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The Sacramento Bee had a bomb scare this morning. The building was evacuated, but the bomb squad found the bag harmless. However, news organizations are on high alert following the newsroom shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor announced yesterday that he is retiring at the end of the year. Big loss to the Capitol, but he deserves to retire. He has been at the nonpartisan office since 1979 and has served in the top job since 2008.
$$$: Things continue to be looking good for the State General Fund throught end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Department of Finance reports: "Preliminary General Fund agency cash for June was $1.601 billion above the 2018-19 Budget Act forecast of $17.773 billion. Fiscal year 2017-18 revenues were $1.541 billion higher than the forecast of $134.502 billion. June cash receipts represent the second estimated payment of 40 percent of liability due mid-month for personal income tax filers and calendar-year corporations."
Remember this performance above revised estimates that were included in the January Proposed Budget and the May Revision. This does not includr the gas tax, which goes into a special fund.
Good news: California's personal income was up 4.5% in the first quarter of 2008, compared to 3.6% U.S. average. Of course, the bad news is that the median home price reached a new high of $600,680 in May, up 2.6% from April and 9.2% from May 2017. [full July report]
THREE STATES: The state Supreme Court ordered the removal of the initiative to carve the state three from the November ballot. The rationale of the court is that is there isn't sufficient time to determine the constitutionality of the measure as an initiative measure. The next ballot opportunity would be November 2020. Proponent venture capitalist Tim Draper spent $1.22 million of his own money to qualify the measure. Here's the court's order:
Both respondent [Alex] Padilla and real party in interest Timothy Draper are ordered to show cause before this court, when the above matter is called on calendar, why the relief sought by petitioner, Planning and Conservation League, should not be granted. The returns of respondent and real party in interest are to be served and filed on or before Monday, August 20, 2018. Petitioner is ordered to serve and file its reply within 30 days of the timely-filed returns.
The main issue boils down to whether is a constitutional revision or amendment. A revision requires approval of two-thirds of the Legislature and the voters. While there is little case law on topic, most legal experts believe that slicing up the state, requiring three new constitutions, is a revision.
The Chron's legal eagle Bob Egelko reports on Draper's response to the ruling "Apparently, the insiders are in cahoots and the establishment doesn’t want to find out how many people don’t like the way California is being governed," Draper said in a statement. He said the six justices “probably would have lost their jobs" under the three-state plan.
I would say that the California Supreme Court members are anything but insiders and the decision was unanimous. There are three justices appointed by Republicans and three appointed by Democrats. There is currently one vacancy following Kathryn Werdegar's retirement last August.
The removal of Proposition 9 will not change the ballot numbers of Propositions 10-12.
STAMP-FREE: Beginning in 2019, you won't need to put a stamp on vote-by-mail ballots for state and local elections under AB 216 (Gonzalez Fletcher and Low), which was signed by Governor yesterday.
ICE-ICE BABY: In the Bee, Angela Hart writes that while as San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom spearheaded a policy to report juvenile undocumented immigrants charged with violent crimes to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he now says that he was wrong.
“These were people charged...but not convicted. Some people ultimately were exonerated that got caught up in it,“ Newsom said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee. “I’ll just say this to my critics: Fair game. Looking back, there were things we could have done differently. I’m very honest about that.”
LET THERE BE LIGHT: The University of California is proposing the first fee reduction in nearly twenty years, reports Alexei Koseff in the Bee.
The decrease comes from the elimination of a $60 tuition surcharge that the university imposed in fall 2007, and extended in 2013, to pay for nearly $100 million in damages from two class-action lawsuits related to raising fees on graduate students in the middle of a semester.
CORRRECTION: Don't know how I screwed this up, but the cash-on-hand number for Denham was wrong.
CA07 (East Sacto County): In the Bee, Emily Cadei writes that Congressman Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) finds himself in an unusual position--he is a heavy favorite after having close races the last three cycles.
CA22 (Tulare): Devin Nunes (R-Clovis) is taking on The Fresno Bee, report David Siders and Stephanie Murray for Politico. He's running TV, radio and online ads, saying that the paper is working with "radical left-wing groups." Nunes is also being criticized over some of the more interesting expenditures in his latest campaign filing.
$$$: For the OC Register, Jordan Graham looks at the big money being raised by Orange County Democratic congressional candidates.
Local Democratic candidates vying to flip four Republican-held House seats have raised substantial sums in recent months, receiving more cash than their GOP opponents, with two local Democrats collecting more than $1 million since April.
US SENATE: For CALmatters, Dan Morain writes that unlike incumbent Dianne Feinstein and fellow Senator Kamala Harris, Kevin de León files his Senate campaign reports by snail mail rather than electronically leading a significant delay in the availability of the data. House candidates are required to file electronically, but Senate candidates are not.
That also means that the cash-on-hand for de León I reported yesterday was as of March 31 and not June 30.
AG: Sacramento Superior Court Judge Richard Sueyoshi finallized his tentative decision denying a petition by former GOP attorney general candidate Eric Early to remove Xavier Becerra since he didn't have continuous bar membership for five years before his appointment.
DAMMIT, JANUS: The Bee's Adam Ashton writes:
The National Right to Work Foundation in a new court filing attached to an ongoing lawsuit is demanding that SEIU Local 1000 return the money to about 40,000 current and former state workers because the union allegedly created overly burdensome “opt out” procedures that caused employees to pay more money than necessary in labor fees." It could be a $100 million hit to state government's biggest union.
Last month’s Supreme Court decision banning unions from collecting money from workers who don’t belong to them could cost state government’s largest labor organization $100 million in fees it charged to employees who did not “opt in” to it since 2012.
Meanwhile, Southern California Public Radio's Anya Kamenetz looks at the national effort to get teachers to leave their unions:
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, based in Michigan, is running My Pay, My Say as a national campaign. The Freedom Foundation, headquartered in Washington state, is targeting teachers in Oregon, Washington and California with the slogan, Opt Out Today.
TAXING MATTERS: For Capitol Public Radio, Nadine Sebai reports that the trade war is expected to hit California's almond growers:
California almond growers are celebrating the upcoming harvest this fall, which is expected to be record-breaking. But in retaliation for tarif’s issued by the Trump administration, China imposed a 50 percent tariff on U.S. almonds — all of which come from California.
This means a $3 package would now cost Chinese consumers $4.50. This $1.50 difference could cause customers to find cheaper nut alternatives, growers in California to lose massive profits, and commodity brokers to do less business.
#CAKEDAY: Light those candles for Jennifer Baker, former Orange County Assemblyman, Senator, and Representative John Campbell, Judy Centlivre, Brian Leubitz, Amanda Monroy, and Erica Romero!
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