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California Legislative Directory| Classifieds | Sofa Degree

E-241 - Saturday, July 6, 2019

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SacTown Talks by The Nooner


  • AB 1054: Public utilities: wildfires and employee protection.
  • AB 1639: Tobacco products.
  • AB 101: housing and homelessness trailer bill
  • Judicial process list
  • Circus animals
  • VAXX

Happy Saturday! As you may have seen above, we have the audio version of a new "What a Week" pod that we recorded Tuesday afternoon. A couple of notes:

  • This was obviously recorded before the Ridgecrest earthquake.
  • This was after Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said that the citizenship question would not be pursued for the 2020 Census as printing the form without the question was beginning, but before President Trump said twelve hours later via tweet that the Administration was moving forward to find a way to include the question.

I was wrong on Thursday when I wrote the time for the World Cup finals that pits the USA Women's National Team against The Netherlands. It is at 8am on FOX. Sweden defeated England 2-1 this morning to take third place in the tourney.

Obviously, we're all concerned with our friends in Southern California following last night's earthquake. It was five times bigger and eleven times stronger than the quake that hit the region around Ridgecrest on Thursday. Last night's 7.1 quake is now considered the main event and the 6.4 Fourth of July temblor is categorized as a foreshock. There have been thousands of foreshocks and aftershocks to last night's quake and USGS says there is an 11% chance of a further magnitude 7+ quake on the same fault. This is not the San Andreas fault, parallels the Los Angeles metropolitan area about 120 miles south, just east of Riverside. 

At 7.1, last night's quake was four times stronger than the Northridge event 25 years ago, which registered at 6.7. Fifty-seven people died in that quake and more than 8,700 had significant injuries. My sister was living in Northridge at the time and I went up and huddled in the hallway with AM radio before going to see the damage to the restaurant she was managing at the time. Driving to my sister's house, I saw gas fires in the street and the famous pancaked apartment complex.

My sister was at the Sean Mendes concert with her daughter and friends last night and reports that while it made the event somewhat of a trip, all were okay. At Dodger Stadium, the cameras were shaking and the broadcasters were not sure what to say. Dodgers fans? They cheered the quake while the game continued. The quake halted the Los Angeles Metro subway system for track inspection and was felt throughout Southern California, Las Vegas, and even Sacramento. Capitol-related folks here posted pictures of water sloshing and pushed out of pools. 

Fortunately, there are no reported deaths or major injuriesfrom the Ridgecrest quakes. There were fires and significant damage in Ridgecrest, a Kern County city with nearly 30,000 people, but most of the structures are single-story and newer, constructed after codes had been updated since Northridge. Had this magnitude quake hit closer to downtown Los Angeles or the Inland Empire cities, deaths could have been in the 100s of thousands according to the USGS. 

The quake is the biggest California temblor in nearly 20 years, when in October 1999 a similar 7.1 quake hit Hector Mine near Ludlow. Here is the list of California's largest quakes since 1800. Last night's 7.1 ranks as the sixth largest quake in recorded California history.

For those who grew up in SoCal and would tune in to local teevee when the ground shook, you know the great seismologist Lucy Jones, now retired from Caltech. She has resurfaced for this event and said "Think of this as a return to what California is supposed to be doing."

Last night, Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency for San Bernardino County making available state assistance and state facilities for temporary shelter. Newsom declared a similar emergency for Kern County following the July 4 quake.

Let's tackle a few issues and go out and enjoy a beautiful Saturday.

AB 1054 (Holden) Public utilities: wildfires and employee protection. The hearing on the bill incorporating the recommendations of Governor Newsom's strike force on wildfire prevention as well as utility financial stability and rate recovery was punted from yesterday to Monday at 10:30am in Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications. The bill is also scheduled for Senate Appropriations on Monday following referral from the policy committee. The bill facilitates a $21 billion financing fund paid for by the extension of a $2.50/month surcharge on electrical customer bills.

According to several sources, the delay was because amendments were being worked out to satisfy concerns from some constituencies. That's also apparently why there there was no committee analysis posted for yesterday's canceled hearing. The bill was amended yesterday to, among other things, provide greater protections for employees of electric utilities in the event of a merger or other corporate ownership change.

AB 1054 is also now tied to the passage of a companion bill, which is reflected in AB 111/SB 111 that establishes the Wildfire Safety Division within the Public Utilities Commission.

AB 1639 (Gray et. al): Tobacco products. I am told that Assembly Rules yesterday double-referred the controversial tobacco/e-cigarette bill to Assembly Health. Presumably, it will go to the much tougher committee on tobacco issues than Assembly G.O., which bill author Adam Gray chairs. If you have missed this story, I wrote about it Wednesday and Thursday.

Based on lots of conversations yesterday, let's just say that the bill does not have an easy path to passage. Gray looked for a state senator who had a bill already in the Assembly to add his language to. For homegamers, that's called "shopping for a vehicle" is legislativese. If he would have accomplish that, then he would escape the rules waivers necessary each step of the way, at least in the Assembly where all deadlines for bills introduced should have already passed. Now it has two policy committees, Assembly Appropriations, the Assembly Floor, and Senate Health to get through by next Friday. Of course, the Senate may waive rules for committee deadlines as well.

AB 101: Housing development and financing. The trailer bill to the state budget to facilitate more housing with carrots and sticks for local governments was adopted by the Assembly on a 65-0-14 vote and heads to Governor Newsom for his signature. The opposition from communities that face financial penalties never materialized. From conversations, they didn't want to poke Newsom in the eye after what is considered a pretty good budget. They think the language will be changed before the penalties would take effect or that they may have a legal basis to challenge the judicially imposed fines allowed under AB 101

TRAILERS: Here's an updated trailer bill status list from Friend of the Nooner lobbyist Chris Micheli.

BENCHED! In the SDUT, Greg Moran reports on the new transparency Governor Newsom has announced of the process for selecting superior court and appellate judges: Moran writes:

"Judges can be elected to the bench, but most are appointed by the governor in a process that has lacked transparency. After submitting an application for appointment through the Governor’s Office, candidates are immediately referred to the local committees, which then conducts an assessment of the candidates by speaking with others in the legal community about their legal ability, temperament, background and other traits."

Sacramento is part of the Northern California committee, which is one of eight in the state. The current members are:

  • Judge Stephen Baker, Shasta County Superior Court
  • Jerry Chong, Law Offices of Jerry L. Chong & Alice W. Wong
  • Michael Colantuono, Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC
  • Judge Sonia Cortes, Yolo County Superior Court
  • Judge Lauri Damrell, Sacramento County Superior Court
  • Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie, Sacramento County Superior Court
  • Jinnifer Pitcher, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Justice Jonathan Renner, California Court of Appeal, Third District
  • Judge Jesus Rodriguez, Butte County Superior Court
  • Nancy Saracino, Western Energy and Water
  • Jennifer Shaw, Shaw Law Group
  • Parker White, Poswall White & Brelsford

The other seven committees are available here.

ANIMAL MATTERS: While the Legislature did the absolute minimum to address the Santa Anita horse death situation by giving the industry-heavy California Horse Racing Board the authority to suspend racing, Chris Nichols updates us for CapRadio on the status of SB 313 (Hueso), which would ban animals other than domestic dogs, cats, and horses. The bill is in Senate Appropriations.

Classifieds after the jump. No Cakedays today that I know about!



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