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E-163 - Sunday, September 22, 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 we look at 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.
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Sunday! Let's be quick so we can use the last day of summer to cook up some awesome summer/fall "shoulder season" awesome produce and watch the Niners, Rams, and Emmys. Some other team headed to Las Vegas is sucking up the FOX bandwidth so there's no Broncos-Packers game, so I've had to work this morning.
Twenty years ago today, The West Wing premiered on NBC with "Pilot." One of my favorite trivia pieces is that Martin Sheen's role as President Bartlet was supposed to be minor, with the show more focus on the ensemble cast of advisors surrounding him. However, creator and writer (seasons 1-4) Aaron Sorkin fell in love with the character, as did America. Abbey Bartlet (Stockard Channing), as Jed's wife, was initially a guest star and they wanted her to be a working First Lady, so they made her a physician. When she sought a recurring role, the multiple sclerosis storyline was developed as a chronic, serious, but not debilitating disease that lived throughout the show's run.
A whole new generation has been discovering The West Wing on Netflix. If you are a fan and haven't listened to The West Wing Weekly podcast, you're missing out on something great. In order, Hrishikesh Hirway and Joshua Malina ("Will Bailey") discuss the episodes and frequently have guests from the cast and creators. The saddest part is that they are now on the last season, although like the show itself, the pod will be available for several complete re-listens for years to come.
NEWS AFTER THE JUMP...
SB 1 (Atkins): "California Values Act/Trump Defense Act": Unless you are just starting to read this space or missed the several times I've written about it, Governor Gavin Newsom was "jammed" with a high-profile bill that he was not expecting, Senate Bill 1, by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).
His veto pledge was cheered on by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Valley House Democrats Jim Costa (D-Fresno), T.J. Cox (D-Fresno), John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove), and Josh Harder (D-Turlock). The five had put their concerns in writing on September 6, one week before the end of the legislative year. On Tuesday, September 10--the last day to amend bills--State Senators Anna Cabellero (D-Salinas) and Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) echoed the federal letter.
The opposition is from water interests who fear that the higher protections of the California Endangered Species Act will limit the ability of water agencies to secure water contracts with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, as it follows the federal Endangered Species Act. They argue that to "freeze" the list of endangered and threatened species as of January 19, 2017 ignores advances in science and species recovery. The supporters of SB 1 argue that the Trump Administration has replaced key scientists and the EPA is being pushed to roll back standards and science in many areas, including under the Endangered Species Act.
Politically, Washington, DC Democrats are fearful that Cox and Harder are in particular danger, having one two close races in 2018. Harder's strongest GOP challenger in CA10 appears to be San Joaquin County supervisor Bob Elliott (R), while Cox has a rematch with David Valadao (R) in CA21. Costa has a challenge from the left in CA16 by Fresno councilmember Esmeralda Soria (D). While Nancy Pelosi's name has not appeared on the correspondence asking for a language change or veto, House Democratic leadership is concerned about these seats. There has likely been pressure from those in charge of maximizing Dem seats next year.
The bill went through enrollment and was presented to Governor Newsom at 2pm on September 17. Since Newsom has said he's going to veto it, is he changing his mind with editorials calling for him to sign it and continued advocacy by environmental groups?
I don't think so. So why is he dragging it out, unlike the quick action on the vaccinations bills through quick gubernatorial action to (unsuccessfully) temper the protests? Doesn't it hurt Newsom to allow more attention while the bill awaits action?
Going back to Friday, September 13, the last "day" of the legislative year. As I've written, it was well-known that two things would happen with SB 1, neither of which included Newsom signing the bill after it was not amended on the last day to do so, Tuesday, September 10. Either the bill was to be made a two-year to be worked on in 2020 or SB 1 would pass along with one of the single-use plastic reduction bills, SB 54 (Allen) or AB 1080 (Gonzalez). The governor wanted to sign the single-use plastics bill, which would also give him cover on a veto of SB 1.
