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FIRE RELIEF: The list of Mobile Disaster Recovery Team visits has been updated.
The mobile units are a convenience for displaced survivors of the November wildfires who have relocated and are unable to travel to fixed-site Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
MDRCs are jointly operated by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Much like their fixed-site counterparts, mobile DRCs offer information concerning resources available to homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage as a result of the wildfires.
The six MDRCs will be located at sites in Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Shasta and Tehama counties
EAR TICKLER: KCRW's Warren Olney sits down with Mike Madrid, Carla Marinucci, Darry Sragow, and WaPo's Steven Mufson to talk California's 2020 presidential primary.
Happy Tuesday. It's a beautiful morning at The Nooner Global Headquarters. I'm hoping Mother Nature isn't playing a trick on me. Yesterday, it was glorious like right now and then when I headed out for meetings it was overcast and gloomy. With time over around the Capitol this afternoon, I hope the sky is still blue.
THE "TEXT TAX": As you likely know, there was a huge social media uproar over the consideration by the Public Utilities Commission about having some sort of tax on text messaging, whether it be flat rate or by usage. Most familiar with the discussions figured it would have to be flat rate because of the differential in cell phone plans. Anyway, the PUC withdrew the proposal amid the OMG WIGTE (world is going to end) response and intervention by the Federal Communications Commission.
What wasn't discussed in the social media storm was why the tax was even under consideration. Under California law, the state provides free telephone equipment to qualified disabled and elderly customers. This could range from costly TTY/TDD Braille machines to modest large button phones and "memory phones" that use photos for one-touch dialing. They are paid for by a tax on your phone bill, whether it be landline or cell. However, as more people have shifted to cell phone-only, the revenue stream has been reduced.
I don't care about paying a buck on top of my $126/month Verizon bill to ensure qualified disabled and elderly Californians have access to phone service. But, clearly, that's not going to happen now because of people on social media that had zero idea about, or carelessly didn't explain, the options being weighed and its purpose.
It appears it is now in the Legislature's court, and it should tackle this issue. Yeah, as much as I use social media, I truly hate it when it comes to complex policy issues. Not one damn "text tax" image designed to campaign against it mentioned what the damn thing would pay for. Meanwhile, nobody will raise holy hell when their cell carrier raises their bill by a similar amount or more next year because, well, they can.
Put it on the ballot for what it is--a modest tax for poor disabled and elderly to stay in touch. That's a 60%+ win.
2018 LEGISLATORS OF THE YEAR AWARDS
For the Noonerites who have been around for a while, you recall with fondness the California Journal's recognition of legislators. Several years ago, I decided to carry on the tradition with the "editorial board" being Nooner readers. I keep it to three categories--most effective, truest to party, and who'd be fun to hang out casually with. I don't carry on the Journal's old categories or laziest and other negative characterizations. They were fun to read, but just don't fit in to the nature of today's Nooner.
We also recognize both Democrats and Republicans. The Nooner's readership covers the entire political spectrum as many of you regularly remind me. By sheer numbers, I don't need to tell you that Democrats would be at the top if the partisan categories were not separated.
In November, 172 readers voted on legislators from each party and were asked to provide a rationale for their votes. I purposely did it after the election as I didn't want either the votes or rationales given to be used in any manner in campaigns.
So, here we go!
Most Effective Senate Democrat
Most Effective Senate Republican
Truest to Party Senate Democrat
Truest to Party Senate Republican
"Who Would You Like to Have a Beer, Tea, or Coffee With?" - Senate Democrat
"Who Would You Like to Have a Beer, Tea, or Coffee With?" - Senate Republican
Most Effective Assembly Democrat
Most Effective Assembly Republican
Truest to Party Assembly Democrat
Truest to Party Assembly Republican
"Who Would You Like to Have a Beer, Tea, or Coffee With?" - Assembly Democrat
"Who Would You Like to Have a Beer, Tea, or Coffee With?" - Assembly Republican
Lots more after the jump...
UNCLOSING TIME? Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has reintroduced his bill to allow bars in nine cities to stay open until 4am, writes Liam Dillon in the Times. The new bill is SB 58, and it would be a pilot for Cathedral City, Coachella, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Francisco, and West Hollywood. Proponents argue that the cities are large convention cities, where the clock has less meaning particularly for international travelers, and more late night revelers aren't driving. Jerry Brown vetoed Wiener's bill this year, writing "I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem."
