Republicans endorse immigration reform, plan minority outreach in post-election report
The Republican Party, after holding up a mirror to itself and completing a lengthy analysis of what went wrong in the last election cycle, issued an extensive report Monday that formally endorsed immigration reform and outlined an ambitious drive to reach out to minority groups and build a winning coalition.
"When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us," the Republican National Committee's report said, asserting that "many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them."
Karl Rove addresses CA GOP county chairs
Ahead of his lunchtime address to the convention at large, top Republican strategist Karl Rove spoke to county chairs about burnishing the party's message and revitalizing its local mobilization effort.?
Rove emerged from a closed-door gathering of Republican county chairs about half an hour after the meeting began. His talk touched on coordinating the party's pitch to voters, Mariposa County chair Richard Westfall said.
"He talked about being cohesive and keeping the party together," Westfall said. "Just basically that we have to try to get together and get the message out there."
Part of that process involves rehabilitating the party's image in the eyes of voters. Donald S. Preston, chair of Solano County, said the party's central tenets of self-reliance and family values have " been distorted so badly" by critics.
"[Rove] says we have to work on image, on our branding," Preston said.
Monterey County chair Nan Lesnick said Rove talked about rebuilding the party's grassroots organization, paraphrasing the central thrust as "the conservative victory will happen when we're on every corner and every crevasse in every community."
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/03/rove-addresses-county-chairs.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy
Sen. Bill Monning's soda tax back on legislative agenda
SACRAMENTO--Two years after momentum for a statewide soda tax seemed to fizzle out, the effort is back.
A bill introduced Friday by Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, would impose a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, raising up to $1.7 billion for health and education programs aimed at fighting childhood obesity. It mirrors prior legislation the Democrat-controlled Legislature failed to act upon.
"It's been demonstrated that the increased tax does reduce consumption," Monning said Monday. "If you look at the model of the tobacco tax, it had a very positive effect."
A prominent health care advocate, Monning has championed the bill for several years. He said studies have shown that since the 1970s, soda is the top caloric contributor to obese children, and lawmakers in several states have proposed taxes on soda.
None has ever passed. The Center for Consumer Freedom, a Washington group partly funded by the restaurant industry, opposes the bill, suggesting money from similar taxes isn't always spent as intended.
"That's how this works time and time again," senior research analyst J. Justin Wilson said. "If history is any instructor here, the moment that revenue is available, there's nothing that can prevent the state Legislature from using it for other purposes."
The bill, SB 622, would raise an estimated $1.2 billion to $1.7 billion, to be split between the Department of Public Health and the Superintendent of Public
Instruction, with some trickling down to local schools. Passage requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, and Democrats are expected to hold two-thirds supermajorities in both houses as the bill progresses.
"It is a factor," Monning said when asked if that was one reason for the reintroduction. The bill is part of a long-term strategy to garner support and eventually win passage, he said.
A recent Field Poll of Californians put support for a soda tax at 40 percent. But that number shot up to 68 percent when the proposed revenues were designated for addressing childhood obesity.
Seen as a national epidemic, childhood obesity is leading to diseases previously only seen in adults. Chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes also has spiked across all age groups, costing the state $41 billion annually, according to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
Wilson said soda taxes don't take into account all factors leading to obesity, such as sedentary lifestyles. He also said children could switch to juices and other high-calorie beverages, which the bill doesn't address, and that soda is a small part of the problem.
"If a kid is drinking a 2-liter soda everyday, he's going to be overweight, no question," Wilson said. "But on a population level, soda is not a singular or unique contributor to obesity."
After seeing the bill founder in the Legislature before, Monning stopped short of predicting passage. But he said he would try to move the bill onward.
"We'll be pushing for this to move forward," Monning said. "I'm also realistic. It's an uphill fight. We're in it for the long haul."
Ben Shapiro to speak at CRP Spring Convention
Conservative commentator and writer Ben Shapiro has been added to the agenda for the California Republican Party convention.
Shapiro, who is the editor-at-large of Breitbart.com, will fill a dinner speaking slot that was originally set to feature GOP strategist Karl Rove. Rove's talk has been moved to the Saturday luncheon because of a scheduling conflict.
Shapiro won praise from the right for a heated exchange with CNN's Piers Morgan, posted above, in which he accused the host of being a bully on gun control and "standing on the graves of the children" killed in the December mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn. elementary schools.
The party had been seeking to book a speaker who would appeal to conservatives in light of a rift caused by Rove's newly announced Conservative Victory Project, a super PAC that has come under fire from Tea Party supporters. Former GOP Senate leader Jim Brulte, who is expected to be elected chairman at next month's convention, told The Bee this week that the party extended an invitation to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, but that a scheduling issue prevented the freshman senator and Tea Party favorite from accepting.
Other speakers at the spring convention, which takes place in Sacramento during the first weekend in March, include conservative comedians Eric Golub and Evan Sayet, author Travis Brown and former GOP Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who moved to Texas to take a job with a think tank after leaving the Legislature.
The Saturday night keynote speech was the subject of some confusion this morning, after an initial email to members identified the guest as Ben Stein. That email, which led with a riff on the actor's role in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," was soon followed by a message clarifying the actual lineup.
"Clearly, somebody other than Ferris Bueller needs a day off. :-)" Chairman Tom Del Beccaro wrote in the second message.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this post misspelled Breitbart.com. The Bee regrets the error.
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/02/ben-shapiro-to-speak-at-california-republican-party-convention.html#storylink=cpy