Around The Capitol

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The Nooner for Saturday, February 8, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Money matters
  • PG&E
  • Harassment
  • AB 5
  • Lorena
  • AB 5 goes federal?
  • Emissions
  • Pot
  • Cakeday and classifieds

I have to agree with Bill Maher, "I feel like Nancy Pelosi's copy of the State of the Union" after this week.

Let's look at where the activity is...

CA16 (Fresno-Merced): Rep. Jim Costa has gone negative on teevee and in the mail against a fellow Democrat, Fresno councilmember Esmeralda Soria, reports Thaddeus Miller in the Fresno Bee (story includes ad).

SD05 (San Joaquin): The labor IE opposing Modesto councilmember Mani Grewal is up to $151,667 with more mail.

SD07 (Tri-Valley): The business IE committee JobsPAC reports $25,000 for a walk program to support Steve Glazer (D), as the senator faces a challenge from the left.

SD15 (San José): The labor IE supporting Santa Clara County supervisor Dave Cortese (D) in the race to succeed Jim Beall (D) is up to $235,933 with more mail.

AD09 (South Sacramento): There's a new IE committee sponsored by the Personal Insurance Federation of CA and the California Apartment Association to support Jim Cooper (D), who is facing a challenge from the left. The sponsors have put $375,000 into the committee and thus far report spending $41,500 on digital ads.

AD42 (Yucaipa): The California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems is up to $41,294 in its IE supporting the re-election of Republican turned No Party Preference Assembly member Chad Mayes., while the California Alliance for Progress and Education, an alliance of business organizations has spent $23,826 to oppose Mt. San Jacinto mayor Andrew Kotyuk (R) in the race.

AD57 (Whittier): The independent oil producers are in with $100,000 in more television ads supporting Sylvia Rubio (D) in AD57 (Whittier). Their spending in that race is now $607,648. Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy is now up to $217,833 with more mail.

Of note, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins sent the max of $4,700 to her colleague's sister, Sylvia Rubio (D), who is facing the Assembly Majority Leader's stepmother, Lisa Calderon (D). That's called "member service."

More after the jump...

PG&E: Dale Kasler reports in the Bee that Pacific Gas and Electric plans more frequent power shutoffs to prevent wildfires, but expects them to be briefer with new personnel and technology.

This year’s blackouts should be “smarter, smaller and shorter,” said Matt Pender, a director of the utility’s wildfire safety program. “There’s been a lot of learning at PG&E from the last wildfire season.”

Pender said the footprint of this year’s blackouts should be about one-third smaller than last year’s for a windstorm of similar size, thanks to “sectionalizing” switches that will allow PG&E “to cut up the grid.” PG&E will double the number of switches it had last year.

PG&E released its new safety plan at a crucial moment in the company’s history. Newsom, still seething over PG&E’s troubled safety history and last fall’s blackout drama, so far has refused to give his blessing to PG&E’s bankruptcy reorganization plan.

HARASSMENT: John Myers reports in the Times that Assembly member Wendy Carillo and chief of staff George Esparza have been reprimanded for inappropriate workplace conduct, "citing allegations that the Democratic lawmaker hugged and kissed an employee and that her top aide made 'inappropriate sexual comments.'"

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) admonished Carrillo and Esparza in letters released on Friday by legislative officials. Following a series of well-publicized investigations into lawmakers and staff members in 2016, the Legislature now makes public information related to sexual misconduct investigations of legislators and employees.

But few details about the alleged incidents were released. The letter sent to Carrillo states that “a complaint that you hugged and kissed, on the cheek” was filed and that an investigation concluded the incident occurred and “that this conduct was unwelcome.” A heavily redacted investigation report alleges that Carrillo was “insisting on a two-arm hug” at two different events and kissed the employee on the cheek.

Rendon’s letter to Esparza cites two instances of sexual comments. The investigation document states that in one encounter, Esparza was alleged to have asked someone “are you done masturbating?”

Neither Carrillo nor Esparza responded to a request for comment from The Times.

AB 5 (Gonzalez): Uber and Postmates were in a Los Angeles federal courtroom yesterday seeking a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the new law limiting the use of independent contractors. In this case, their legal argument is that the law was unfairly targeting the app-based companies since it provides to several professions. Joel Rosenblatt and Edvard Pettersson report for Bloomberg:

U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee said during a hearing in Los Angeles that it was “a steep hill to climb” for Uber and Postmates to argue that the statute irrationally targets the app-based companies on the grounds that many workers in other industries were exempt from it.

“I can’t second guess the legislature unless you show me an example of an exemption that absolutely doesn’t make sense,” Gee said.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra argued the attempt to squelch the law will fail because the state legislature has a prerogative to stop the gig economy’s exploitation of workers.

LORENA: In the Times, John Myers profiles Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).

One of California’s most influential legislators, she has written laws to expand the rights of workers, women and immigrants. In most cases, success has come not in spite of her willingness to pick a fight but because of it.

“I come from a perspective of conflict is good,” Gonzalez said. “You actually get change out of conflict. A polite society ensures the status quo.”

A combination of personal persistence and a focus on hot-button issues has given the 48-year-old liberal lawmaker a national following, one that could boost her chances for higher office — beginning with a campaign for secretary of state in 2022.

AB 5 GOES FEDERAL? On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed on a 224-194 vote H.R.2474, the "Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019." It contains amendments to the National Labor Relations Act, including adding the "A-B-C test" to the definition of employee. Some believe this would basically be AB 5, without the exemptions included last year or the ones under discussion for this year. Obviously, Mitch McConnell won't allow the bill to move in the U.S. Senate. Members from California voted according to party lines.

EMISSIONS: Dale Kasler reports for the Bee that the Trump Administration has dropped its effort to force California to give up on its effort for higher emissions standards.

“These trumped up charges were always a sham — a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emissions standards,” the governor said in a prepared statement. “This is a big loss for the President and his weaponization of federal agencies — and a victory for anyone who cares about the rule of law and clean air.”

POT: In the Bee, Andrew Sheeler reports on a new bill that would fine licensed cannabis shops that do business with unlicensed purveyors.

California Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, has introduced legislation that would levy up to $30,000 in fines for each offense of those caught “aiding and abetting” illicit commercial cannabis activity.

Currently, the law provides for a fine of up to three times the amount of the state license fee for any person caught engaging in unlicensed commercial cannabis activity. That number can fluctuate depending on the business’s revenue.

Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Juan Torres!



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Capitol Weekly's Conference on Housing: Feb 18
Don't miss Capitol Weekly's Conference on Housing, Feb 18 in Sacramento. Panels on the Homeless Crisis, Legislative Actions and New Ideas. Keynote from Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Register here.

CA Democratic Party - Executive Director

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California Special Districts Association

Central Coast Public Affairs Field Coordinator. Serve as key liaison to hundreds of local government agencies from Ventura to Santa Cruz. Promote grassroots legislative advocacy, public affairs, and other association activities. Regularly meet with and present to local agency executives and elected officials. Work from home w/frequent in-state travel. Salary range $68,336 - $102,503. Benefits include CalPERS pension. Send Resume and Cover Letter to

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