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FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 25 days
The Nooner for Thursday, January 9, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy Thursday! You're almost there and there's a panoply of topics today with bill introductions!
BALLOT BLOAT: The Attorney General's Office yesterday released titles and summaries for two more ballot initiatives:
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: George Skelton reports that Governor Newsom's team are working on a sharper focus in 2020:
[O]n Tuesday, prior to Newsom releasing his annual state budget proposal on Friday, a senior advisor signaled that the governor could be sharpening his strategy and narrowing his focus in 2020.
“There are three top priorities,” communications director Daniel Zingale said when asked about Newsom’s agenda for the year. “Homelessness, healthcare affordability and wildfires.”
FIRST PARTNER: Carla Marinucci reports on First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom's 2020 focus:
Signaling a more activist role in policy issues, California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom has launched a nonprofit initiative aiming to "ensure women have seats at the tables of power," while also tackling issues like the impacts of tech on chlldren, she told POLITICO.
Siebel Newsom on Wednesday registered a nonprofit called the California Partners Project, an effort which has already attracted a crowd of leading women in business and social activism as board members. Among them are two prominent California names in the media and tech spaces — executive director Olivia Morgan, formerly of Common Sense Media and a former adviser to California First Lady Maria Shriver’s Women’s Nation; and board chair Elizabeth Gore, founder and president of Alice, an artificial intelligence platform for business owners.
Siebel Newsom, in a statement to POLITICO, said that she intends to oversee “a partnership with the best and brightest in California to expand our work uplifting women and children, and sustain our state as a leader in equity, innovation, and opportunity.”
AB 5 (Gonzalez): In the Chron, Carolyn Said reports that a Los Angeles Superior Court held yesterday that AB 5 is pre-empted under federal law. Federal Southern District judge Ricardo Benitez issued a temporary restraining order on the same topic December 31. Akemi Tamahana looks at the status of the law for Capitol Weekly.
Meanwhile, Uber has changed its app in California to remove pricing information and won't penalize drivers who don't pick up riders.
CALIFORNIA'S FUTURE: The Public Policy Institute of California has a great new series of publications covering eleven critical topics.
PHARMA: Judy Lin reports for CalMatters that in tomorrow's budget release, Newsom will propose that the state create its own generic pharmaceutical brand.
The proposal, part of the new state budget Newsom is expected to send to the Legislature on Friday, would authorize the state to negotiate contracts with drugmakers to manufacture selected prescriptions on behalf of California. Such a disruption of the pharmaceutical industry, proponents say, would leverage the state’s massive market to increase competition and lower generic drug prices nationally.
The strategy is one of several the Democratic governor plans to recommend to lower the cost of health care for Californians. The administration released only a summary of the proposal on Thursday without the projected price tag, but indicated it’s part of a multi-prong effort that includes strengthening the state’s public option for health insurance and increasing drug pricing transparency
If you thought Assemblymember Jim Wood's AB 824 on "pay for delay" last year was a battle, this proposal will be far more so.
HEALTH CARE: In the LAT, Melody Gutierrez reports that the budget is also expected to include funding for expansion of Medi-Cal to undocumented seniors.
California has been slowly erasing legal immigration status as a requirement for medical coverage under the state’s healthcare program for low-income residents, allowing children and, this month, young adults living in the U.S. illegally to enroll. Now, Democratic lawmakers expect Gov. Gavin Newsom to embrace an effort to include seniors without legal status in the state’s Medi-Cal program — either in his new state budget or with his signature on legislation.
Newsom will send the Legislature a full state spending plan this week and is expected to unveil it Friday. State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) said she expects it to include the Medi-Cal expansion after the governor told her in September that he would champion the effort in his next budget. Durazo said that assurance prompted her to hold her bill last year that would have expanded coverage to adults 65 or older who are living in the U.S. illegally.
PG&E AND WILDFIRES: Marisa Lagos reports for KQED on the latest legislative proposals.
With memories of blackouts and wildfires fresh in their minds, a number of state lawmakers are rolling out proposals aimed at keeping Californians safe during power outages and fires — and holding the state's largest utility, PG&E, accountable.
Among the proposals: bills from two Bay Area lawmakers that would require utilities to provide backup battery packs to the 380,000 Californians who have been identified as medically fragile; require mobile phone companies to provide 72 hours of backup power at cellphone towers; and allow hospitals to run diesel generators without worrying about emissions in the case of a blackout.
