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The Nooner for Thursday, June 18, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
GENERAL ELECTION DATA POINTS
SEEN ON LATE NIGHT:
SCHOOLS OUT FOR SUMMER (SORT OF): The Assembly left town today as scheduled until July 13 for Summer Recess. The Senate, which returned from the COVID-19 stay-at-home earlier, plans to recess from July 2-13.
This means that unless the Assembly returns, a budget deal between legislative Democrats and Governor Newsom will likely not be made until mid-July. Newsom is not expected to sign the budget plan passed by both houses on Monday on a party-line vote not only because of the substance of the Democratic plan of "assume federal funds materialize first, cut later" in contrast to Newsom's "cut first, restore later if federal funds materialize" plan but because it's too early in his governorship for him to be seen as having his hand forced by his fellow Democrats while he possesses a high approval rating.
Before the State Senate adjourned for the weekend today, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said "discussions with Governor Newsom are progressing" and we are "working on fine-tuning our version of the budget."
In absence of a state budget, non-legislative state employees continue to get paid because of guarantees under federal law. However, legislative employees and legislators don't get paid, with checks scheduled for July 15 and 30. In absence of a deal, it's looking like some legislative employees may be going across the street to Golden 1 Credit Union to obtain interest-free loans as was the custom in most years before Proposition 25 was adopted by the voters in 2010.
Payments to local governments (including schools and community colleges) and other scheduled disbursements would also be held up until a budget is adopted.
APOLOGY: It has been a crazy week with often concurrent legislative activity, police use-of-force debates, an uncertain COVID-19 situation while reopening, and Supreme Court opinions. Writing has been particularly wild as thigs develop in my morning writing time, often changing what I have already written.
Yesterday, I had a big flub. I'm glad so many of you emailed me about it, because it means you're reading. (Hear that potential advertisers?)
Under the ACA 5 (Weber -- affirmative action) item, I had a parenthetical that identified Assembly member Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) as the husband of Rep. Judy Chu. Of course, Judy Chu's husband is former Assembly member Mike Eng, who subsequently server on the Los Angeles Community College District board and ran in the hot Dem-Dem 2018 general in SD22 that resulted in the election of Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park). Chu, Eng, and Chau live in Monterey Park and have represented the area in the State Assembly.
I fixed it in the online version immediately and tweeted an apology before the hamsters were finished sending out yesterday's Nooner. I know, people have offered to be an editor. The fact is, most days I literally write from <=5am until minutes before the first Nooners go out to ATCpro subscribers at 11:30. On great days, I read through and spell check. On good days, I spell check. On mediocre days, I do neither. On bad days, you get a day off from The Nooner (with extensions for advertisers).
No, it wasn't a case of "Do we all look alike?" but rather a "Scott shouldn't try to write at the same time as following one of the craziest legislative hearings of the year. My fingers were focused on The Nooner and my brain was listening to the testimony on ACA5. I know Eng well from his time in the Assembly and more so as a community college trustee, as I was president/CEO of the state association representing trustees and college presidents while he was serving in both roles. I also wrote about SD22 many times in this space.
The nearly three-hour Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement hearing was at times gripping and at other times akin to the worst of talk radio. "Can you hear me now?" "Hello. Am I on?" And, of course, opponents calling in during the time set aside for supporters and vice-versa. If you listen to any part of it, I suggest the closing comments by chair Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) found at 2:46:49 of the above video link. Voice cracking, he was clearly choked up and near tears.
Hill was mayor of San Mateo when Proposition 209 passed in 1996 and his twelve years in the Legislature comes to an end on November 30.
Apologies to all.
And, as I've admitted in this space before, I did have egg on my face at an event last year where I told Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) that he represents my dad. Of course, Phillip Chen (R-Yorba Linda) does. Vince laughed it off and said it happens frequently. I've also delivered flowers for a missed coffee to the wrong Rubio sister.
Thank you all for laughing off my silly mistakes and understanding my fallibility. And thank you for continuing to read and the great feedback I receive every day.
