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E-169 - Monday, September 16, 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.
MONEY MATTERS: This is the space where I'll be looking interesting contributions to party committees or non-capped "ballot measure" committee accounts affiliated with legislators. Standard contributions to candidate committees up to the 2020 limit of $9,400 for primary and general are not included.
WEEKENDS AT THE NOONER:
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
¡Buenos dias amigos! After the protests and anger of the last couple of weeks, it was great to go to the Capitol last night for the El Grito de Dolores reading in celebration of Mexican Independence Day, which is today. While the west-facing balcony isn't available for the traditional reading of El Grito, organizers created a two-level stage for the replication of the tradition that takes places in zócalos municipales throughout Mexíco.
Las niñas were all decked out in their ornate beautiful dresses while los niños had on their vaqueros outfits. Street food was plentiful, turning the area in front of Starbucks (which was of course closed) into the delightful smells and sounds of the Mexico. Since I had a Oaxacan tlayuda at our Lady of Guadalupe after writing and menudo that I also picked up waiting for me at home for a late dinner, I stuck to only a bowl of elote at the evening's fiesta.
It was a politics-free family-friendly evening at the Capitol of Californians celebrating their heritage and those of us who love to celebrate with them. After only a few hours of sleep over the previous two nights and a perfect cool evening, it was wonderful. ¡Víva Mexíco! ¡Víva Estados Unidos! ¡Víva Calífornia! ¡Víva Sacramento!
While the legislative year is over, Governor Gavin Newsom now has until October 14 to act on the bills in his possession upon adjournment for the Legislature's interim recess. So, we have a lot of actions to await while we also shift our focus to elections. Part of looking at the March 3, 2020 statewide primary certainly must be the outcome of the challenges to SB 27 (McGuire and Wiener), the recently-signed law requiring disclosure of four years of tax returns for presidential and gubernatorial candidates.
Obviously, I've been focused on the Legislature, but I've been keeping tabs on the cases through the great work of Richard Winger through his site Ballot-Access.org. I've tried to keep my SB 27 page up to date although I'm sure I'm missing filings.
While there were five federal cases filed in three districts (Eastern, Central, and Southern), they are consolidated under the Eastern District cases to be heard Thursday at 2pm in Sacramento before Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. Indeed, they scheduled the hearing considering my writing schedule.
Except for the De La Fuente case, the federal cases all come down to the same issues that I wrote about on July 12--the Qualifications Clause of Article II, Section 1 and the Freedoms of Association and Speech of the First Amendment applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The De La Fuente case throws in the statutory provisions and regulations relating to the confidentiality of individual tax returns, as he is a declared candidate for President.
There is also the case pending before the Supreme Court of California (SCOCAL) in which the California Republican Party and its chair Jessica Patterson challenge that state constitutional provisions require the Secretary of State to include on the semi-open presidential primary ballot candidates who are generally recognized as a national candidate. While SCOCAL has asked for briefings from both parties, it is under no obligation to act before the federal cases and may elect to wait. Filing deadlines aren't until early December, coming quickly from a candidate perspective but necessarily from a legal one.
I hope to be there Thursday early enough to get a seat in the courtroom because, well I'm just an elections and ConLaw geek. Anyway, I hope to gather enough to have something to share with you on Friday.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to catch up on news from a few days after emerging from the very long and mostly dark that was the end of the legislative year so I know there are things that I have missed and will get to in time.
THE GNUS AFTER THE JUMP...
PPIC'S ELECTION 2020 PREVIEW: Tomorrow, the Public Policy Institute of California is hosting an Election 2020 Preview at the Sheraton. The discussion will be moderated by KQED's Marisa Lagos and will include California Democratic Party chair Rusty Hicks, NPR White House Correspondent Tamara Keith, and California Republican Party chair Jessica Patterson.
The event is sold out, but you can register to watch it livestreamed here. The program part of the luncheon is expected to begin at 12:15. As with many PPIC events, a recording of the stream will likely follow in a few days after the event.
VAPING: At 11:30 when the hamsters run their little wheel at the San Jose IBM server farm to get The Nooner to Premium, Governor Gavin Newsom will make an announcement of an executive order to crack down on teen vaping. This follows the decision of Adam Gray (D-Merced) to park his AB 1639 in Senate Rules amidst news stories of hundreds of vape-related respiratory illnesses and scrutiny of contributions from JUUL Labs to members and Democratic Party-related committees. Of course, the day after Gray made the move, President Trump was joined by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials in the Oval Office to announce moving forward on regulations to ban all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco.
Cynics say that the promise of regulations has the veracity of the promise by candidate Trump to release his tax returns before the 2016 election. Others recognize that this is a smokin' hot political issue, particularly among suburban middle-of-the-road moms who swung to the Democrats in congressional and statehouse races in 2018 and could be decisive in many 2020 state and federal elections.
