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E-195 - Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
UPDATED: Lawsuit information page for SB 27 (McGuire and Wiener): Primary elections: ballot access: tax returns.
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Next up is Senator Wiener. Oh, Senator Wiener." (Chair Lorena Gonzalez, this morning's Assembly Appropriations, before she said she was supporting his bill relating Caltrans). Wiener went on to blast Caltrans for its "$1 billion cost estimate," which he called "farcical." Gonzalez on the next bill "Oh, Miss Caballero."
It's the silly season, and we love it.
Happy humpday! Last night was an enjoyable event for the unveiling of the Capitol Weekly Top 100 list to mark the 10th anniversary of the list. It was great seeing so many old friends. Here's the list, which lands Ann O'Leary--Newsom's chief of staff in the number one spot. Congrats to Tim Foster, John Howard, Jyoti Alexander and others for a great event. And, yes, I wore a suit.
AB 1639 (Gray): Tobacco products. As expected, Assembly Health approved AB 1639 with no nay votes. Committee Chair Jim Wood clearly felt slighted by Adam Gray (Merced) who huddled with other members for a "working group" on tobacco billls. But, it's clear that the conversation will continue.
The hearing video is here and the tension was at around 50:00 minutes.
It's unclear how the bill will be handled by Senate Health, which is chaired by Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). The committee previously passed Jerry Hill's SB 38 to ban all flavored tobacco on an 8-1 vote. Hill's bill was watered down with the "menthol, mint, and tobacco" flavors language in Senate Appropriations and was almost certain to not be set for an Assembly Health Committee, after which he moved it to the Inactive File. Assembly Health also shelved Kevin McCarty's (D-Sacramento) AB 739.
McCarty voted for AB 1639 yesterday, but there are lots of hard feelings about how things have played out on tobacco bills this year. Then again, Assembly Democrats received $100,000 from JUUL Labs on May 25 for voter registration efforts. The same "Vote Project" committee received $15,000 from JUUL last year.
Assembly Democrats are nervous with defending their incumbents next year, particularly Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) and Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) who were two pick-ups last year. In the San Ramon Valley, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan has not drawn a challenger yet in AD16, which Donald Trump lost by 35.3% in 2016.
Don't be shocked if this bill is re-referred to The Black Hole in the State Senate. Unlike the Assembly, Pan has to hear AB 1639, as the new "chair's prerogative" was only added to the Assembly Rules. Of course, Portantino has essentially that to kill bills he doesn't like by simply leaving it on the Suspense File and never go on the record voting "no." That's what happened with Scott Wiener's SB 50 on housing density earlier this year.
Look at termed-out Senators Jim Beall, Jerry Hill, Hannah-Beth Jackson, and Bill Monning. Senator Bob Wieckowski, who is running for Alameda County supervisor next year also could be an interesting vote. Wieckowski isn't termed-out until 2022, but is a favorite in crowded the supe race, which is an open seat following twenty-year supervisor Scott Haggerty's decision not to run for re-election.
PLASTICS: At this hour, supporters of the legislation to set ambitious goals for reduction of singe-use plastic are rallying on the Capitol's West Steps. SB 54 is up in Assembly Appropriations this morning, where it likely be parked on the Suspense File until next week's clearing of bills with a fiscal impact. The parallel Assembly bill, AB 1080 is in Senate Appropriations on Monday morning. The bills are one of the classic Capitol showdowns between environmental groups and business.
VAXX: Joaquin Romero writes for Capitol Weekly that time is running out for opponents to SB 276 (Pan), which would tighten the state's oversight of medical exemptions from mandatory vaccination. The bill is on Assembly Appropriations Suspense File, where it is widely expected to be passed to the floor at the end of next week. It was a somewhat close party-line vote in the Senate, with 24 Democrats voting "aye" and four taking a duck (Ben Allen, Cathleen Galgiani, Ben Hueso, and Richard Roth).
Quack quack. In my early days of lobbying, "quack" was frequently muttered under the breath by lobbyists in a crowded committee room or at "The Gate," often combines with a forced cough. The Gate is the third floor hallways where lobbyists gather for floor sessions, hoping for a chance to catch a legislator for a last-minute argument.
The Gate will be hot and crowded for the remaining floor sessions the next 24 days, particularly September 3-13, when the year's session ends.