Obviously, Governor-elect Gavin Newsom may be more welcoming than Brown was because of his rise in hospitality and current investments therein, but that also means he'll be under much more scrutiny on the topic than Brown was.
FROM OUR UTTERLY SHOCKED FILES: Senate Republican Leader Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) is calling for a repeal of the state's new motor-voter registration system, reports John Myers with the Times.
"Enough is enough,” state Senate Minority Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said in a statement on Monday. “I've been deeply troubled reading the media reports highlighting the failed motor voter program.”
Bates introduced Senate Bill 57, which would return voter registration at DMV offices to a voluntary, “opt-in” process. In April, state officials formally launched the system designed to automatically register those eligible to vote unless they specifically declined.
FIRES: In the SDUT, Jeff McDonald reports that the Public Utilities Commission delayed a statutory requirement passed in 2016 for utilities to file wildfire mitigation plans.
"Under Senate Bill 1028, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric were supposed to prepare annual wildfire mitigation plans for reducing fire threats and identify who specifically would be responsible for implementing them.
The bill, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2016, also called on the California Public Utilities Commission to review the filings every year, comment on the material and audit the companies to make sure the plans were being followed.
More than two years after the legislation was enacted, state regulators have yet to issue directives for the utilities to write the plans, let alone discuss or examine them for compliance — although SDG&E says its own fire plans comply with the law."
WAR ON WASHINGTON: The AP's Elliot Spagat writes on how some California federal immigration judges are rebuking federal prosecutors attempts to expedite resolution of immigration cases.
THE CALIFORNIA BELLWETHER: California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte writes in The Hill "If Republicans elsewhere think California’s dismal electoral results cannot occur in their states, they’re wrong. The demographic changes that swept our state are coming their way sooner than they think."
"What changed [from the era of Earl Warren and Ronald Reagan]? The quick answer is the voting population: Our party and our candidates have yet to figure out how to consistently attract support from Hispanics and Asians.
...Republicans beware: The demographic changes that have turned our state blue are coming to other states’ communities too.
California is not an outlier — we are the future, for better or for worse."
2020: For Politico, Christopher Cadelago looks at the California influence on the 2020 presidential race.
Meanwhile, David Catanese writes for US News that, if Senator Kamala Harris decides over the holidays to run for President, look for her to make a fast jump out of the gate. It's how she's run in the past and will need to given the accelerated 2020 race.
Few people I talk to expect Harris to take a pass on a run. She could galvanize a movement and vault into the nomination, be a strong pick for a VP candidate, or build up name recognition for a future bid. She's got an Ace political team, so to speak.
The United States Senate is likely to be even more boring next year, and that's saying a lot. With divided government, House Dems will lob over bills that likely won't see floor time in the Senate.
With no floor time on contentious bills and nothing like the Kavanaugh hearing, that means no teevee time. Where will the cameras be? On the trail. She'll see more of her colleagues there than in the Hart Senate Office Building.
That's not to say that Harris is a media hound. She has legitimate policy chops and is great at the dais. Nevertheless, the reality of where the action is in 2019 is what it is.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Tim Robertson and Ashley De Smeth!
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Criminal justice bill clears hurdle in the Senate on strong bipartisan vote
The Senate could cast a final vote Tuesday on the Trump-backed legislation that would overhaul the federal prison system to help inmates earn reduced sentences.
On Politics With Lisa Lerer: Republicans Got Their Health Care Wish. It Backfired.
The G.O.P. is forced to reckon with health care, an issue Democrats hammered them on in the midterms; plus, the latest updates on the 2020 race.
Public Nomination Submissions - California Museum
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Nominations to the California Hall of Fame by the public are welcome and encouraged to give the public a voice in the selection process and to assist the Museum in developing a comprehensive list of suitable candidates.
States Ask Judge to Declare Health Law Still in Effect While Ruling Is Appealed
States that support the Affordable Care Act said a ruling striking down the law had created âÂÂambiguityâÂÂ and âÂÂposes a dangerous threat to the health care of millions of Americans.âÂÂ
Controversial ruling on health care law could face a skeptical Supreme Court â
Even with President TrumpâÂÂs appointees to the high court, the majority that twice upheld the Affordable Care Act remains in place.