SCHOOL FUNDS: Ricardo Cano writes for CalMatters that changes may be coming on how school funds are distributed:
Galvanized by a state audit that criticized California’s lax oversight of school spending, legislators are ringing in the new decade with proposals that would require the state to follow the money that districts get to educate disadvantaged kids.
Assembly Bills 1834 and 1835, introduced this week, mark the latest effort by lawmakers to bolster transparency under the so-called Local Control Funding Formula, the landmark 2013 law that overhauled how the state funds public schools.
HOUSING: In the Times, Liam Dillon looks at AB 1907 introduced yesterday by Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) to exempt homeless shelters and low-income housing projects from the California Environmental Quality Act for 8 years.
AB 1907 not only extends the CEQA exemptions that are now law in L.A. to the entire state, but goes further by allowing affordable housing developments — projects reserved for individuals and families making 80% or less of a region’s median income — to also bypass CEQA.
The new bill is one of the most significant efforts in recent memory from a Democratic lawmaker to change the environmental law. CEQA has staunch defenders among powerful Democratic environmental and labor interest groups, who contend its effects on stopping housing are overblown. They also argue that it provides an essential process to promote sustainable development and union wage standards.
Meanwhile, Adam Brinklow reports for SF Curbed that San Francisco has five vacant homes for every homeless resident and Joel Fox questions whether the homeless will move from cities to temporary shelters as envisioned by Newsom.
We’re working hard to advance #SB50 in the Senate, to legalize apartment buildings & affordable housing bear public transit & job centers.
Let’s get it done!
The bill has to pass the Senate by January 31 and was amended Monday. Senate Appropriations, where the bill sits, hasn't set any hearings yet.
VIRGINITY TESTS: The Bee's Hannah Wiley writes up Lorena Gonzalez's (D-San Diego) bill to ban virginity tests:
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s Assembly Bill 1909 is in response to rapper T.I.’s November interview with Buzzfeed News, during which the entertainer said he goes with his teenage daughter to the gynecologist to make sure she’s still a virgin.
Gonzalez, D-San Diego, called the examination a “form of violence and harassment against young girls and women.”
beJUULed: In the LAT, Lyndsay Winkley writes that San Diego Unified has joined the legal against e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL.
The San Diego Unified School District is suing Juul Labs, a giant in the electronic cigarette industry, for the company’s role in fostering vaping among children, saying it’s an alarming phenomenon that has disrupted learning at schools throughout the district.
The district is the latest of several to take legal action against the company. The Los Angeles Unified School District filed a similar lawsuit in October. Districts in Glendale, Compton and Anaheim have also filed suits, along with districts outside the state.
SCOOTERS: Shocking nobody, Dan Brekke reports that injuries from the popular electronic scooters are on the rise.
The Rise of the E-Scooter has been well chronicled: In the Bay Area and beyond, scads of electric rental scooters appeared early in 2018 and became simultaneously a sidewalk-blocking nuisance and a popular way of negotiating traffic-choked streets.
But a new study from researchers at UCSF shows that the surge in e-scooter popularity has come with a cost: a dramatic increase in the number of injuries attributed to riding the mini-vehicles.
THE CALIFORNIA DIVIDE: For CalMatters, Kate Cimini reports that low- and middle-income residents are fleeing The Golden State.
U.S. Census Bureau numbers show that the middle- and lower-classes are leaving California at a higher rate than the wealthy. Many who have left in recent years say they simply couldn’t afford to stay.
This could have a huge impact on the Census and thus reapportionment and redistricting.
PREZ: For CalMatters, Laurel Rosenhall reports on how Democratic presidential candidates want to shape the nation more like California:
Democratic candidates for president — with rare exceptions — don’t typically point to California as a model, at least not explicitly. But many of the major policies they’re proposing are already happening here to some degree. Below are some key ways Democratic presidential candidates want to make the United States more like California, along with analysis of what the state’s policy experiments reveal so far.
Meanwhile, for the Bee, Bryan Anderson looks at where the candidates stand on health care.
And, Probolsky Research polled Californians on which candidate would make the best babysitter.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Katie Orr, Rachel Richman, Terry Schanz, and Doug Yoakam!