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E-178 - Saturday, September 7, 2019
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
TRUMP TAX RETURNS: Lawsuit information page for SB 27 (McGuire and Wiener): Primary elections: ballot access: tax returns.
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Well, that was a fun and short week. There are many new Nooner readers, so here's the about me page. If you like what you read and want more information (particular in next year's elections), you should become a monthly, term, or annual subscriber. My income is solely the advertisers you see here and individual Premium subscriptions. I point that out not to whine but to know that I am not paid in any other way to influence what appears here. As I wrote the other day, I've taken advertisements on both sides of issues over the year and, when I write each day, I don't see which ads appear around my words.
For those who were following the legislative floor sessions yesterday and tuned out the Capitol after they both adjourned by 11:30am, I don't blame you. As some of you know who are as big of a geek as I am, we started at 5am yesterday and ended at 11:30pm--from The Nooner, Twitter, and about three hours spent preparing for and recording the podcast. It's wild, and as Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins said yesterday, I indeed love it. As a kid, I bled Dodger Blue; now I bleed whatever color you would paint the Capitol.
For the Noonerific Newbies, this space is meant to be about the people and process as much as the policy itself. I care about the three concomitantly, but the first two are the least covered elsewhere for the homegamers.
Meanwhile, if you wisely got off the computer for awhile after session and tuned out, you might have missed the afternoon developments, particularly if you are not a Twitterholic. That's what I'm trying to tackle in today's Nooner. There are lots of stories out there, but in the 6.5 hours I have to research write, I'm not even going to have time to read newspaper stories until tonight. I really want to read up on the legal case on the dive boat disaster, which I might get to tomorrow.
Of course, this morning is when many of us are seeing the amendments adopted on the floors yesterday. Even getting up at 5am doesn't afford me time to get through all of the amendments, so I'll have to be selective and will likely have many more tomorrow.
Let's get started after the jump.
AB 1561 (B. Rubio and Gray): Endangered wildlife: crocodiles and alligators.: You may recall when Idid the seven bills in seven days leading up to the Legislature's return last month following it's month-long summer recess. On August 5, I discussed AB 719 (B. Rubio and Gray), which delays the prohibition of the importation, possession for sale, or sale of crocodile and alligator products. They had been previously prohibited, but that prohibition was lifted in 2006 but is scheduled to return on January 1, 2020. I'm not going to go through the detailed background and political dynamics again, but you can read them in that previous Nooner.
AB 719 was held by Senate Appropriations Committee last Friday, August 30 and appeared dead. But, like a good game of Whack-a-Mole, the bill popped up last night at 9:31pm as AB 1561 by the same authors. That bill had been about the impact of local government housing element planning and zoning for persons in a protected class under the state Unruh Civil Rights Act, but we have more important things to do, such as selling crocodile-skin handbags, shoes, and watches. AB 719 would have extended the return of the prohibition to March 30, 2022. The new AB 1561 would punt the prohibition return to January 1, 2021.
The inclusion today is not about the policy, which I wrote about in August. Rather, it's about the process and a good learning moment for homegamers about crunch-time legislative maneuvers.
There is a gentlepersons' agreement among committee chairs that a bill that has been held by a committee does not pop up elsewhere in a substantively similar form to bypass the committee that held it. The two most important committees where this agreement is meant to be observed are the gatekeeper Appropriations committees.
Does the change in language of the extension of the legal importation, possession for sale, or sale of crocodile and alligator products from March 30, 2022 (AB 719) to January 1, 2021 (AB 1561) make it a substantively different bill or is it a jailbreak?
Of course, the answer depends on which side you are on. This does come down to trust between legislative houses, and the Appropriations committee chairs. The bill, which again is on the Senate Floor and is a majority vote bill, and only needs a Senate floor vote with 21 votes and and Assembly floor vote with 41 votes.
