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Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!
Year of the Dog--all for you, Colusa Brown.
Daddy's going to need your help to write the last chapter of his legacy book.
I'm finally getting back to doing district analyses for Nooner Premium subscribers. As you know, I've been doing more long-form original content in The Nooner, which takes more research and fact-checking. But, I'll catch up now that fields are starting to be clear. Right now I'm prioritizing statewide race changes (i.e. GOV), and the three April 3 specials, and then any "Toss-up or Leans" districts and uber-competitive primaries within parties.
If you have a specific district you want me to move toward the top of my list, let me know!
AURAL PLEASURE: John Myers, Melanie Mason and Seema Mehta gather 'round the mic for the California Politics Podcast. They talk about the entrance into statewide races of Amanda Renteria (GOV) and Steve Poizner (IC)
Well, happy lunar new year to you! It appears that it will be a beautiful weekend throughout California, albeit not good for those counting on water replenishment.
Today is the last day to introduce bills in the 2017-18 regular session. Through yesterday, 1,502 bills had been introduced, with as usual, many "spot bills" devoid of content to serve as placeholders.
HARRIS GOES FOR NEWSOM: The Gavin Newsom campaign is touting an announcement of "the biggest endorsement yet in the California governor's race" at 2pm this afternoon at USC.
The timing is interesting, as it's a Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend. Friday's are bad generally for media events, let alone on a get-away weekend. So, it needs to be significant and aimed at delegates of next weekend's California Democratic Party convention in San Diego, where delegates will consider the endorsement of one of four eligible candidates--John Chiang, Delaine Eastin, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa. Endorsement for the race requires 60% of the delegates, which will vote form 5pm-8pm on Saturday, February 24 and will be announced Sunday morning.
And, that's because the endorsement is by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who is scheduled to be in SoCal today. After the utter failure on immigration yesterday in the Senate, the body is off of DC legislative business for the week. One can envision that Harris endorses and then joins the lieutenant governor for a few events on his "Courage for a Change" tour next week, leading up to the state party confab.
If that is the case, expect a lot of talk about gun violence next week. Newsom was the lead proponent of Proposition 63, which requires background checks for ammunition purchases and limits large-capacity magazine purchases. Harris generally does not endorse ballot measures, particularly ones that she would have had to defend as attorney general if she lost the Senate race, and which appeared on the same ballot as she did for election. Harris is an original cosponsor of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's S.2095, the "Assault Weapons Ban of 2017."
Feinstein was one of Prop. 63 proponents who signed on to the ballot statement.
The California Police Chiefs Association opposed the ballot measure, and they recently endorsed Antonio Villaraigosa, even though he has a legislative record that the NRA would grimace at. John Chiang mocked the endorsement at Tuesday night's forum, saying "Antonio, congrats on your recent endorsement by the Sheriffs Association. They didn't go with me because I told them we have to acknowledge that black lives matter."
The web sites and public comments for the candidates on gun control are very limited, but I'm pretty sure the the four Democrats up for the CDP endorsement generally agree. Newsom will position himself, however, as the leader on the issue.
Over the next week the reaction to the Florida shooting will dominate the news cycles leading up to convention and could help him capture that endorsement, even though Eric Bauman, the state party chair, has dissuaded delegates in endorsing statewides. Proposition 63 passed in California in November 2016 with 63.1% of the vote. On the same day, Hillary Clinton received 61.7% of the ballots of Golden State voters.
Okay, that's it. Nothing else going on. Time to call it a weekend and turn off the lights. Just kidding.
After the jump, Senator v. Senate heads to Sacramento Superior Court.
As the week was winding down, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) got a love letter from his former roomie, Senator Tony Mendoza (D-SD32). Mendoza was a day late for Valentine's Day, and the love letter was actually a Sacramento Superior Court lawsuit by Mendoza seeking reinstatement of full privileges as a state senator. He is currently on a paid leave of absence as an independent investigation is conducted into harassment and retaliation allegations. Since taking the couch, the Assembly released documents released February 2 show that he was cautioned in 2010 by Assembly Rules Committee staff following a complaint by a staff member.
The allegations made more recently are certainly more significant, if found more likely than not to have happened.
I haven't seen the actual court filing. However, from what I have gathered, the legal filing requests an injunction, alleging that the Senate Rules Committee did not have the authority to extend what had been a voluntary paid leave of absence to a lengthier one without any results of an investigation and without Mendoza's assent.
Mendoza likely has a legal point. Senate Rules Committee likely didn't have the basis to impose an involuntary paid leave of absence. Here is the relevant state constitutional provision, most recently amended by Prop. 50 in 2014 following the R. Calderon, Wright, and Yee sentences:
(a) (1) Each house of the Legislature shall judge the qualifications and elections of its Members and, by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, may expel a Member.
