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Happy Humpday! Hopefully a freight train doesn't get stuck in downtown Sac this morning. LA has mass butterflies while NYC is dispensing rats for MTA change.
As expected, former Assemblymember Don Wagner and Irvine mayor former Congressmember Loretta Sanchez are leading for the Third District on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. While it is a nonpartisan race, Sanchez is a Dem and Wagner is from the GOP. The election is winner take all and there are around 13% of ballots outstanding. Wagner leads by 2,980 votes.
"Newsom plans to sign an executive order Wednesday morning granting reprieves to all 737 Californians awaiting executions – a quarter of the country’s death row inmates."
Newsom says the death penalty system has discriminated against mentally ill defendants and people of color. It has not made the state safer and has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, according to prepared remarks Newsom plans to deliver Wednesday morning when he signs the order."
The LAT's Phil Willon reports:
"The order will prevent the state from putting prisoners to death by granting temporary reprieves to all 737 condemned inmates on California’s death row, the largest in the nation. It will immediately close the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison and scuttle the state’s ongoing efforts to devise a constitutional method for lethal injection. No inmate will be released and no sentence or conviction will be altered, the order says.
Newsom joins governors in Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania who have imposed moratoriums on executions in those states, all using executive powers."
Carla Marinucci writes for Politico:
“I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people,’’ Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement released late Tuesday. “In short, the death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.”
CALmatters's Laurel Rosenhall reports:
A leading supporter of the death penalty said Newsom’s action is legal but “contrary to basic democratic principles.”
“The decision of whether we will have the death penalty or not is one the people have made over and over again through the initiative process,” said Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which advocates for capital punishment.
Senator Kamala Harris praised Newsom's decision. "As a career law enforcement official, I have opposed the death penalty because it is immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars."
Joel Fox is not a fan of the governor's move:
"Ours is a government of the people. If a single individual who temporarily holds the reins of power, even in the highly controversial and oft debated issue of the death penalty, can override that basic concept of government by the people then a severe crack appears in the foundation of the democracy."
Meanwhile, Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) is introducing a constitutional amendment to eliminate the death penalty.
"MONUMENT TO STUPIDITY": On Anderson Cooper Monday night, Gavin Newsom called the border wall a "monument to stupidity." He also disputed the comments of President Trump at CPAC that he called Trump "one of the smartest guys I've ever met" in a recent telephone call.
FIRE LIABILITY: Sonoma County prosecutors announced yesterday that PG&E will not be held criminally liable for the 2017 wildfires, reports Julie Johnson in the Press Democrat:
"Cal Fire investigators determined PG&E had violated state safety codes, mostly by failing to trim trees and brush near powerlines, in four of the fires that originated in Sonoma County: the Adobe, Norrbom, Pocket, and Pythian/Oakmont fires.
But a team of senior Sonoma County prosecutors came to the conclusion those investigations didn’t reveal sufficient evidence of criminal recklessness or negligence on the part of the utility, Ravitch said."
Speaking of wildfires, Assemblymember Jim Gallagher (R-Yuba City) has a bill in Assembly Education today to extend the 2017 school district budget protection (average daily attendance) for school districts affected by the 2018 wildfires. Speaking of Gallagher, he's a UC Davis Law alum!
Also in Assembly Education is a bill by Dr. Shirley Weber to implement full-day kindergarten in the 2021-22 school year.
Up in Assembly Elections is Gallagher's AB 322, which would require local governments to post online campaign finance reports filed in paper format on their websites.
ARAMBULA: Fresno-area Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula took a leave of absence yesterday after the Fresno County DA announced that he would be charged with one count of misdeamor child abuse, writes Rory Appleton for the Bee. [charging document]
Arambula's spot as chair on Assembly Budget Sub 1 on Health and Human services has been taken over by Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-Grand Terrace) on an acting basis. Arambula is taking an unpaid leave, unlike some of the #METOO folks who resigned on December 31, 2017.
MONEY MATTERS: The Department of Finance is out with its monthly finance bulletin. While the top line doesn't look good at $2.218 billion below the projections in the Governor's January Budget, February was actually a good month with revenues coming in $128 million above projections. The reason is that while personal income tax is sluggish, bank and corporation and sales tax are above projections. This is believed to be because withholding schedules are still screwy because of the federal tax bill. Of course, next month is the biggie. Unemployment ticked up 0.1% to 4.2% with 3,000 nonfarm jobs added in the month.