In Assembly Health, Autumn Burke (D) and Adrin Nazarian (D) voted no or abstained, respectively. Democrats have 61 members in the Assembly and the bill is a majority vote bill, so it's unlikely that 20 Democrats in the Assembly vote no or abstain.
The bigger question is whether Democrats can keep 21 State Senators or whether more senators get cold feet against what is perhaps the most personal bill for opponents this year, even though the bill has already passed the red carpet. Democrats do have one more senator in Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), who was elected June 4--after the May 22 floor vote.
GUNS: Hello neighbor, can you do something about people buying guns illegal in California in The Silver State and bringing them into The Golden State? In the Times, Patrick McGreevy reports that is the message from some California lawmakers to their counterparts in Nevada. In their message to Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, they write:
“While California has enacted numerous gun safety measures, this tragedy underscores the need for California to work closely with neighboring states to close loopholes and advance common sense gun safety measures,” said the letter signed by 27 Democratic legislators including Assembly members Jesse Gabriel of Encino, Reginald Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles and Buffy Wicks of Oakland."
I'm not holding my breath. Meanwhile, President Trump has pullled back on expanding background checks, reports the AP's Jill Colvin. She writes:
"We don't want people that are mentally ill, people that are sick — we don't want them having guns," he said.
But in the days since, Trump has changed his tone. He said Tuesday that, while the current system has "sort of missing areas and areas that don't complete the whole circle," it is overall "very, very strong" — even though federal law only requires background checks for guns sold through licensed firearm dealers.
And he said he worried about the potential risk of a "slippery slope," where "all of a sudden everything gets taken away." Just 11 days earlier Trump dismissed that very same "slippery slope" thinking, which he attributed to the National Rifle Association. "I don't agree with that," he said then."
Reportedly, the change in heart was personally delivered via a phone call to NRA CEO and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.
Nevertheless, Nevada Speaker Frierson says he's willing to listen to his California colleagues.
RENDON VISITS PPIC: The video from last week's lunchtime conversation between Speaker Anthony Rendon and PPIC President/CEO Mark Baldassare has been posted.
CLIMATE: For Capitol Weekly, Lisa Renner reports that while the attention of California's disaster risks of wildfires and earthquakes, the emerging threat is climate change and associated sea level increase.
SUPERCOMMUTERS: In the Bee, Michael Finch II writes that "The majority of Californians drive to work, but an increasing number face commutes well over an hour-long to reach jobs in larger cities. For now, at least, the rise of the super commuter is not slowing down, according to an analysis of census data by Apartment List."
EMISSIONS: In the NYT, Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi write that the Newsom administration may be close to having more automakers buck the Trump Administration on thew rollback of California's emission standards. They write:
"The White House, blindsided by a pact between California and four automakers to oppose President Trump’s auto emissions rollbacks, has mounted an effort to prevent any more companies from joining California.
Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors were all summoned by a senior Trump adviser to a White House meeting last month where he pressed them to stand by the president’s own initiative, according to four people familiar with the talks.
But even as the White House was meeting with automakers, it was losing ground. Yet another company, Mercedes-Benz, is preparing to join the four automakers already in the California agreement — Honda, Ford, Volkswagen and BMW — according to two people familiar with the German company’s plans."
HORSE RACING: Luke Harold of the SDUT reports that Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins visited the Del Mar racetrack on July 24 and Dianne Feinstein's staff met with track leaders on August 8. They want to know how additional safety steps are protecting jockeys and horses alike. The track is in Aktins's district.
CENSUS: From the California State Auditor's office: "Today, the California State Auditor announced that nearly 21,000 Californians have applied to serve on the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission, of which more than 17,500 are tentatively eligible. The initial application period for the 14 Commission seats closed on Monday, August 19, 2019 at 5:00 p.m."
Here are the stats.
AB 392 (Weber and McCarty): Dan Walters writes for Calmatters "The record of the 2019 legislative session – Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first – is still a work in progress, but his signature on Assembly Bill 392 this week makes it a success, no matter what else happens."
Meanwhile, Nico Savidge reports for the MercNews that some believe the new standard is more of a political win than changes in practice. We talked on the pod about that with Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), the bill's coauthor.
SALMON: In the LAT, Bettina Boxall writes that a federal report analyzing the impact of proposed changes to water policy by the Trump Administration on California's salmon was quashed by the administration. Boxall writes:
"The July 1 assessment, obtained by The Times, outlines how proposed changes in government water operations would harm several species protected by the Endangered Species Act, including perilously low populations of winter-run salmon, as well as steelhead trout and killer whales, which feed on salmon.