With Newsom's announcement coming after The Nooner is put to bed and with a lunch, haircut, and pod recording slated for this afternoon, it'll probably be tonight before I have time to dive into it. I'll tweet the executive order and other quips as I see it.
Some folks have asked how the FDA can regulate e-cigarette pods, when the agency is limited from regulating conventional tobacco products under 21 U.S. Code § 387a. The answer is found ironically in the argument that the companies (including the tobacco companies) and their supporters make that e-cigarettes are not combustible tobacco products covered by the statute, and thus the FDA (and now Trump) proffers is either a food or a drug.
THROUGH JOHN'S EYES: Capitol press veteran and my friend John Myers has a great analysis piece this morning for the LAT on the legislative year that was and the fights that lie ahead.
As we lingered during one of the breaks during our Friday-Saturday slumber party, some of us were talking about the all-night budget session that we "covered" over Twitter with John, me, and my friend and budget lobbyist for us at the Community College League, Theresa Tena (both of us as @ccleague). Other folks chimed in as well. It was fun to hear that recollection of the nascent use of Twitter before it was commonplace in politics and policy, and long before we had a President tweeting cat video weather maps.
When Biz Stone announced the Twitter "service" of allowing 140-character messages, shaped from the then-SMS limit, I laughed at it as more dot.com silliness. Now the damn thing tells me I have tweeted 26,120 times. Huh.
Meanwhile, Ben Adler and Scott Ruud look at what awaits action on Governor Newsom's desk.
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: George Skelton looks at how Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins jammed Governor Gavin Newsom with SB 1 after an extended honeymoon with much comity between the Democrats in the Legislature and the first-year governor. Skelton essentially says "Well played, Madam Pro Tem."
"But one very good thing that occurred — regardless of your view about her bill — was a normally low-key Senate leader standing up to a powerful new governor of her own party.
That’s rare in Sacramento and Washington. Governors and presidents almost always are deferred to by legislative leaders of their party. When was the last time that you recall U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) bucking President Trump?
As what usually happens when the Legislature is attacked — a disgruntled trucker drove his big rig into the Capitol below the Senate in 2001, armed Black Panthers invaded the Assembly chamber in 1967 — security will be tightened. And the grand old building will become even more a vault-like fortress. And it should, given last week’s madness.
But kudos to Atkins for working around the loonies and standing up to the mighty governor.
Hopefully this exercise of independence will happen again before the next full moon on a Friday the 13th."
I posted on Twitter yesterday about a convo that happened off the Senate Floor after the assault Friday evening in which we were asking what former Pro Tem John Burton would do or say in the situation. A few people took it as a misogynistic attack on Atkins as a poor leader. From those who provide commentary on the Legislature, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who has offered more praise for Toni Atkins.
Frankly, folks in the Capitol were legitimately fearful through the week, a nervousness that crescendoed on Friday evening. The sergeants can't escort every legislator as they have Dr. Richard Pan through the vaccinations protests, let alone staff, media, and members of the public. Some of us knew we'd be walking home in the dark, even if we didn't know that it would be at 3:30am.
As after 9/11, there was lots of dark humor (I won't share the worst of it) before and after the Senate incident. Figuring that some were still feeling that nervousness and could use a laugh, I shared it on Twitter.
Some people took it as a misogynistic suggestion that Burton would have handled the protests differently than Atkins. That certainly was not the case. The security decisions were not made by individually by Atkins and Speaker Rendon, something I confirmed with two CHP officers and two sergeants. Monday-morning quarterbacking can find lots of things to criticize but, pending lab results for blood exposure, it looks like there were no significant injuries from the two assault cases.
I privately heard from more women who liked my tweet than those criticizing me publicly on Twitter, but I'll take it as a learning experience and try to "be better." Blame it on my head with very little sleep Friday and Saturday nights, and not my heart. ¡Lo siento!
Pro Tem Atkins did a fantastic job Friday evening and the Senate administrative staff were amazing getting the trains running effectively in Room 4203 on a moment's notice.
But, admit it, most of you want to know what John Burton would have effing yelled at Rebecca Dalelio after she lobbed her "package" to the Senate Floor while screaming "This is for the dead babies."
VAXX: For CalMatters, Elizabeth Aguilera writes up five things to know about the changes in mandatory childhood vaccinations placed into law by SB 276 and SB 714. The bills take effect January 1, unless opponents are success in attempted referenda on the two measures.
The last I heard, the opponents that come from several different camps were debating litigation, referendum, or both. The two referenda requests for title and summary to the Attorney General's office were submitted last Wednesday.
Folks have asked me if they have the money to qualify the referendum and my answer has been yes. The request to the AG's office was through a nonprofit and it's very possible funds would be anonymously routed through the nonprofit for anonymity to qualify the measure. That could come from Hollywood, the Scientology-related interests, or elsewhere. If that happens, like the protests themselves, we may never know the source of funds.
