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E-111 - Wednesday, November 13, 2019, presented by SYASLPartners
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IN TODAY'S NOONER:
¡Buenos días! We are still doing the Golden Bear Awards podcast, although it will be Friday because of scheduling. Thank you for your patience!
PG&E: The federal bankruptcy hearing that had been scheduled for today but has been postponed to next Tuesday.
PG&E: Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) tells the Chron that he will introduce a bill early next year to turn Pacific Gas & Electric into a public entity, reports Dustin Gardiner. He writes:
"He said the option should be considered alongside San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo's push to create a customer-owned cooperative, which has the backing of more than 20 mayors, and San Francisco’s offer to buy PG&E's local power lines and operate them.
'I don't know what the ultimate result will be,' Wiener said. 'But I do think that public power needs to be part of the conversation.'
PG&E has repeatedly pushed back in recent weeks against efforts to create a public utility or a customer co-op."
Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission voted this morning to investigate PG&E's public safety power shutoff policy.
OH, DUNCAN: In the SDUT, Morgan Cook reports on the latest allegations in the case against Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine). "Hunter's defense attorneys will be allowed to submit a brief in response to the government’s motion for disqualification before a hearing on the matter, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 25, at the federal courthouse in San Diego."
LORENA: For Capitol Weekly, Lisa Renner profiles Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the powerful chair of Assembly Appropriations. "Of the bills she worked on this year, Gonzalez said she is most proud of AB 218, which increases the age child sexual abuse victims can report their crimes from 26 to 40 and gives victims up to three times the damages from defendants who try to cover up their crimes."
AB 5 (Gonzalez): The Bee's Sophia Bollag reports that the California Trucking Association yesterday filed a federal lawsuit challenging AB 5, which codified the California Supreme Court's ruling in the Dynamex decision as to who can be considered independent contractors. "The truckers' filed their complaint in the U.S. Southern District Court, challenging both AB 5 and the underlying California Supreme Court ruling known as Dynamex."
As we discussed on the podcast with Chris Micheli, the problem with the legal strategy is that if the court just throws out AB 5, the California Supreme Court's Dynamex decision stands, which wipes out all the hard-fought exemptions included in the bill.
Because of this, the truckers' association seeks to have both AB 5 and the Dynamex decision held in violation of federal law--as it pertains to truckers.
The complaint argues that AB 5, as it pertains to truckers, is unlawful under the Supremecy and Commerce clauses of United States Constitution. On the Supremecy Clause, federal preemption of further state requirements on motor carriers violates the 49 U.S.C. 14501(c), which is part of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA), which seeks uniformity of law affecting the carriers. That feeds into the Commerce Clause that limits state regulations affecting interstate commerce.
The law goes into effect January 1, although several provisions are phased in over a couple of years and the Trucking Association is thus looking for injunctive relief to immediately stop the law from applying to truckers. The lawsuit would not effect other professions, although it is unlikely the last complaint that will be filed.
More after the jump...
beJUULed: Yesterday, San Francisco-based e-cigarette maker JUUL reported slashing 16% of its workforce (650 jobs) and $1 billion in annual spending, after pulling its most popular flavor--mint--off the market amid health scares and possible legal liability, reports Catherine Ho for the Chronicle. She writes:
"What began as a stream of federal and local regulatory pressure, mostly focused on Juul’s appeal to teens, quickly snowballed into broader concerns about the safety of vaping overall when, over the summer, cases of vaping-related deaths and lung illnesses began surfacing in dozens of states. Even though researchers believe the illnesses may involve vitamin E acetate, an additive in THC products — and Juul has not been implicated — the damage has been tangible.
'They're making large corrections given the tectonic shifts in the marketplace,' said Tim Hubbard, an assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business who follows the industry. 'If either one of the problems — the teen vaping or the lung issue — had come individually instead of both at the same time, we wouldn’t have seen such a large reaction. But because you have a dual storm, and one isn’t related to Juul at all but it’s affecting the industry more broadly, it’s much more rapid than one would have expected.'"