But the 1,123-page document was never released.
Two days after federal scientists submitted their review, called a biological opinion, a regional fisheries official pulled the document and replaced the team that wrote it with a new group tasked with revising it, as The Times reported in July."
SANDERS COMING TO SACRAMENTO: The Bee's Marcus Bretón writes that Bernie Sanders is coming to Sacramento tomorrow evening for a fenced-off rally in César Chávez Plaza, meaning that lots of homeless will be displaced and evening commute traffic will be cray-cray. Bretón writes:
"Sanders got a permit for a capacity of 4,000 people. They will fence off part of the park and clear the people nearest the fence. But part of the park won’t be fenced and that area will be for overflow.
That fence will go up the park on Thursday and city park rangers will clear the area. It will be interesting to see if any homeless people will be around once Sanders takes the stage Thursday.
It promises to be a spectacle. But once the show leaves town, reality returns – a reality that seems too big for the star of Thursday’s show."
Sanders's visit is timed to coincide with the Democratic National Committee fall meeting San Francisco, which starts tomorrow. 13 presidential candidates are expected. Joe Biden, who skipped the California Democratic Party Convention in June, is taking a pass again.
MUNI MATTERS. CAKEDAY, and CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: Nanette Asimov and Rachel Swan report for the Chron that the board of supes has approved naming the new Chinatown MUNI station after Rose Pak, the long-time political insider, but it was not without controversy as younger activists see her as the ultimate insider power player.
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: In San Francisco, many companies are hiring off-duty SF police officers to provide increased security for their property and employees, reports Phil Matier in the Chron. "But it's not cheap. A single officer standing in a building lobby or store entrance earns $100 an hour and can cost a business upward of $1,000 a day when city administrative fees are added."
SANTA BARBARA: Santa Barbara school board member Laura Capps has filed to run for former Assemblyman Das Williams's supe seat. Das is expected to run for Hannah-Beth Jackson's SD19 although hasn't filed anything yet and is not termed out in Santa Barbara. There is some speculation that Laura is testing the waters while Das decides what to do.
Capps is the daughter of former congressmembers Walter and Lois Capps and had been expected to run for the congressional seat, but opted out. Laura previously worked for President Clinton and is married to Dem political consultant Bill Burton and is a political/public affairs consultant as well.
LA-LA LAND: David Zahniser and Emily Alpert Reyes report for the LAT on some funny business at the City of Angels planning department. "Los Angeles’ planning department was paying its former top executive more than $18,000 a month in consulting fees during the period when he was illegally lobbying managers in that same agency on behalf of real estate developers, documents show."
SANDY EGGO SCOOTERS: City officials in San Diego are threatening scooter company Lime, stating that new speed limits adopted earlier this year are not being respected, reports Joshua Emerson Smith for the SDUT. The company is expected to use geofencing since the speed limits are not the same in every part of the city.
SANDY EGGO MAYORAL: In the SDUT, David Garrick writes that Assemblyman Todd Gloria has received the endorsement of the San Diego Democratic Party for his 2020 race to lead the city. He faces city council member and fellow Democrat Barbara Bry. With campaign contribution limits of $1,150, the endorsement is significant in the nonpartisan race, where independent expenditures are expected to be a big part of the campaign to succeed Kevin Faulconer.
SANDY EGGO FAKE NEWS: Also in the SDUT, Morgan Cook reports that the San Diego County Republican Party has created it's own news site that looks like a news organization. Cook writes:
"You wouldn’t know that Sandiegonewsdesk.com was a Republican Party product unless you read the fine print at the bottom of the home page.
As of Tuesday morning, readers who scrolled down the site’s main page, past posts with titles such as, “Governor Newsom and Other Democrats are Worsening the Housing Crisis,” and “City Council Democrats Oppose Job-Creating Commercial Development,” would find a disclaimer at the very bottom of the page that read, “Paid for by the Republican Party of San Diego County.” Also listed are the identification numbers for the party’s state and local political committees and its associated tax-exempt organization."
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Bryan Miller and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond!
GHOST OF CAKEDAYS PAST: Yesterday was the birthday of former Superintendent of Public Instruction, Assemblywoman, and gubernatorial candidate Delaine Eastin.