The largest job gain was in professional and business services (4,200), followed by educational and health services (2,600), government (2,400), information (1,400), leisure and hospitality (1,400), manufacturing (800), and mining and logging (200). The largest job loss was in trade, transportation, and utilities (7,200), followed by other services (1,300), construction (900), and financial activities (600).
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME: In the Bee, Andrew Sheeler reports that President Trump has given the okay for California to go to permanent Daylight Savings Time, to the appreciation of microwave everywhere. Congressional approval is also required.
USE OF FORCE: In the Chron, Alexei Koseff reports that Governor Newsom is meeting this week with advocates on both sides of the debate over the police use-of-force debate. The two bills are SB 230 (Caballero), which is supported by law enforcement groups, and AB 392 (Weber), which is supported by civil rights organizations.
Advocates for SB 230 are on the air with teevee ads making their case. Neither bill has been set for a committee hearing in the respective Public Safety Committees yet, and most folks think that a deal will be worked out as opposed to highly contentious hearings. The Sacramento City Council cut its meeting short yesterday as an activist disrupted the meeting and the same thing happened last week after hearing a presentation by the police and the Office of Public Safety Accountability on changes being implemented following the March 4 protest.
SB 230 focuses on training and resources, while AB 392 changes the liability standard of when police can use deadly force.
The use of force debate is likely right there with Dynamex (independent contractors) as the biggest policy fights this year.
PUBLIC RECORDS: After significant criticism that his SB 615 would eviscerate the California Public Records Act, Senator Ben Hueso has abandoned the effort. The bill would have required those seeking records to meet and confer in good faith before going to court over a dispute with an agency over records. Jeff
More and #CAKEDAY after the jump . . .
STATE WORKERS: A new report by the California Department of Human Resources and SEIU Local 1000--the state's largest union--recommends that state employees in Los Angeles and San Francisco should be paid more to adjust for cost of housing, reports Wes Venteicher for the Bee.
“You have to move farther and farther and farther away to find something that’s affordable for you, and then drive an hour and a half to get to the job you have,” [task for chair from Local 1000 Miguel] Cordova said.
DAM IT: Dan Walters writes that the federal government is correct in not paying California all that the state wants for Oroville Dam repairs.
"The Federal Emergency Management Agency correctly concluded that it—meaning all U.S. taxpayers—shouldn’t have to pay for preventable structural problems that existed before the dam’s two spillways collapsed."
SANCTUARY: Immigration and Customs Enforcement is using local police cameras to identify individuals for deportation, including in some sanctuary cities, reports Jazmine Ulloa for the Times. "Civil rights groups in California want police and sheriff’s departments to stop sending license plate scanner information to a national private database, saying new public documents show federal immigration agents are using the system in breach of sanctuary state and city laws."
2020: A Ninth Circuit panel yesterday was skeptical as to whether California's ballot access rules for independent presidential candidates under the US Constitution. Richard Winger reports for Ballot Access News.
CLIMATE: Damage from rising sea levels could exceed that of earthquakes and wildfires, reports Rosanna Xia in the Times. The student was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. Xia reports:
"The results are sobering. More than half a million Californians and $150 billion in property are at risk of flooding along the coast by 2100 — equivalent to 6% of the state’s GDP, the study found, and on par with Hurricane Katrina and some of the world’s costliest disasters. The number of people exposed is three times greater than previous models that considered only sea level rise."
THE BUZZ: For Capitol Weekly, Lisa Renner looks at the role of bees in pollinating the almond crop and what farmers are doing to try to reverse the declining population.
"Over the last few weeks, bee keepers from all over the U.S. were in the Central Valley releasing bees to pollinate the almond crops. Almond growers use about 75 percent of the commercial beehives in the country to pollinate their crops, said Bob Curtis, a consultant with the Almond Board of California. “It’s the largest global pollination event, period,” he said.
Researchers believe the decline in population is due to a combination of factors, including pesticides, habitat loss, fast-spreading diseases and infestation by the varroa mite."
LA-LA LAND: The race for second in the Los Angeles Unified to face former Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg narrowed in yesterday's results, with Heather Repenning 35 votes above Graciela Ortiz. The runoff is May 14.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Senator Benjamin Allen, Xóchitl Rodriguez Murillo, and Matthew Roman!
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