Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for February 1, 2017


SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER: I have been granting current paid subscribers subscription deals. Here are the deals for new paid subscribers:

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These special offers are good through February 28, 2017.



Happy Humpday! It's been a crazy morning following everything that's going on. You might get a second Nooner later today, as things are happening in both capitals.

Reminder: The Cordial Caucus karaoke night, a nonpartisan gathering, is tonight from 7pm-10pm at Simon's at 1415 16th Street in Sacramento. Usually, leaders of both parties and active and retired lawmakers attend. No RSVP is required.

I've never gone to Cordial Caucus, but after watching the partisanship of this week, I'll definitely be there tonight.


  • Senator Jeff Sessions's nomination to be the next Attorney General was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line 11-9 vote. The floor vote could be as early as tomorrow. 
  • The Democrats' strategy of stalling the appointments of Tom Price as Health & Human Services secretary and Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary by boycotting committee didn't work. While the committee rules required at least one minority member be present for confirmations, the parliamentarian held that the rules of the committee just needed a simple majority, regardless of whether the minority party was in attendance. Thus, without Democrats in attendance, they changed the rules to eliminate the provision requiring the minority party to be present, and approved the nominations--sending them to the floor.
  • The White House played a head fake with off-the-record tips that both judges Neil Grosuch and Thomas Hardiman were both coming to the White House. Hardiman even did the ceremonial departure from his house to keep the suspense alive. Hardiman never actually entered the White House, and had been informed on Monday that he was not the choice. 
  • Politico is out with a poll this morning with a broad look at how registered voters feel on federal issues. Unfortunately, the poll was conducted 2/26-28, so it likely has a very minimal reflection of the impact of the President's executive order on the travel ban. The poll throughout demonstrates a very polarized country.
    [topline] [crosstabs]
  • There are fewer "cross-over" congressional seats-those in which the current occupant was elected when the opposite party's presidential candidate carried the district, reports Roll Call. There were only 35 cross-over districts (8%) in 2016.
  • The White House briefing room had been proposed to be moved to the Old Exec. There was great rebellion as it reporters believed they were losing their access for casual conversations in the big house. Danny Concannon persuaded C.J. Cregg to expand the Brady Briefing Room using Skype, because you know, casual access to senior staff is important for certain reporters. 



Some people asked how San Francisco had legal standing to sue the federal government over the executive order requiring public safety officials to notify immigration officials when an undocumented individual is convicted of a crime. Remember, San Francisco is the lone City and County in California, so the "county" jail is operated by the City and County. Thus, they have standing.

The Merc News's Jason Green reports that Santa Clara County will also be suing the feds. And, it's expected that the Attorney General Xavier Becerra will follow, by filing a suit on behalf of the entire state and its counties.

Yesterday was the deadline for committees to report for the period ending 12/31/2016:

Cash on hand as of 12/31/16

In further creating the adversarial relationship between California and DC, Jazmine Ulloa covers the efforts of the majorities in the State Senate and State Assembly to fast-track legislation to protect immigrants from new priorities in Washington.

The Bee's Taryn Luna reports on the state lobbying activities related to the implementation of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in California. The discussions have gotten a bit more cloudy as the emerging industry tries to develop California regulations while also keeping an eye on the new Administration in the 202, with uncertainty of what to expect from likely Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Dan Walters looks at the debate about whether the sales tax should be applied software, particularly when it is packaged with taxed software. The Bee's Christopher Cadelago writes that John Chiang's letter to President Trump aligning his personal story of being an "other" with those affected by the travel ban. 

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to mi padre Roy Lay and Juan Fernandez!

#FAREWELL: Former Assemblymember Trice Harvey (1936-2016)

Personal note: I was a baby lobbyist when Trice was in the Assembly. He was an absolute joy to have in committees and in the Chamber. When I think about him, it reminds me of a tense congressional hearing yesterday, when Al Franken brought his comedic humor to break the tension on a bipartisan basis. That was Trice. 




  • Free Tuition for California Students to the UC, CSU and Community College Systems Is Possible Today
    A new policy paper demonstrates that it is entirely possible today to provide the same accessible, low-cost university experience that California successfully offered its students from the 1960s through the 1990s.

    The report demonstrates that we can revive the California Master Plan for Higher Education—eliminating tuition, restoring state per student funding, and providing seats for all students— would only cost the median California household $48 per year.