Both in this space and in Monday's podcast, we've talked a lot about how much the political dynamics after the anti-vaxx protest in the Senate Chamber last Friday evening. The long and short of it is that, in the end, the governor got the bill he did not want, not the bill he did want, and not both SB 1 and a plastic bill that would provide him cover for a veto unpopular with environmentalists.
Now, let's look at Newsom's week as it relates to environmental issues:
I think the Newsom Administration is purposefully holding off on the expected veto of SB 1 to beef up the new governor's environmental pedigree from campaign rhetoric more actions before taking hits for the veto of Atkins's bill. SB 1 could very well be a bulleted vetoed bill in the final morass, with a message that focuses on what has been done recently and with a focus solely on asking for further work on the issue of federal water contracts next year.
For homegamers, "pocket veto" does not exist in California. If not acted on by October 14, SB 1 becomes law. The governor's line-item veto is limited to items of appropriation, so he can't just strike the language objected to by the water interests and echoed from several elected officials.
THE BACKSTORY: VACCINATIONS: For the Los Angeles Times, the team of Melody Gutierrez, Taryn Luna, and John Myers look at the story behind the story on vaccination medical exemptions, particularly the dynamics that led to hard feelings between the legislation's backers and Governor Gavin Newsom. In the end, there's a lot of "he-said, she-said" and debates over whether and when the goalposts were moved.
ETHNIC STUDIES: For CalMatters, Elizabeth Castillo writes that the remaking of the state's ethnic studies curriculum by the State Board of Education may be extended under a bill on Governor Newsom's desk.
The existing deadlines are for the Department of Ed to submit the revised curriculum by December 31, 2019 for adoption by the State Board of Education by March 31, 2020. In a budget education trailer bill expected to be signed, the new deadlines would be December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, respectively.
"Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, an Encino Democrat and vice-chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, is supportive of ethnic studies but found the draft offensive. He said a deadline extension would be a great move, providing “time for more input, more listening, more collaboration. And hopefully over the next year, everyone working on this can come up with a draft that’s more accurate, free of bias and reflects the visions of the Legislature.”
Others say an extension could be a slippery slope, perhaps leading to a watered-down program of study. A petition circulating online by the Save California Ethnic Studies Coalition calls for state officials to meet several demands and ensure that the draft stays focused on communities of color. With more than 8,000 signatures, the petition includes such demands as not converting the curriculum to less specific multicultural studies or diversity studies and improving transparency and accountability in revising the draft.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a San Diego Democrat and commission member, agreed to serve on an ethnic studies panel and consult the department on the curriculum. Weber helped launch Africana studies at San Diego State University and has taught the subject for 40 years. She also helped establish ethnic studies at k-12 schools in California.
The Instructional Quality Commission met Friday to discuss the draft. At the meeting, Weber stressed the importance of a focused curriculum, of not going too broad, or trying to “just drop things in.”
If the draft deadline is extended, the state plans to host feedback sessions with ethnologists, teachers and others interested in providing input. Education officials also plan to host sessions across the state to hear from the roughly 200 school districts that have already implemented some form of ethnic studies."
HEALTHCARE IN COURT: An anti-trust trial begins tomorrow in a case brought by the California Attorney General's Office against Sutter Health, alleging that the health care behemoth uses its market dominance in Northern California to drive up healthcare prices, report David Caraccio and Cathie Anderson in the Bee.
“We’re in this lawsuit ... to make sure no provider, including Sutter Health systems, offers care in a way that doesn’t provide the lowest and best price and the highest quality,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said during a media briefing last week. The “bottom line is we’re alleging that Sutter Health systems is offering care at a higher price and perhaps even undermining quality by the way it goes about doing its business.”
In statements issued after Becerra’s Wednesday briefing, leaders of Sutter Health called the allegations misguided and said they would vigorously defend the health care giant’s coordinated, patient-friendly health-care system."
CAKEDAYS and NEW CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Brian Ross Adams, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, former Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, and Grant Henninger!