Regardless of your position on the bill, it's an interesting example of the chicanery that happens at this time of the legislative year. Because the deadline for the importation and sale of such products expires January 1, the issue can't be a two-year bill like many controversial ones have become. The deadline for the return of the prohibition has been kicked down the field twice, once to 2015 and then to 2020. Will it be again for one year so we can have this fight again next year? Annual fights over this are even better than the previous 5-year extensions--far more $$$ for lobbyists.
SB 276 and SB 714 (Pan): Immunizations: medical exemptions.: When I wrote to you at lunchtime yesterday, it looked like that Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) were heading to a high-profile showdown with Governor Gavin Newsom over the vaccinations bill.
At 1:38pm yesterday, a gut-and-amend popped up online to SB 714, a bill currently in Assembly Health Committee. The amendments, if SB 276 is signed, would provide additional provisions to the changes to allowable medical exemptions contained in that bill. For the homegamers, SB 714 are specific changes to the law as proposed in SB 276.
I haven't had time yet to completely reconcile the two bills and of course we don't have any committee analysis yet, but here's a couple of quick takeaways:
If SB 276 is signed by the governor, SB 714:
With these amendments, Governor Gavin Newsom has said that he will sign both SB 276 and SB 714, and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins has endorsed the compromise. As a majority bill, the bill is expected to be fast-tracked to the Governor early next week. Since the bill was amended while in Assembly Health Committee, it could have been amended after the weekend, but by putting it in print on Friday at 1:38pm, it can go to the Governor as early as Monday afternoon. The Governor and legislative leaders really want to get this high-profile bill passed them as it's sucking the oxygen out of the room with many other big issues to tackle by midnight Friday.
The amendments do not quell any opposition of the protestors that have been omnipresent lately around the Capitol, including some who were arrested last night for refusing to leave at closing time. Don't expect the issue to die quickly.
Meanwhile, regardless of where you personally are on the bill and I respect those who offer respectful policy arguments or data on either side, I think most of you can agree with me that second-rate "actor" Rob Schneider is a racist idiot. I respect policy opinions, which this clearly is not. He's had three days now to delete or apologize for this tweet after being called out on it.
AB 1482 (Chiu): Tenancy: rent caps.: I'll probably return to this one tomorrow to see if any feedback comes through. We talked about the problem with the bill on the podcasts Tuesday and yesterday, and I wrote about it yesterday and again in the podcast release email this morning. I absolutely support the good intentions of the governor, authors, and supporters, but there is a gaping loophole that is already leading to fabricated cause evictions of low- and middle-income renters here in Sacramento in the "grace period" created by the bill from now until December 31, 2019.
While the language refers to the rental rate for the unit as of March 15, 2019, whether this rebenching is allowed is unclear.
The result is creating an immediate disruption of more people getting eviction notices without cause who are finding that rental prices of advertised units are going up right now, while vulnerable people are being pushed out so that landlords have a chance to rebench the rent of units more than 15 years old (why it hits vulnerable people more) before the law takes effect.
Few people are providing answers to this issue and nobody that claims to champion tenant rights, including editorial boards, are bothering to talk about it. Lawmakers need to make it clear that this gamesmanship is not allowed through unambiguous language.
This is literally having practical consequences this week for tenants. As I've said, this does not affect me personally, but I'll keep talking about it until we get unambiguous answers to exactly how the interplay between the retroactivity, current eviction law, and proposed new eviction law apply. Because of the last-minute deal and amendments on the Senate floor made public a 9pm on Thursday, we don't even have an official analysis of the bill.
Longtime readers know that the last thing I want to do is contribute to the defeat of this bill, which would be a gift to Michael Weinstein and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. They are collecting signatures for another measure on the November 2020 ballot following their sound defeat in November 2018 (Yes=40.6%).
SB 1 (Atkins): California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019.: I have not paid enough attention to this bill and apologize. I assigned it to my environmental reporter, or was it health, or was it labor? Anyway, they all seem to be out of the office.