PG&E: You may have noticed I had PG&E listed in the "In Today's Nooner" for Friday and then there was nothing. It was a story that broke while I was writing, meant to circle back but ran out of time. Here's the story by Bill Chappell fo NPR:
"Utility giant PG&E has agreed to a second large settlement over devastating Northern California wildfires, saying it will pay $11 billion to resolve most insurance claims from the wine country fires in 2017 and massive Camp Fire in 2018.
"These claims are based on payments made by insurance companies to individuals and businesses with insurance coverage for wildfire damages" in those catastrophic blazes, PG&E said in announcing the deal.
The settlement will require the approval of a bankruptcy court, as PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January and recently entered into a Chapter 11 reorganization plan.
While the $11 billion sum is large, it's far smaller than the roughly $20 billion that the insurance companies had initially wanted, after paying out billions to California wildfire victims."
Also on PG&E, Lisa Renner in Capitol Weekly writes on the consideration of renaming the beleaguered investor-owned utility to "Golden State Power Light & Gas."
TRUMP V. CALIFORNIA: For McClatchy, Emily Cadei and Michael Wilner report that the Trump Administration is exploring ways to address California's homelessness problem (which is also found in Oregon, Washington, and other states. They write "White House officials denied that they have firm plans in the works, emphasizing that the administration is still researching options. But they made clear that the president blames California’s Democratic leaders for the surging number of homeless people across the state, in yet another broadside in Trump’s long-running feud with the state."
Trump is scheduled to be in San Francisco tomorrow for a fundraising lunch at an undisclosed location. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is also expected in the Bay Area. The official presidential schedule usually comes out around between 7pm and 9pm Pacific.
AB 5 (Gonzalez): Worker status: employees and independent contractors. - Matt Rexroad submitted a piece to the Sacramento Bee to call them out for their hypocrisy with the last-minute request (joined by other papers) for an exemption for contracted newspaper delivery drivers, essentially arguing that the bill would put newspapers out of business. The Bee didn't print Rexroad's piece, but Joel Fox does today on Fox&Hounds. Rexroad writes:
"It’s incredibly hypocritical for the Bee to ask for special treatment for the newspaper industry when it is often quick to deny it to others.
If only the Editorial Board would be so understanding about the need to exempt certain neighborhoods when it came to the placement of new homelessness shelters.
The Bee has not been shy about calling out local neighborhood opposition to new homeless housing centers. Editorials strongly supported the recent approval of the Meadowview shelter for homeless women and children, despite the objections from portions of the community and the City Councilmember representing the area.
The Editorial Board urged the Meadowview neighborhood to put aside their concerns about a homeless housing complex near a community center because homelessness is such an important issue and all parts of the community need to be part of the solution.
If everyone needs to play their part in fixing big problems, then newspapers have no right to oppose Assembly Bill 5."
CA50 (East San Diego County): With former congressman Darrell Issa (R) poised to run in CA50, apparently whether or not embattled congressman Duncan Hunter resigns or skips re-election, Issa finally gets a confirmation hearing tomorrow in Senate Foreign Relations tomorrow for his appointment by President Trump to be director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
The question is whether he even wants to take the job, which would only likely last a little over a year if Trump does not win re-election. Watching him over the years, he would rather be back in the House even in the minority than in the obscure appointed post for an undetermined amount of time.
AD73 (Coastal South Orange): The challenge to Assemblyman Bill Brough (R), who has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior from before he was in Assembly has political camps facing off. Laguna Niguel councilwoman Laurie Davies (R) has rolled out endorsements from former Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey, former congresswoman Mimi Walters, Newport Beach mayor Diane Dixon, and many more local elected officials.
OUR SUPERHERO: Lots of things happened in the hours on the legislative floors last week, but one that stuck out was Senator Jeff Stone (D-Temecula) calling Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) the "Black Widow of Public Policy" when one of her bills came up last week. Lorena took it with humor as a badge of honor, temporarily changing her twitter name to reflect the label.
BTW, as you'll see below, today is when we light the candles for our fiery Black Widow of Public Policy in Chief. Immediately after Cakedays is an important clean-up on Aisle Scott on which bill of Lorena's that Dr. Pan did not vote for overnight Friday.
CAKEDAY, DEPT OF CORRECTIONS, and CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Nick Pappas, Sasha Perez, and Chris Rogers!
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Senator Richard Pan did not stay off the ACA 14 (Gonzalez) vote, is a co-author, and spoke for the bill earlier in the day while senators were still on the red capet. I knew it was one of the end-of-year bills pending of Lorena's, so it may have been AB 1066, the bill to provide workers unemployment insurance coverage during prolonged labor strikes.
My apologies as we still don't have Senate votes because of the unique circumstances of the Friday-Saturday Senate Floor session. I'll loop back on this after votes are posted.