recommendation, arguing AEG lacks the experience to run a large convention center.
Hanging over all this is the question of whether the NFL will return to Los Angeles. The city has already agreed to allow AEG to tear down part of the convention center to make way for a stadium if a pro team returns to L.A. A new wing, Pico Hall, would be built to make up for the lost space.
A solar program has caused a small riff between the Board of Water and Power Commissioners and the ratepayer advocate.
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Today is Friday, June 21, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:
The Board of Water and Power Commissioners went against the advice of the ratepayer advocate when it decided to push ahead with the solar feed-in tariff program, reports the Daily News. "(Fred) Pickel said he now plans to take his concerns to the public and will work with the neighborhood councils to try to slow down the feed-in tariff program in which customers are compensated for the amount of energy generated from their solar roofs," according to the paper.
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The State Capitol was the scene of political maneuvering Thursday over the fate of the Public Records Act.
Seeking to quell a media outcry over access topublic records, the governor's administration on Thursday said it agrees with a fix-it bill moving through the Legislature that restores a mandate for local governments to comply with document requests.
The governor's spokesman, Evan Westrup, told The Associated Press that the governor's office supports the new approach taken by the Democratic leaders in the Assembly and Senate.
The leaders have pledged to undo language that threatened the public's access to government documents. The language is contained in a budget bill the Legislature approved last week and sent to the governor.
Earlier Thursday, the Assembly passed legislation that restores the local government mandate for complying with the state Public Records Act, and the Senate leader then said his house will take up the bill soon.