The short description of it is that the bill seeks to maintain standards in the above topics in California at the same level they were before any regulatory rollbacks by the Trump Administration. Generally speaking, these are very popular within California and I need not to tell you that President Trump is less so.
Obviously, there's a natural partisan divide on the bill since it's seen as a referendum on President Trump. The bill is currently on the Assembly Floor reaching there from its first Senate committee with all partisan votes. However, Central Valley water interests (which includes agencies, contractors, and agricultural) fear that the bill could lock in endangered species protections at higher standards of the California Endangered Species Act if federal Endangered Species Act regulations are rolled back.
The water interests fear that differential standards of California from the federal governments stance could harm negotiations for "critical" water contracts for water deliveries through the federal Central Valley Project of 1933 and he state's own biggest water delivery project, The Governor Edmund G. Brown California Aqueduct.
Let me be clear that I know little about water policy other than dozens or lawyers, lobbyists, and experts make careers about it. I took Environmental Law from the great Holly Doremus at King Hall, but I didn't take the more specialized Water Law class. Ever since the hills were mined of gold in the nineteenth century leading to the state's admission to the Union, H2O took over for Au.
The reason I bring this up in The Nooner today is about politics and process, not policy. Yesterday, as the two houses of the Legislature were using the last opportunity to amend bills on the floor with a simple majority vote (Tuesday midnight is the deadline for amending with a two-thirds vote), Senator Dianne Feinstein and four Valley Democratic House members (think water and ag) sent a letter to the bill author, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins. The four co-signers of the letter with Feinstein are veterans John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove) and Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and freshmen TJ Cox (D-Fresno) and Josh Harder (D-Turlock).
Of these congressman, Costa, Cox, and Harder could all be considered on the threatened species list for 2020, Costa from the left and Cox and Harder from the right.
In the letter, the five object to Section 2 of the bill that requires the federal Bureau of Reclamation to comply with the California Endangered Species Act whether than federal law. It also objects to Section 3(c) that limits the granting of incidental take permits granted by the Fish and Game Commission of endangered or threatened species to protections as of January 19, 2017. Opponents to this provision, echoed by the Senator and congressman argue that this, regardless of politics, limits changes that are based in changes in science.
I need not tell you the significance between January 19 and January 20, 2017.
The bill received 28 votes (all Dem as mentioned above) in the Senate, but could be in trouble in the Assembly reaching two-thirds wih this high-profile opposition and might not have two-thirds when back to the Senate for concurrence. So, you ask what can be done since during our chats in this space we've been talking about yesterday being the deadline for simple majority amendments on the floor and thereafter requiring two-thirds.
I wrote above the bill is on the Senate floor. Note that I mentioned the rule of September 6 being the "Last day to amend on the floor." (J.R. 61(a)(14))
A bill can be re-referred to committee from the Assembly Floor on a simple majority vote. A simple majority on the Assembly Floor can waive the deadline for the late committee approval.
Cal. Const. Art. IV, Section 8(b)(2) (Proposition 54) is the only real hard deadline and that is midnight Tuesday night. That is the 72-hour point before recess, when final language must be in print (including on the Internet). The only test is how late legislators are willing to work on Friday night.
Scott, why are you writing so obscurely instead of just clearly writing what might happen?
Hey, this ain't no Monday NYT Crossword Puzzle. This is Saturday, and I can't make it THAT easy for you.
SANDY EGGO MAYOR, CAKEDAY and CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
SANDY EGGO MAYOR: The SDUT's David Garrick gets us the first public poll in next year's mayoral race:
The election is in 178 days in concert with the March 3 statewide primary with a November runoff among the top two.
Can I go to the Crawfish and Catfish Festival in at the You Only Live Once County Fairgrounds now?
'til tomorrow, Scott out. (well, I'll be back online this evening, probably here)
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Robyn Boyer, Melanie Cuevas, Mandy Lee, Hilary McLean, Senator Holly Mitchell, and AJ Valenzuela!