If there’s one lesson we learned from Nate Silver and the 2012 election, it’s that math rules. For all the pundits and PACs, Silver’s numbers were 100-percent accurate in predicting the electoral breakdown. Now, if only data could predict the behavior of our officials once they’re elected.
As the California Senate and Assembly finishes up their terms, we thought we’d crunch the numbers to see what the math says about Team San Diego’s 2011-12 performance in Sacramento.
Vote pie: The percentage of Yes (blue), No (red) and Absent/Abstain (black) votes cast in committees or on the floor, using data compiled by SacBee.com.
Success rate: Percentage of bills passed over those introduced, derived from official legislative data.
How life’s different: A few key examples of how life’s changed, or will change, based on the legislator’s bills.
Fiscal impact: The approximate cost (or new revenue) associated with the legislator’s bills, based on official legislative analyses.
What’s next: Self-explanatory.
Toni Atkins (D)
Assembly District 76
Yes: 95.7 percent
No: 0.9 percent
Abs: 3.4 percent
Success rate: 60.6 percent
How life’s different: Minors 12 years and older get to make their own decisions about sexually-transmitted-disease prevention; computer technicians—such as Best Buy’s “Geek Squad”—have to report suspected child-porn to the authorities; mobile-home owners will receive an annual notice of their rights; state prisons are forbidden from shackling pregnant inmates during delivery or post-delivery recovery; and active-duty soldiers get a break when it comes to meeting the requirements of renewing their professional licenses.
Fiscal impact: Atkins’ bills will cost $2.79 million to $5.38 million annually, plus the state may need to reimburse local agencies as much $2.5 million for “fact-finding panels” in public-employee labor disputes.
What’s next: Atkins was reelected with a 62.3-percent majority, a 4.6-percent larger margin than in 2010. This is due, in part, to redistricting (she’s now in the 78th district) and the new, top-two general-election system.
Marty Block (D)
Assembly District 78
Yes: 97.7 percent
No: 0.6 percent
Abs: 1.7 percent
Success rate: 54.8 percent
How life’s different: The governor has to give district attorneys 10 days’ notice before issuing sentence commutations; hospitals must offer congenital-heart-disease screenings to newborns; private universities must offer prospective students all kinds of new school-performance information; the California State University and University of California systems must appoint liaisons to serve as buffers between campus police and protesters; and the spouses of active-duty military personnel will benefit from expedited professional-license processing.
Fiscal Impact: One-time costs of $215,000 and annual costs of $1.68 million to $2.88 million, mostly to implement the newborn-screening program (though the state may save money in the long run by catching congenital heart disease earlier). Universities may also incur uncalculated “potentially significant costs” to implement a new LGBT anti-discrimination law, and community colleges may see one-time savings due to Block’s bill reforming board elections.
What’s next: Block was elected to the state Senate (District 39) with 58.2 percent of the vote, a 1.1-percent smaller majority than he won during his last election to the assembly.
Nathan Fletcher (I)
Assembly District 75
Yes: 62.8 percent
No: 13.5 percent
Abs: 23.7 percent
Success rate: 29.3 percent
How life’s different: Beer-tasting rooms are regulated the same way as wine-tasting rooms; homeless youth won’t have their wages garnished for low-level crimes like truancy and loitering; and an active-duty soldier who wants to run for office but is deployed can have a designee file paperwork on his behalf. Where the Interstate 15 crosses Lake Hodges is renamed the “Chelsea King Memorial Bridge,” and a stretch of Route 78 is now designated as the “Amber Dubois Memorial Highway.”
Fiscal impact: Fletcher’s bills come with negligible costs, but his legislation to disband the San Diego County Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies (aka the callbox agency) results in the redistribution of approximately $8 million to local municipalities. The San Diego Association of Governments, which is taking over the roadside callbox system, will face $1.14 million in new costs, which will be covered by continuing an annual $1 surcharge on vehicle registrations.
What’s next: Although Mayor-elect Bob Filner was courting Fletcher for his administration, the failed mayoral candidate instead accepted a job as senior director of corporate development at Qualcomm.
Martin Garrick (R)
Assembly District 74
Yes: 54.6 percent
No: 32.7 percent
Absent: 12.7 percent
Success rate: 18.6 percent
How life’s different: Non-commercial yacht owners will have an easier time filing paperwork when entering California waters; commercial vehicles can place “video event recording devices” in the uppercenter of their windshield instead of just in the lower-left and right-hand corners; and horse-racing organizations can simulcast and take bets on 50 out-of-state races per day instead of just 32.
Fiscal impact: Nada.
What’s next: Garrick’s going back to his real-estate business, Admiral Property Company.
Diane Harkey (R)
Assembly District 73
Yes: 58.5 percent
No: 33.2 percent
Abs: 8.2 percent
Success rate: 13 percent
How life’s different: Harkey cleared up a deadline inconsistency for paying retail sales tax, moving it from Jan. 31 to April 15. Aside from resolutions (such as naming April 29, 2011, as “Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids Day”), that’s the only change to state law she passed this cycle.
Fiscal impact: Her tax bill may reduce tax revenues by less than $10,000.
What’s next: Harkey was reelected, but her new district no longer covers any part of San Diego County.