Meanwhile, Jenny Gold reports for Kaiser Health News that as flavored pods for e-cigs have pulled off the market, more users are looking for homemade solutions.
BALLOT LABELS: For CapRadio, Ben Adler writes up the debate over the ballot label of the 2020 "split roll" property tax measure. Adler writes:
"'They have written it to minimize the impacts for California taxpayers, and play up that it's all gonna be about supporting education funding,' said Rob Lapsley with the California Business Roundtable, one of the leading opposition groups.
A spokesperson with Becerra’s office declined to explain its change, but said it's simply doing its job of issuing official titles and summaries “describing the chief purpose and points of every proposed initiative submitted in compliance with procedural requirements.'
'We take that responsibility seriously, and the courts recently upheld our exercise of this constitutional authority,' the spokesperson added."
As I've written before, the ballot title and summary largely deviates from the tradition of describing a tax/fee funding first and then a purpose thereafter. That said, the Superior Court of Sacramento County, which is the sole arbiter of such disputes, largely gives significant administrative discretion to the Office of the Attorney General.
USC: After nine University of Southern California students have died since August 24, the LAT team reports how the campus is trying to reassure students and families. They write:
"A campus of 47,500 students, USC experiences four to 15 student deaths in a typical school year, officials said. Last year, six were reported.
Officials have confirmed that three students this year died by suicide. In some cases, the cause of death is undetermined; in others, families did not want details disclosed, they said."
BOAT SAFETY: After a LAT story yesterday about how the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended safety measures for small passenger boats that have not been adopted by the Coast Guard, Mark Puente and Richard Winton report that several members of Congress are now calling for changes. They write:
"As the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation prepares for a Thursday hearing to learn details of the Conception accident, members of California's congressional delegation say it’s time for the Coast Guard to consider stronger protections.
'It is clear that serious changes need to be made, and they need to be made as soon as possible,' Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) said in a statement. 'As we honor the lives of the 34 people who were lost too soon, we must be certain concrete steps are being taken to ensure there are no more victims of tragedies like the Conception fire."
MUNI MATTERS, CAKEDAY, and CLASSIFIEDS after the jumpity jump...
CAPITAL CITY CANNABIS CASH: In the Bee, Theresa Clift reports on the small group of business partners spread their cash among elected officials to consolidate dispensary ownership, even if the city's policy is to limit consolidation. With help from Dale Kasler and Phillip Reese, Clift writes:
"The city code strictly prohibits the city’s 30 dispensary permits from being sold or transferred. City staff has checked since 2014 to make sure at least one name stays on the paperwork from the previous year, but it’s not effective to prevent ownership changes over time, the Bee found. Critics say it's a loophole that allowed a small number of investors to take over the Sacramento market."
It's like commercial property ownership changes that can have an entire change of practical ownership that is ignored by the law for property tax assessment.
LA-LA LAND: Joel Fox writes on the City of Los Angeles budget:
"A recent Los Angeles Times editorial best captured the process of public sector unions bending politicians to their political will to meet budget demands to meet union wage and benefit requests. At the same time, politicians are not open with citizens about the city’s financial situation.
As the Times editorial points out, the city budget, hailed by city officials just six months ago as reaping surpluses of $33 to $77 million a year over the next four years, is actually facing big deficits of $200-$400 million over the next four years.
Why? Because the city officials ignored in budget calculations anticipated pay hikes and healthcare benefits that were coming to the tune of $750 million over three years."
SANDY EGGO: For the SDUT, David Garrick reports on the fiscal stress facing the city of San Diego. He writes "A 'financial outlook' unveiled this week shows projected deficits of $83.7 million in the budget year that begins next July, $66.6 million in the following budget year and $33.6 million during the budget year after that."
Here is the report.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Sarah Couch, Mark Murray, Midori Sperandeo, and Robin Swanson!