DACA: This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against the Trump Administration over its efforts to roll back Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on a 5-4 vote. The decision was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the four Democrat-appointed associate justices. It found that the Trump Administrations actions to rescind the Obama-era orders was arbitrary and capricious under the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Technically, the case sends the issue back to the Department of Homeland Security to consider restarting the process of repealing DACA while following the APA, which won't happen before the November election.
The lead plaintiff on the case was the Regents of the University of California, which won before the Northern District court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
END THE SUSPENSE! Today after the 9am floor session, Senate Appropriations is tackling its Suspense File before the three-week summer recess commences. There are 88 bills on the agenda including controversial ones on housing density by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and flavored tobacco by Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo).
MASKS: As county public health officers around the state have come under fire for their orders related to precautions and reopening and after seven have resigned since the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom's administration is considering a statewide mask order, reports Sophia Bollag in the Bee.
Dr. Penny Borenstein, public health director in San Luis Obispo County, said Newsom administration officials briefed county health directors Wednesday. She said a statewide mask order is “under consideration. I do not have details at this time.”
Sacramento County officials are considering changing the recommendation that customers wear masks inside stores and other businesses to a requirement, they told The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday, the same day the county saw four new deaths and 67 new cases of COVID-19. Dr. Peter Beilenson, the county health services director, said he was aware of similar discussions at the state level.
The SacBee had an editorial today calling for Newsom to issue a statewide order for mandatory masks.
Masks won’t completely halt the spread of the virus, but they could potentially save your life or the life of someone you love. A mask doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to be effective. Even a mask fashioned out of a t-shirt, a bandana or a sock can make a big difference (and there are plenty of online tutorials for how to make them). The basic point is to cover your nose and mouth, and to maintain a 6-foot distance from others when interacting with people outside of your household.
Scientists say the hardest days of the COVID-19 pandemic lie ahead of us. History has often asked Americans to make great sacrifices, and some have even given their lives in defense of the common good.
Wearing a simple cloth mask to save lives seems pretty easy in comparison.
Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this gem aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night of public comment on the mask order before the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.
THE RENT IS TOO DAMN DUE: After rent was deferred by many tenants during the stay-at-home order, they accrued a large liability that is due as the economy reopens and courts resume hearing evictions. After a small number of renters skipped April and May payments as the federal stimulus checks came in, those who didn't pay rent in June surged to double digits in much of the country including California. The SacBizJourn reported that a survey showed that 23% of Sacramento County tenants didn't pay June rent. Thus, that rolls forward and provides a daunting challenge when they start trying to pay rent again.
In the Bee, Hannah Wiley reports on an effort to provide a plan to allow renters to repay unpaid rent due to direct effects of COVID-19 during the pandemic over time, starting in 2024 and extending through 2034. In exchange, the state would provide tax credits for landlords in the amount of unpaid rent during the time of repayment. Wiley writes:
The proposal, backed by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, would send immediate relief, once it’s passed, to renters who’ve faced job loss or wage cuts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 1410 would encourage landlords and tenants to make a deal under a “rent stabilization agreement” before a homeowner could throw someone out for failing to make rent.
The bill was a gut-and-amend on Tuesday and is jointly authored by Senators Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) and Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). Atkins and Hertzberg are co-authors. Wiley continues:
The agreement would allow the tenant to defer rent during the coronavirus emergency without fear of being evicted. If the renter declines to make a deal, the landlord would have to secure a signature-verified document proving he or she attempted negotiations with the tenant.
The state would then assume the financial burden, and allow renters 10 years beginning in 2024 to pay back unpaid rent accumulated during COVID-19. Tenants could make payments incrementally or, if they can’t afford the installments, could receive loan forgiveness.
In return, landlords would get 10 years of tax credits equal to the amount of unpaid rent. Property owners could also sell the tax credits to investors for immediate cash flow.
The bill does not have a cost estimate.
