Sacramento Report

December 2013 / January 2014 -- Volume 58 #5

Timid legislature, tough governor

The 2013 legislative session ended with Jerry Brown proving that he is tough and wily and not afraid to wield his veto pen. When he is on your side, there is no better ally, as he proved this year when together we fought successfully to eliminate “Enterprise Zones,” those tax havens for business that had destroyed our members’ jobs. When he is your adversary, he is tough and persistent, as was exemplified by his year-long battle to force bad pension reform down the throats of our members in the public transit industry. With the help of the Obama administration, we beat him back on that one—for now.

In the Legislature, we found that the supermajority of Democrats, which enables major reform legislation to pass, was something of an illusion, as it appeared that they felt that the best way to defend their newfound power was not to use it. Business Democrats—the socalled “mods”—who are lukewarm, at best, to Labor, were not afraid to kill bills we supported. On the whole, the new class of California legislators, who will enjoy much longer terms thanks to a voter-approved initiative, seemed somewhat timid and politically afraid for reasons that are hard to fathom.

Next year is a gubernatorial election year and Governor Brown has yet to draw a credible opponent. The only Republican who has thrown his hat in the ring is an obscure Tea Party Assembly Member named Tim Donnelly, whose claim to fame is getting arrested by the TSA for trying to bring a gun onto an airplane. This is to say that Jerry Brown, who remains popular with voters, is looking at this point like a shoe-in for reelection. Expect him to maintain his tough-love persona. He can be a pain—but he’s our pain.

For a detailed rundown on the Teamstersponsored or supported legislation that Governor Brown signed or vetoed, go to: