Around The Capitol

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E-239 - Monday, July 8 NIGHTCAP, 2019

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IN THIS NOONER NIGHTCAP:

  • Swalwell: Out of presidential, running for re-election to CA15 - what about Wahab?
  • Hunter: Judge refuses to dismiss or relocate case
  • AB 1054: Public utilities: wildfires and employee protection.
  • AB 392: Peace use-of-force.
  • SB 200: Drinking water.

What a Week! Oh, what's that you say, we've only tackled one day of it? 

Aftershocks continue from the 7.1 "main event" quake near Ridgecrest, with today's largest a 3.9 magnitude temblor. 

There have been developments on several major topics today so I figured I'd tackle them with a nightcap so I have time to think anew tomorrow. I just walked back from the Capitol and am awaiting the end of Senate session after which Senate Appropriations returns from recess to consider the wildfires and utility bill.

Here is a quick update on a few developments of the day.

SWALWELL: As expected, Congressman Eric Swalwell announced this afternoon that he was ending his presidential campaign and running for re-election to CA15 (Hayward-Pleasanton-Livermore). In making the decision, he cited low poll standing and sluggish fundraising. His original plan was to talk to Iowa voters about being born and spending grade school years there. However, in the USA Today/Suffolk U. poll following the debate, Swalwell (along with de Blasio and Ryan) failed to capture the support of a single respondent. Swalwell's presidential website has been replaced by a single page letter explaining his decision.

The question now becomes whether Hayward councilwoman and fellow Democrat Aisha Wahab stays in the race. After she initially opened a committee, she told the press that if Swalwell decided to drop his presidential bid and run for re-election, she would make a decision whether to step aside or continue her campaign. Wahab has not made an official announcement but has been retweeting messages today from others that strongly indicate that she is in it to win it.

I'll have more analysis soon for Nooner Premium on what the race looks like with Swalwell, Wahab, and Republican Peter Liu currently in the mix.

HUNTER: The federal judge in the Duncan Hunter campaign finance misuse case who held a motion hearing last Monday today denied motions by Hunter's legal team to dismiss the case for alleged prosecutorial bias and a separate motion to relocate the trial to the Eastern District of California, which is sited in Sacramento. The attorneys argued that negative media coverage created bias in the jury pool, but the judge cited the results of the 2018 CA50, which took place after the federal indictment of Hunter. Hunter defeated Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar 51.7-48.3% after a spirited campaign by Campa-Najjar in the Republican district.

AB 1054 (Holden, Burke, and Mayes): Public utilities: wildfires and employee protection. As expected, the legislation incorporating the conclusions of Governor Newsom's "strike team" to address the financial instability of investor-owned utilities was approved by the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications committee today with 9 aye votes, 2 no votes, and two abstentions. The bill was then quickly approved by Senate Appropriations and the Senate Floor on a 31-7 vote, with Senator Hurtado not voting. Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) was the lone Democrat voting against the bill, which is discussed below. The abstentions were Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) and Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Fresno) . The Republicans voting against the bill were Chang, Grove, Jones, Morrell, Stone, Wiener, and Wilk.

Under pressure from Wall Street analysts reviewing debt issuances for Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, the governor and Democratic leaders are trying to have the bill approved by the Legislature before the summer recess begins on Friday.

Wiener is concerned with provisions in the bill that erects new barriers for the formation of new or expansion of publicly operated electric utilities because of new PUC oversight on the sales of assets by investor-owned utilities, particularly PG&E since it is in bankruptcy proceedings. San Francisco, San Diego, and other cities are currently exploring the feasibility of purchasing assets from the investor-owned utilities. Obviously, the utilities don't like it but the more important opposition is labor, particularly the powerful union of electrical workers.

AB 392 (Weber, McCarty, Rendon, and Senator Atkins): Peace officers. The police use-of-force bill on there was a compromise reached between two major law enforcement groups and social justice organizations passed the State Senate this evening and was sent to Governor Newsom. Since Senate Appropriations was meeting to review AB 1054 when the AB 392 vote was up, many members haven't yet cast their votes at 6pm as I wrap this. They will add on when the bill's "call" is removed, which is standard practice when not all members are on the floor. At the time of the initial vote of 29 ayes, 1 no, and 10 not voting, only Jeff Stone (R-La Quinta) was a no vote. He did not speak on the bill to indicate the reasons for his opposition.

Despite the well-covered compromise believed to clear a logjam on the topic, plenty of local police organizations and the League of California Cities continue to oppose it. The bill that focuses on police officer training--SB 230 (Caballero)--is in Senate Appropriations Committee on the suspense file and will likely be sent to the Assembly floor when that file is considered just before the August 30 deadline for fiscal committees to act. The bill needs to return to the Assembly for concurrence in Senate amendments before it reaches the governor. The Legislature's first year of the 2019-20 session ends on September 13.

SB 200 (Monning): Drinking water. The bill to provide the mechanism for spending the $130 million provided in the 2019-20 budget was approved by the Senate this afternoon on an overwhelming, bipartisan vote and now goes to the governor. The bill provides direct funding from the state General Fund ($30 million) and cap-and-trade funds ($100 million) in lieu of a tax on water ratepayers, dairies, and fertilizer companies. 

Anyway, those are just some of the big items today. I'm sure later tonight and tomorrow morning, I'll run across many more things!

Chat with ya tomorrow!