Ben Hueso (D)
Assembly District 79
Yes: 93.7 percent
No: 0.6 percent
Abs: 6.7 percent
Success rate: 40 percent
How life’s different: “Bath salts” are banned; low-cost automobile insurance can be sold online; San Diego city employees will collect Social Security (though the bill’s currently facing a legal challenge); and social-services agencies will face new standards when deciding whether to place dependent children with guardians outside the country.
Fiscal impact: One-time costs of $210,000 for the juvenile dependant and low-cost auto insurance programs, then between $1.13 million and $1.6 million annually in new costs for courts and counties to implement Hueso’s electronic-monitoring program for domestic-violence offenders.
What’s next: Hueso won reelection (he’s now in District 80) with 68.8 percent of the vote, a 6-percent increase over 2010, possibly due to redistricting. He’s expected to run for Juan Vargas’ Senate seat (see below).
Kevin Jeffries (R)
Assembly District 66
Yes: 63.2 percent
No: 28.9 percent
Abs: 7.8 percent
Success rate: 12.5 percent
How life’s different: Motorcycle-only vehicle inspection and sobriety checkpoints are now banned (though there was no evidence that California law enforcement had conducted motorcycle-only checkpoints in the first place).
Fiscal impact: No new costs, but a bill eliminating the medical-examination requirement for a license to drive a fire truck could save agencies $50 to $100 per firefighter.
What’s next: Jeffries was elected to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Brian Jones (R)
Assembly District 77
Yes: 56.5 percent
No: 35.7 percent
Absent: 7.9 percent
Success rate: 10 percent
How life’s different: CalWORKS recipients get an extra month to submit late quarterly reports, and joint owners of easements can go to small-claims courts to sort out disputes.
Fiscal impact: The CalWORKS bill could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in administrative costs.
What’s next: Jones was reelected (now District 71) with 63.7-percent of the vote, a 1.2-point increase, possibly due to redistricting.
Joel Anderson (R)
Senate District 36
Yes: 61.6 percent
No: 34.2 percent
Abs: 4.2 percent
Success rate: 14 percent
How life’s different: Private mutual water companies now can elect board members to staggered, four-year terms; convicts can no longer avoid paying restitution to victims by spending more time behind bars; parts of Route 15 will be renamed the “CHP Officer Dan N. Benavides Memorial Highway” and “Tuskegee Airmen Highway.”
Fiscal impact: No significant costs are associated with Anderson’s bills.
What’s next: Anderson has two years left on his term.
Christine Kehoe (D)
Senate District 39
Yes: 94.4 percent
No: 1.5 percent
Abs: 4.1 percent
Success rate: 71.1 percent
How life’s different: The state can’t award contracts greater than $100,000 to companies that discriminate against employees with same-sex partners; landlords can’t stop tenants from displaying political signs (under 6 square feet); the definition of “renewable energy” has been expanded to include engines fueled by landfill and sewer gas; political-party-central-committee members will be on the ballot only during presidential primary elections; a research project that’s evaluating whether nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants should be allowed to perform abortions got a two-year extension.
Fiscal impact: Kehoe’s programs cost $2.4 million to $2.5 million annually, plus one-time expenses of $2.3 million to $2.5 million. The state also loses $288,000 through refunds of gasoline taxes. Under Kehoe’s bill to increase funding to the California Solar Initiative program, utilities can collect $200 million from customers. (As utility customers, state agencies will pay $2.4 million over the next few years.) Kehoe chaired the Senate’s appropriations committee, which means her name was also attached to millions of dollars distributed in legal settlements.
What’s next: Kehoe will head-up the California Plug-in Vehicle Collaborative, an electric-vehicle booster organization.
Juan Vargas (D)
Senate District 40
Yes: 95.7 percent
No: 1 percent
Absent: 3.3 percent
Success rate: 38.8 percent
How life’s different: Elder abuse can be reported to welfare agencies via the Internet; the Department of Financial Institutions will post enforcement actions on its website; high-school coaches are required to report child abuse; and a ban on lenders charging upfront fees for mortgage-loan modifications was extended four more years. The Spring Canyon Bridge on Interstate 905 is renamed after deceased Caltrans worker Randy Sanchez, and the Sloat Boulevard portion of State Route 35 (in San Francisco County) is named after state Sen. John Burton.
Fiscal impact: $540,000 in one-time costs, plus an annual spending increase of $730,000 to $860,000. Vargas’ bill reauthorizing the Lou Gehrig’s Disease deduction on income-tax forms will result in about $20,000 in lost revenues.
What’s next: Vargas was elected to replace Rep. Bob Filner in California’s 51st Congressional District. There likely will be a special election to fill his seat.
Mark Wyland (R)
Senate District 38
Yes: 60.6 percent
No: 21.9 percent
Abs: 17.5 percent
Success rate: 11.6 percent
How life’s different: Practitioners of educational psychology, clinical social work and professional clinical counseling face new regulations; school-bond audits have a new, March 31 deadline.
Fiscal impact: $400,000 in expected revenue through his bill to grant a five-year extension to the Board of Equalization’s ability to settle with tax debtors.
What’s next: Wyland has two more years to serve and is planning a run for the Board of Equalization.