Sacramento, Calif. – Exercising their new majority-vote authority, California Democrats on Tuesday closed the remainder of what had been a gaping budget deficit, relying on a combination of deep spending cuts, optimistic revenue projections and new fees likely to be challenged in court.
The Legislature sent a nearly $86 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins Friday to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Legislature acted with unusual haste to pass a budget before the start of the fiscal year July 1. An initiative passed by voters last fall allows Democrats to pass a budget with a simple majority vote but also halts lawmakers’ pay if they miss their June 15 deadline to pass a balanced budget.
Mother, transit district reach shooting settlement
San Francisco – Two and a half years after Oscar Grant III was shot to death by a transit police officer, the Bay Area Rapid Transit district agreed to pay his mother $1.3 million to settle her civil case against the agency and the law enforcement agents involved.
Wanda Johnson had sued BART and the officers for $50 million, charging wrongful death and violation of civil rights. Her son, 22, had been traveling home from a New Year’s Eve celebration when a fight broke out in his rail car.
The African-American supermarket butcher was unarmed and laying face-down on a rail station platform when he was shot by Officer Johannes Mehserle, 29. The white officer said he thought he had pulled his Taser, not his gun.
Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and released in mid-June after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence.
Governor signs law cutting job benefits
Trenton, N.J. – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation Tuesday that will require government workers to pay more for health care and pensions, making the state among the largest in the nation to roll back employee benefits to offset fiscal woes.
“New Jersey has once again become a model for America,” said Christie, a Republican, who won support from two key Democrats to overcome labor union opposition.
Unions have vowed to challenge the legislation in court.