Legislative Democrats have apparently struck a deal with Senate Republicans who have been holding up the budget for almost two months, in part over complaints that Attorney General Jerry Brown is going lawsuit-crazy over global warming. The Republicans demanded big spending cuts and a ban on the AG's office filing any suits over global warming impact of any project, public or private.
The deal, as explained by Assembly Democrats, gives them something less. If it goes through, Republicans will get a two-year ban only on lawsuits regarding projects funded by a multibillion transportation bond voters approved last year. The $103 billion budget would have no cuts, but Republicans would vote for it with the understanding that the governor will line-item veto an additional $700 million in spending — the low-ball number the GOP had demanded.
The pact, which still has to be approved in what could be a marathon session of the Legislature tonight, would be a far cry from the moratorium Republicans wanted to impose on Brown and his ability to sue over any project's unmitigated contribution to global warming.
"It's a face-saver for the Republicans," said Assemblyman Dave Jones.
A spokesman for the GOP caucus said no deal had been struck yet and declined to discuss any details of the proposal.
While Republicans frequently ranted about Brown's penchant for lawsuits, in reality the attorney general's office sued only one county — San Bernardino — for failing to consider greenhouse gas generation in its new general plan. And late this afternoon Brown issued a press release announcing "a possible settlement" in that case tomorrow.
Of course, the budget deal could fall apart tonight and Brown could be back on the political hook tomorrow. But right now he's looking like the big budget winner.
— Cheryl Miller