White House signals it will back down on President Trump’s demand for border wall funding and avert a partial government shutdown
The Trump administration wants to avoid a partial government shutdown and has found other ways to get the border wall money it wants, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday. SandersâÂÂs comments come four days before large portions of the federal government will begin shutting down unless Congress and Trump reach a budget deal. The two sides [âÂ¦]
Arizona governor taps Martha McSally to fill Senate seat once held by McCain
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McSally, who lost a close race for the stateâÂÂs other Senate seat in November, is expected to run in a 2020 special election.
New ‘draft Beto’ Group Launches To Rally Support For 2020 Bid - Politico
"The comparisons to JFK and even Obama exist for a reason. Beto's ability to inspire and connect with voters is unparalleled, even among such strong field of presidential contenders," Nate Lerner, a Co-Founder of Draft Beto and head of its grassroots team, told POLITICO.
Trump agrees to shut down his charity amid allegations he used it for personal and political benefit
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced Tuesday that the foundation is dissolving and distributing its remaining funds as her office pursues a lawsuit against the charity, President Trump and his three eldest children, who oversaw the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The shuttering of TrumpâÂÂs charity comes after stories in The Post documented apparent lapses [âÂ¦]
Trump Slams Tech Giants For 'bias' Following Reports Russians Weaponized Them To His Benefit - Politico
President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused major technology and social media platforms of harboring a bias toward Democrats, accusing Twitter of dampening his following on the platform just days after the release of searing reports detailing the Russian government's use of social media to boost the president during and after his 2016 campaign.
Arizona Governor To Appoint Martha Mcsally To Senate - Politico
Ducey and McSally are expected to appear together in Arizona on Tuesday for a joint press conference.
Trump Foundation to Close After Lawsuit by New York Attorney General
The agreement by the Donald J. Trump Foundation follows a court decision that allowed a lawsuit against the foundation to move forward.
Trump Offering Farmers Extra $4.9 Billion In Trade Relief - Politico
President Donald Trump approved the assistance as a way to alleviate low commodity prices amid his trade disputes. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Nebraska Petition Seeks Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure in 2020
With marijuana partially legalized in a growing number of states, advocates in Nebraska are pushing for their state to embrace medicinal cannabis.
When and how we might see President Trumpâ
Democrats have made more than a dozen attempts to obtain President TrumpâÂÂs tax returns over the past two years. Now back in the majority, they may be poised to finally see them.
Bernie Tops Progressive Straw Poll - Politico
Sen. Bernie Sanders led the field of prospective 2020 presidential candidates with 36 percent support. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo
Top Republicans struggle to persuade Trump not to shut down the government
The president has not informed his GOP allies on Capitol Hill what he might support in the impasse over his desire border wall.
White House Indicates It Wants To Avoid Partial Government Shutdown - Politico
POLITICO STAFF @
"We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Trump machine swallows GOP for 2020
Unique structure of the presidentâÂÂs reelection campaign is an expression of his iron grip on the party.
Blaming the Deep State: Officials Accused of Wrongdoing Adopt Trumpâ
A Pentagon official and a government contractor investigated for mishandling classified material say that bureaucrats opposed to President Trump targeted them.
Warren bill would get feds into generic drug manufacturing
The Massachusetts Democrat, who's likely running for president in 2020, joins a recent wave of Senate legislation aimed at the pharmaceutical industry.
How Trump Could Get Away With It
LAWRENCE S. ROBBINS @
Time is on the presidentâÂÂs side, despite strong evidence that he broke campaign law. But not if Congress and the special counsel decide to act.
Trump Foundation To Shut Down Under Agreement With New York Attorney General - Politico
The agreement requires the Trump Foundation to submit a list of not-for-profit groups that will receive distributions from the remaining assets. | AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Trump Re-establishes U.S. Space Command - Politico
U.S. Space Command will become the 11th combatant command and be led by a four-star general or admiral who will require Senate confirmation. | NASA via Getty Images
Martha McSally Appointed to Arizona Senate Seat Once Held by John McCain
Ms. McSally, a House member, lost her bid for the stateâÂÂs other Senate post in November. She will replace Jon Kyl, who was filling the seat on a temporary basis.