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California Budget Crisis Diaries: Gov’s traffic camera idea sees a halt

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is having a tough week. First, his proposal to bring in revenue through traffic violations may be illegal. Second, a class-action lawsuit against a state agency that includes autistic children is garnering lots of attention. Finally, the U.S. Supreme court rejected his prison appeal. His quandaries are detailed here the latest edition of the California Budget Crisis Diaries.

Red-light violations: Schwarzenegger’s attempt to cash in on traffic violations may not work as planned.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, three factors come into play.

“There are just a few problems with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to help fill his budget hole by retooling red-light cameras to catch people speeding through intersections.

One, it’s not allowed under current law. Two, police agencies have opposed it in the past. And three, it might completely neglect the places where speed enforcement is needed most.

A week after Schwarzenegger made his red-light proposal in his 2010-2011 budget, reaction is mostly negative to the notion that a tactic used in Arizona, Washington and Oregon to enhance driver safety should be employed in California to make money.

Assemblymember Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) told the Mercury, that despite the hurdles, a bill to enhance the red-light cameras may still be proposed.

Budget effects on Autistic kids: The budget cuts may force major life changes to California’s autistic children, reports the Courthouse News Service.

According to the news outlet, a class-action claim made in the Los Angeles Superior Court states that a state agency’s elimination of the Developmental, Individual Different, Relationship-based program violates the Lanterman Act.

“Parents say the ‘Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR)’ treatment for autism is not only beneficial and cost-effective, but has led to dramatic improvements for their children. They say the defendant Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center has violated the state’s intent to save money by withholding money for DIR treatment, and the alternatives will be costly and ineffective.”

The budget cuts came in July, when lawmakers slashed roughly $300 million for the “developmentally disabled,” according to the report.

Supreme Court rejects Schwarzenegger’s appeal: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected California’s challenge to a preliminary court order forcing the state to reduce its prison population, setting up the state’s appeal of a final order issued last week.

The administration will file its next appeal Tuesday, said Andrea Hoch, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s legal affairs secretary.

In a short ruling, the justices said they will not consider a tentative ruling issued by a special judicial panel in August. The three-judge federal panel had ruled that reducing the state’s prison population by about 40,000 inmates over two years is necessary to improve medical and health care throughout the state’s 33 adult prisons.

Schwarzenegger’s proposal aims to trim the state’s inmate population by about 40,000 inmates by December 2011 by sending inmates to private prisons, building additional prisons and sending criminals convicted of drug possession, receiving stolen property, theft and check fraud to county jails. Some low-risk inmates would also be allowed to serve the last 12 months of their sentences under GPS monitoring.

The administration said several of those steps could require the Legislature or federal judges to change state laws and would burden counties with incarcerating and rehabilitating criminals who would normally go to state prisons.

How Quach is the political editor for the SDNN. Follow her on Twitter or add her on Facebook.