In the Chron, J.K. Dineen reports that tenants are walking away from leases with many younger folks moving back in with their parents, creating a challenge for landlords trying to fill vacancies in an awful market and creating an opportunity for tenants to renegotiate their notoriously high rents.
It is a fascinating approach that might find middle ground as both tenants and landlords are both in a precarious position. Tenants are faced with eviction because of non-payment while landlords face the prospect of empty units for the foreseeable future. Additional, government faces the prospect of an increase to the already troubling numbers of people without secure housing as if they are evicted for non-payment, they likely won't find another place willing to take them and, even if they did, it is unlikely they have a security deposit and first month's rent.
SB 1410 is back in Senate Rules after the gut-and-amend and it'll be interesting to see what legislative machinations take place. Will it go through committee or moved to the floor as an emergency? The bill includes an urgency clause to take effect immediately and to settle imminent answer immediate questions of landlords and tenants.
Thank you to those who helped close the June $2,700 revenue gap from advertising through donations and new subscriptions. Thanks to you, I have remained current on my rent through this period and will be able to do so on July 1, along with my health insurance, AroundTheCapitol server, and about a dozen newspaper subscriptions. Let's hope July is better, although I'm not holding my breath.
VOTE BY MAIL: This morning, the Assembly concurred in Senate Amendments with a 63-02 bipartisan vote on AB 860, the bill to codify Governor Newsom's executive orders for an all-mail with Vote Centers elections. AB 860 adds a few other protections requested by Republicans, including ensuring that only active voters (new and have not missed several elections or replied to a postcard) receive mailed ballots. The bill now goes to the governor and takes effect immediately upon his signature.
I needn't repeat the more detailed analysis the issue I provided on Saturday, but I refer you back if you missed it.
Building on Saturday's item, AB 860, when signed, renders the Sutter County Superior Court filed by Assembly members James Gallagher and Kevin Kiley moot. It would also render counts I and II moot in the case filed by the California Republican Party and Republican National Committee, although counts III and IV may proceed. Those counts challenge an all-mail election as offending the Right to Vote and Equal Protection provided by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by alleging fraud and unpreparedness to conduct an election in that manner.
The motions hearing in the CRP/RNC case is scheduled for July 9 before Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. in the federal Eastern District of California here in Sacramento.
SPORTS BETTING: You likely have seen the ads encouraging the Legislature to "approve sports betting." The ads are paid for by FanDuel.com and DraftKings.com, which currently have pseudo-betting through fantasy sports. By "currently," I mean whenever sports return. They are backing SCA 5 (Dodd), which would place a measure on the November ballot to amend the state constitution to allow sports betting in card clubs, tribal casinos, and race tracks. Gaming tribes are not on board that measure as it also expands the games that can be offered in card clubs, creating more competition off tribal land.
The tribes are seeking a court order to extend the time to collect signatures for their sports betting initiative to allow them to continue to collect without starting over because of the COVID-19 shutdown. It's too late for 2020. That measure, which also allows craps and roulette at tribal casinos and sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, would be on the November 2022 ballot.
SCA 6 is on the Senate Appropriations Suspense File. It, along with ACA 5 (Weber) -- the Prop. 209 repeal -- are scheduled to be considered next Tuesday. Next Thursday is the official deadline for the Legislature to place measures on the November 3 ballot. However, unlike the initiative qualification deadline, the Legislature's deadline is statutory and not in the constitution. That means the Legislature can extend it and it comes down to operational deadlines such as printing of the statewide election guide.
Whatever that actual deadline is, SCA 6 still has to go to the Assembly. Assuming ACA 5 is not amended in the Senate, Approps and a two-thirds Senate floor vote is all it takes to get it on the ballot. If you were following the cray-cray hearing yesterday, that is why Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) said that she while she wished she could be added as a co-author, she knew that wasn't possible. Any change in ACA 5 would send it back to the Assembly for concurrence and they really don't want to go through that floor debate again.
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Rep. Jerry McNerney, Venus Stromberg, and Joe Summers!