    The paper, The $48 fix: Reclaiming California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, is available at or

  • Equality California’s 2017 Fair Share for Equality Convening. Join EQCA, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, members of the LGBT Legislative Caucus, policymakers, and community leaders in discussing the priorities for the LGBT community in light of the new political climate. Panel topics include healthcare, HIV/AIDS, immigration, youth, seniors, family and relationship recognition, transgender rights, criminal justice, and more. Complimentary lunch. February 1. Convening from 9am-5pm. Reception from 5pm-7pm. Sacramento Convention Center. RSVP & more details at
  • The 2017 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards. Join Irvine and state policymakers in recognizing Californians advancing innovative solutions in after-school programming, autism services, education, entrepreneurship, homelessness, and legal justice. February 9 12:00-1:30 p.m., Sheraton Grand, complimentary lunch. Tamara Torlakson: 916-508-2142
  • Save the Date: Tuesday February 21, 2017, State Capitol, a Sacramento Memorial to Celebrate the Life and Contributions of Senator Tom Hayden. The event begins at 2 p.m. with a memorial on the Senate Floor and continues at 3:30 p.m. with a reception, program, and refreshments in the Eureka Room located in the Capitol basement. Members, staffers, and lobbyists are invited to share their comments and reflections on Tom’s work in the Capitol and beyond. For more information or to RSVP (not necessary but appreciated) contact

  • Put the public back into public policy with a Pepperdine School of Public Policy MPP degree.  Our program – taught by policy practitioners and experts – combines empirical analysis, analytical reasoning, political philosophy, and history preparing our graduates to become policy leaders. Spring 2017 courses include former State Senator Gloria Romero’s “Seminar in Regional Policies: Education, Politics, and Reform” and “Seminar in Economics: Practical Applications of Policy Analysis” taught by RAND’s Marlon Graf. For legislative staffers with 2+ years of experience, we’ll waive your application fee and GRE requirement! Now accepting applications: (
  • SACRAMENTO-BASED THRILLER wins national honors for Best First Novel, Best Political Thriller & Best Female PI/Sleuth. "Entertaining whodunnit told with humor and intellect" ONE MURDER MORE by Kris Calvin features a woman lobbyist as the amateur sleuth, while the cast of suspects includes two CA Governors (one past, one present) & a Senate Fellow! Order now from Amazon or your favorite bookstore at $13.99 trade paper $4.99 ebook!
  • Associate Director, Legislative Affairs The University of California Office of the President is seeking an Associate Director of Legislative Affairs. This Associate Director represents the University in a wide variety of meetings and hearings with elected officials, staff and advocates. They also lead and manage a team of Legislative Directors who serve as the University's key advocates in Sacramento, and supervise Legislative Coordinators who monitor legislative developments. Highly competitive salary and benefits. Learn more and apply
  • LOBBYING SUCCESS BEGINS HERE. Capitol veteran Ray LeBov's Lobbying 101 and 201 seminars give you a comprehensive, real-world picture of lobbying in California -- the people, processes and best practices critical to your success. April 13-14, $275 each / $500 for both. Lobbying 101 covers the Legislative process and Legislative advocacy. Lobbying 201 explores the equally critical areas of Budget Advocacy, Regulatory Agency Advocacy, Lobbying the Administration and Media Strategies.
Trump Update: Feinstein To Vote No On Sessions Nomination - San Francisco Chronicle
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, said on Tuesday morning that she will be voting no on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announces resignation
Napolitano said she accepted the resignation with deep appreciation for Chancellor Dirks’ efforts on behalf of this great institution, its students, faculty, staff, alumni and the larger Berkeley community. Dirks, who has faced public criticism for his handling of sexual harassment cases involving high-profile faculty members, and criticism from faculty and staff for budgetary decisions, informed the UC president’s office Monday of his plans to resign his $531,939-a-year post and return to teaching, according to UC sources. The news also comes just a week after UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi resigned amid allegations that she had misused her office, with UC President Janet Napolitano saying she “had exercised poor judgment and violated multiple university policies.” Dirks, who declined to be interviewed Tuesday, told us just months ago that he hoped to stay on for 10 years. Since his arrival from Columbia University in 2013, Dirks has faced a number of challenges. Dirks, 66, has privately blamed his predecessors for saddling him with many of those costs and leaving him with too few reserves to meet the university’s fiscal obligations, prompting him to recently ask every department to make budget cuts. In the past year, Dirks’ inherited problems were compounded by a series of embarrassments over the university’s response to sexual harassment cases involving Law School Dean Sujit Choudhry, assistant basketball coach Yann Hufnagel and world-famous astronomer Geoff Marcy. First there was the security fence built around his campus residence that eventually grew into a $700,000 project. In recent days, there have been questions raised about Dirks’ hiring of a former Hillary Clinton staffer as a paid consultant to help boost both his and UC Berkeley’s image in the national media and to help connect him with powerful decision makers, such as Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman and former CEO. Napolitano had been pushing for her removal and had commissioned an outside investigation into whether Katehi had engaged in nepotism, misled the president’s office and misused her post by contracting with firms to plant positive news stories about her and UC Davis after an infamous 2011 incident when a campus police officer pepper-sprayed peaceful protesters. [...] calls for his resignation by some faculty had subsided somewhat after Dirks appointed Professor Carol Christ — the former president of Smith College — as interim executive vice chancellor and provost last spring.