(2) (A) Each house may suspend a Member by motion or resolution adopted by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring. The motion or resolution shall contain findings and declarations setting forth the basis for the suspension. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the house may deem the salary and benefits of the Member to be forfeited for all or part of the period of the suspension by express provision of the motion or resolution.
(B) A Member suspended pursuant to this paragraph shall not exercise any of the rights, privileges, duties, or powers of his or her office, or utilize any resources of the Legislature, during the period the suspension is in effect.
(C) The suspension of a Member pursuant to this paragraph shall remain in effect until the date specified in the motion or resolution or, if no date is specified, the date a subsequent motion or resolution terminating the suspension is adopted by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership of the house concurring.
The State Senate adopted S.R. 79 on January 25, a day after it was introduced. It provides:
That Rule 3.5 is added to read:
Leave of Absence
3.5. (a) (1) A Member of the Senate may request a paid leave of absence from the Senate under this rule. The request shall be in writing to the Committee on Rules.
(2) Upon receipt of the request, the Committee on Rules shall determine whether the length of the leave requested is sufficient based on the circumstances surrounding the request. If the Committee on Rules determines that the requested time period is not sufficient, the Committee on Rules may prescribe a different date of termination of the leave of absence. Once approved, the Committee on Rules may extend a leave of absence at its discretion.
(b) A Member of the Senate shall not exercise any of the rights, privileges, duties, or powers of his or her office, or utilize any resources of the Legislature, during the period of the leave of absence. The member shall not receive reimbursement for living or travel expenses during the period of the leave of absence.
(c) This rule applies to a leave of absence granted before or after adoption of this rule.
In the constitution, senators have one of four possible statuses: (1) active, (2) suspended with pay, (3) suspended without pay, and (4) expelled.
There is no such thing as a "leave of absence" -- voluntary or involuntary, unless excused from session pusuant to Senate Rule 2:
Attendance of Senators
3.No Senator may absent himself or herself from attendance upon the Senate without first obtaining leave. A lesser number than a quorum of the Senate is authorized to send the Sergeant at Arms for any and all absent Senators at the expense of the absent Senators, unless an excuse for nonattendance made to the Senate when a quorum is present shall be judged sufficient, and in that case the expense shall be paid out of the Senate Operating Fund. The President pro Tempore, or less than a quorum present, shall have the power to issue process directly to the Sergeant at Arms to compel the attendance of Senators absent without leave. Any Senator who refuses to obey that process, unless sick or unable to attend, shall be deemed guilty of contempt of the Senate, and the Sergeant at Arms shall have power to use force as may be necessary to compel the attendance of the absent Senator, and for this purpose he or she may command the force of the county, or of any county in the state.
So, we are left with either attendance, excused as "sick or unable to attend," suspended with pay, suspended without pay, or expelled. There's just not such a thing as an involuntary "leave of absence" otherwise.
That said, the Senate can, and I would likely expect will, "cure" the legal issue by suspending Mendoza citing the Assembly's release of the 2010 findings. The only question is whether it is with or without pay, and Mendoza's lawsuit and private comments about other senators (he has been heard many times saying "what about so-and-so?") makes the latter more likely. And, it would almost certainly ensure that he won't be in office when the SD32 filing closes on March 9 if he runs for re-election, or March 14 if he does not.
The Senate had a "per diem session" this morning to ensure that payments are made over the three-day weekend, since Monday is President's Day. It was a typical one, with honors and memorial adjournments and no legislative business. The next session will be on Tuesday.
The same rules generally apply to the Cristina Garcia (D-AD58) situation, and the Assembly has not approved a "leave of absence" extra-constitutional like the State Senate. Garcia has, however, taken a voluntary indefinite unpaid leave of absence. Only if it becomes involuntary would it then move to the constitutional threshold of paid or unpaid suspension or expulsion. Until then, it's up to the house to "excuse" her on a session-by-session basis.
After the jump, DACA DACA DACA!
All eyes were on the United States Senate yesterday as it considered several different immigration plans dealing with the codification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and border security.
For Politico, Elena Schor and Burgess Everett report:
The Senate's drive to clinch an immigration deal sputtered to an end on Thursday, with a bipartisan and White House-blessed proposal both defeated and the Dreamers left in limbo once again.
It was a frustrating, if largely expected, conclusion to a much-hyped immigration debate this week that never really got off the ground.
And in a blow to President Donald Trump, the GOP plan to enshrine his four-part immigration framework came the furthest of any proposal from reaching the 60-vote margin needed for passage, failing by 39-60. A competing bipartisan agreement got rejected, 54-45, after a furious White House campaign to defeat it, including a Thursday veto threat.
"I think it’s safe to say this has been a disappointing week," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor after the failed series of votes.
Under President Trump's plan DACA ends March 5. It is still unclear whether those who have received two-year work permits that extend beyond March 5 would be protected from deportation during the term of the permits.
