ASSEMBLY/SENATE | Few unsuccessful local ballot measures in recent memory have elicited more grumbling after the fact than the Alameda Country transportation bill, Measure B1, narrowly defeated last November.

Whether it be deteriorating streets in San Leandro or crumbling highway on-ramps in Hayward, public officials throughout the East Bay bemoan the massive loss of tax revenue from the measure’s defeat, but Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski’s bill passed in committee this week, may lead to a second chance at the ballot box.

Wieckowski’s AB 210 passed the Assembly Local Government Committee Wednesday, 7-2, and now moves the Revenue and Taxation Committee for discussion. The legislation would grant both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties an exemption to place a transportation tax measure on the ballot, possibly in 2014 or sometime before 2020. Both counties have reached its 2 percent local sales tax limit imposed by state law, therefore, necessitating legislation.

“Even though Measure B1 in November barely came up short of the two-thirds threshold,” Wieckowski said, “it showed overwhelming support in Alameda County for investing in our roads, streets, BART and other transportation projects to meet the needs of local residents and businesses,”

It is not the first time Wieckowski has led the way in pursuing an exemption for Alameda County. Two years ago, he succeeded in passing into law a similar bill, which ultimately led to placing Measure B1 on the November ballot last year.

However, despite near-unanimous support by elected officials throughout Alameda County, a strong bulwark of anti-tax voters in the Tri Valley stymied the initiative from reaching the two-thirds majority needed to pass tax increases in the state. Measure B1 gained 66.5 percent popular support , but failed by just over 700 votes.

Asm. Nancy Skinner

SKINNER’S AMMO BILL MOVES FORWARD Although a spate of gun bills across the country were passed in the months after last December’s deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn., few have made a dent in state’s legislatures and Congress. This week, though, Berkeley Assembywoman Nancy Skinner’s ammunition bill was passed, 5-2, by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Skinner’s bill, AB 48, also co-authored by every East Bay legislator in both houses, would require ammunition buyers to present identification and mandate sellers are licensed. Sales of ammunition would also be reported to the Department of Justice.

“Bullets are what make guns deadly,” said Skinner. “It makes no sense that bullets are easier to buy and more widely available than cigarettes and alcohol,”

Sen. Ellen Corbett

CORBETT IS MADE IN CALIFORNIA A pair of Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett’s slate of “Made in California” legislation passed committees this week. Her bill, SB 12, which would piggyback on the Golden State’s still-sterling marketing image to promote California manufacturers and products, sailed Monday through the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.

Corbett said the program laid out in the bill will help alleviate the state’s still significnt unemployment rate. “I am committed to helping California’s economy grow and doing everything I can to generate jobs throughout the state,” said Corbett. “With California’s unemployment rate among the highest in the nation at almost 10 percent, we must find better ways of boosting business for in-state companies.”

Another Corbett bill hoping to support California businesses in clean energy technologies passed this week. SB 124 gives a five percent bid preferences to green tech companies hoping to contract with the state if their products are manufactured in California. The bill was approved by the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Communication Committee and heads to the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee for discussion.