L.A. City Council Votes To Draft Law Decriminalizing Street Vending
Emily Alpert Reyes @
The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to draft a law that would decriminalize sidewalk vending, in an effort to protect immigrants vulnerable to deportation.

Jim Brulte Says He Won't Run For California Governor | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Trump update: Feinstein to vote no on Sessions nomination
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, said on Tuesday morning that she will be voting no on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. The Senate Judiciary Committee - on which Feinstein sits as the top Democrat - was expected to vote Tuesday on Sessions’ nomination, but delayed it until Wednesday. If the committee approves him, his nomination will go to full Senate for a final confirmation vote. Feinstein has been critical of Sessions, and questioned his role in drafting President Donald Trump’s controversial Executive Order banning travelers and refugees from seven Muslim-majorities from entering the United States.

Dianne Feinstein Battles Trump's Supreme Court Nominee | The Sacramento Bee
Sean Cockerham @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Schwarzenegger: 'we're Going Through Some Difficult Moments ... But I Guarantee We Will Work Our Way Out Of This'
Seema Mehta @
Update on 'Essential Politics: State Senate committee moves to assist immigrants, what California's members of Congress are saying abou...

On Immigration, Gore Walks Line Between Trump, Sacramento - The San Diego Union-tribune
Kate Morrissey @

Sales Tax Muddle Underscores California's Need For Tax Reform | The Sacramento Bee
Dan Walters @
Observations on California and its politics

Pro-environment Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon 's Hometown Is Site Of Toxic Troubles - The Orange County Register
One of California’s most powerful politicians, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, promised to be a voice for environmental justice in Sacramento.

Judiciary committee sends Sessions to Senate for full vote

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions as Trump's attorney general sending his nomination to the full Senate for a vote.

Sacramento Police Shooting Of Joseph Mann May Be Resolved In Confidential Mediation | The Sacramento Bee
Anita Chabria @
Covering crime, police and courts in the Sacramento region

European Council President Includes United States As A Threat To Europe
Christina Boyle @
The head of the European Union put the United States into the same "threat" category as radical Islam on Tuesday as Europe continued to worry about the unfolding Trump administration.

Senate Democrats 'deeply Troubled' By 'racist, Bigoted' Views Shared By Trump Education Appointees - Politico
In a letter led by Sen. Patty Murray, senators said they want a briefing on the agency's "efforts to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce" | Getty

Woman In Custody After Possible Bomb Threat At Tower Bridge | The Sacramento Bee
Cathy Locke and Ed Fletcher @
Covering crime, police and courts in the Sacramento region

Despite Bold Rhetoric, Dems, Tech Leaders Collaborate With Trump - San Francisco Chronicle
Lead, follow — or get out of the way. That’s the message from the activist base of the Democratic Party to its officeholders as President Trump escalates his assault on the Constitution and core American values. Younger, ambitious California party leaders like Sen. Kamala Harris and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have been riding the growing oppositional wave, with Harris standing tall so far against Trump’s frightening Cabinet nominees, and Newsom showing up at San Francisco International Airport to join the protests against Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations. “This is insane — I had to be here,” Newsom told a friend of mine at the airport.

State Senate Committee Advances Bill To Establish Legal Defense Program For Immigrants
Jazmine Ulloa @
Update on 'Essential Politics: Lofgren demands meeting with Homeland Security secretary, California politicians speak out against Trum...