After the current non-legislative period that began yesterday, the Senate has 7 days of legislative business (if they work Saturday and Sunday, March 3-4) left before the arbitrary deadline set by Trump. The Senate is the "easy" body, and advocates for DACA relief need six more votes or must capture five if John McCain (R-Arizona) is healthy enough to travel. He was not present yesterday.
Advocates would look to President Trump's original tweet on the issue on September 5, 2017:
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!
Since then, he has added funding for "the wall" and the end of family reunification and visa diversity preferences that exist under current immigration law.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Kathy Gaither!
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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Senate Rejects Immigration Bills; Young Immigrants In Limbo | The Sacramento Bee
ALAN FRAM and KEVIN FREKING @ sacbee.com
The Senate has left hundreds of thousands of "Dreamer" immigrants in limbo, rejecting rival plans that would have spared them from deportation and strengthened the nation's border security. Senators dealt President Donald Trump an especially galling defeat as more than a quarter of fellow Republicans abandoned him on an issue that helped propel him to the White House.
Lawmaker under investigation for sex harassment sues state Senate, says he's being singled out
SACRAMENTO âÂÂ Suspended Sen. Tony Mendoza has filed a lawsuit against the state Senate, saying it and his ex-roommate Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon violated his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection by ousting him from his position pending an investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Mendoza claims in his suit that 14 other elected officials - including 6 senators - are also under investigation and have not been suspended or ostracized by Senate leadership the way he has. He claims itâÂÂs because de Leon is running for U.S. Senate and distancing himself from an embarrassing connection to someone he was close to.
Vulnerable California Republican Breaks With Trump On Gas Tax
Sarah D. Wire @ latimes.com
Vulnerable California Republican Rep. Mimi Walters broke with President Trump on Thursday over his desire to raise the national gas tax to pay for infrastructure. She responded on Twitter to a Washington Post article that says Trump is pitching a 25-cent increase in the gas tax.
Sacramento Finalizing Bid To Land Nba All-star Game | The Sacramento Bee
Ryan Lillis @ sacbee.com
News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods
Mitt Romney Announces He's Running For U.S. Senate In Utah - Politico
Former 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Friday that he's running for Senate in Utah, saying that "I am ready to fight for this great state and advocate for solutions that improve the lives of Utahns."
Trump School Shooting Speech Focuses On Mental Health Issues | The Sacramento Bee
Anita Kumar @ sacbee.com
By Anita Kumar
California Lawmaker Wants To Stop Facebook From Sharing Children's Information Without Clear Consent From Their Parents
Jazmine Ulloa @ latimes.com
A Southern California legislator wants to stop social media sites like Facebook from selling or sharing children's personal information with online retailers and marketers without giving them or their parents clear notice of consent terms.
Chinese Thwarted In Bid To Buy Chicago Stock Exchange - Politico
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday rejected the proposed acquisition of the Chicago Stock Exchange by a Chinese-led group of investors, halting a deal that had sparked an uproar on Capitol Hill and was criticized by Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.
New Bill Seeks To Put An End To 'patient Dumping' In California | The Sacramento Bee
Cynthia Hubert @ sacbee.com
By Cynthia Hubert
Trump plan to eliminate agencies leaves questions; budget also hits federal unions
The budget proposal shows 62 federal programs would be eliminated through zero funding.
Hundreds Turn Out To Public Forum To Discuss Skyrocketing Water Bills - The San Diego Union-tribune
Joshua Emerson Smith @ sandiegouniontribune.com
Some Lawmakers Pay Nra Dues With Campaign Funds | The Sacramento Bee
Ben Wieder @ sacbee.com
By Ben Wieder
Border Patrol Changes Rules At Friendship Park, Upsetting Frequent Visitors - The San Diego Union-tribune
Kate Morrissey @ sandiegouniontribune.com
Sergii Pyvovarenko fled after he was kidnapped and tortured by the Right Sector, a far-right nationalist group.
California Ethics Panel Members Spar Over How Much They Are Paid For State Service
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
The state’s ethics watchdog panel was divided Thursday in approving a proposal to retroactively provide extra pay to its members for work done on official state business.
Racially Offensive Science Project In Sacramento Tests Boundaries Of Free Speech In High Schools | The Sacramento Bee
Diana Lambert And Anita Chabria @ sacbee.com
By Diana Lambert And Anita Chabria
Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe to travel country on redistricting effort
McAuliffeâÂÂs tour is part of a $30 million Democratic effort before the next census.
Turns Out Shaun White, World's Best Snowboarder, Can Be A Creep. A Hero Would Cop To His Own Bad Behavior
Robin Abcarian @ latimes.com
His Olympics performance cements him as the world's greatest snowboarder, but Shaun White has gotten caught up in the Me Too moment. The drummer for his band, Bad Things, accused him in a 2016 lawsuit of sexually harassment, wage theft and wrongful termination. The suit was settled confidentially.