Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS:

  • Cap•Impact Podcast (McGeorge School of Law): Lobbyist and adjunct professor Chris Micheli talks about California’s Balanced Budget Requirement. (2020-06-19)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarski and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): The protests, LAPD, Garcetti, and the budget (2020-06-19)
  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Former Assembly Speaker and UC Regents chair John Pérez on a Historic Week at the Supreme Court and the Push to Bring Back Affirmative Action in California (2020-06-18)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast: (John Howard and Tim Foster): Joe Rodota discusses his new podcast The Oppo File, where he looks at the history of opposition research (2020-06-18)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarski and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): Are Latinos being ignored in the debate over police brutality? (2020-06-18)
  • Look West Podcast (Assembly Democratic Caucus): Assembly members Patrick O'Donnell (Chair of the Education Committee), Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Cristina Garcia and local school officials about the day the schools were shut down, how to reopen the schools safely and addressing the inequities in the school systems that have been magnified by the coronavirus crisis. (2020-06-16)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Maeley Tom, a longtime legislative staffer and Democratic Party stalwart who played a pioneering role as one of the first Asian women in California’s capitol about her new memoir I'm Not Who You Think I Am. (2020-06-16)
  • Cap•Impact Podcast (McGeorge School of Law): Lobbyist and adjunct professor Chris Micheli talks about how advocates are conducting business in the Legislature during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-06-15)

ATCpro UPDATES (subscriber feature):

  • CA48 (Orange County beach cities-Costa Mesa-Fountain Valley): updated analysis - leans Dem
  • A full list of recent updated analyses is available at the subscribers home page along with my top races to watch rankings. If you have forgotten your password or never set one, click "Forgot Password" on that login page.

The Nooner for Monday, June 22, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Weekends at The Nooner
  • State budget - deal reached
  • SB 1410: COVID-19 emergency: tenancies.
  • SCOTUS with the Mostus
  • SCA 6 (Dodd): Gambling: sports wagering.
  • COVID-19 and Latinos
  • Fireworks
  • Cakeday and classifieds

GENERAL ELECTION DATA POINTS

WEEKENDS AT THE NOONER

Saturday, June 20

  • Clean up aisle Nooner! - budget and ballot measures
  • Suicide or lynching?
  • "Bad cops"
  • State employees/furloughs
  • Employment
  • Housing crisis and black California
  • The two John Sutter legacies

Sunday, June 21

  • The political landscape
  • The Ting Thing
  • LA-LA Land DA
  • Utilities and wildfires
  • Walters on CalPERS
  • Summer travel and COVID
  • OakTown
  • Cakeday and classifieds

Just another Manic Monday...wish it was, well, 2021?

This may or may not be a crazy week. The official deadline for the Legislature to place measures on the November 3 ballot is Thursday, although as I have written, that is flexible since it's in Elections §9040 rather than the California Constitution like the 131-day initiative deadline. It comes down to practical deadlines such as printing the statewide ballot pamphlet (novel), although if push comes to shove, a supplemental packet has been mailed out in the past.

Meanwhile, I've found a great caffeine-free iced tea as I continue my fight against COVIDsomnia with no caffeine after noon. Allspicery has this Tropical Sunrise loose leaf iced "tea," with ingredients of rooibos, ginger, apple, orange peel, lemongrass, cinnamon sticks, coconut rasps, flavor, pink peppercorn, cardamom pods, red currants, cornflower petals. At $4.10/oz, it's cheaper than many of the premium bagged teas in the grocery store or online. They have twenty-eight different loose leaf teas

As I think I've mentioned here before, Allspicery is open Monday-Friday 10-4, but orders must be placed in advance for pickup at the front door, or they have delivery and shipping options as well. #SupportLocalSmallBusinesses

STATE BUDGET - DEAL REACHED: This morning, a budget agreement between Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon was announced in a joint statement, nine days before the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year.

This broke just before 11am, so there are no details yet. For now, I'll just quote from the joint statement:

“The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused a sudden and dramatic change in our nation’s and state’s economic outlook – and has had a cascading effect on our state budget. California was better positioned for this sudden change than at almost any time in its history, building out record reserves following years of responsible budgeting. Even still, the size and scope of the pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis have been unprecedented – leaving California to make hard choices and figure out how to sustain critical services with much less.

“In the face of these challenges, we have agreed on a budget that is balanced, responsible and protects core services – education, health care, social safety net and emergency preparedness and response. This budget also invests in California small businesses harmed by the pandemic.

“This agreement reflects our shared commitment to supporting schools, and is built on a foundation of equity – allocating billions of dollars for students most affected by learning loss and continuing our state’s leadership toward reforming the criminal justice system.

“To be clear, this budget required some tough decisions and more work remains ahead. But they were necessary steps for keeping California on firm fiscal footing while we continue to meet the COVID-19 challenge, protect vital services and our most vulnerable communities, and build a strong fiscal bridge to a safe, speedy economic resurgence. Californians are doing their part – now it’s imperative for our federal partners to pass a responsible and comprehensive relief plan so states and local communities can continue to keep Americans safe while leading our national economic recovery.”

SB 1410 (Caballero and Bradford): COVID-19 EMERGENCY: TENANCIES: This morning, Senate Governance and Finance heard SB 1410, the bill to allow repayment of rent deferred by tenants during the COVID-19 emergency between 2024 and 2034, while providing property owners to recoup the missed rent through state tax credits that could be resold as commercial paper for immediate cash at the current low interest rates. The bill is co-authored by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg.

Supporting, sometimes with suggestions of amendments, were most affordable housing advocates.

Opponents included the California Association of realtors, several apartment and rental housing associations, and the San Francisco tenants union because some tenants aren't state tax filers. Those opposed expressed a desire for significant amendments to address concerns, which mostly centered around the four-year gap between when tenants are not paying rent before owners could recoup losses through tax credits.

It's 11:25 and members are still talking. Given that the bill was set for the committee, the Pro Tem is a co-sponsor, Hertzberg is a coauthor and is on the committee, and that it's a 5-2 Dem-Rep committee, I fully expect it will get out and then be heard by Senate Approps tomorrow.

SCOTUS WITH THE MOSTUS: With only eight days left in the current Supreme Court of the United States term, this morning was a big yawn for court watchers. The only case handed down was Liu v. Securities Exchange Commission, which deals with statutory interpretation of disgorgement in securities fraud cases, and was decided on a 6-1 decision with Justice Thomas dissenting.

Unlike they usually do when meeting in the SCOTUS building rather than via teleconference, the date of next decisions was not announced, but it's unlikely they hold everything until next Monday. They have a regular conference scheduled on Thursday, so a post-conference reading of opinions is likely, although it could happen before then. Most watchers are not expecting any retirements to be announced, which are often made on the final day of the Court's sitting.

There are 14 cases left unless some are punted to next year, which happens occasionally if they are working on a broad restatement of the law or there have been late developments in the case since oral argument. With the summary descriptions written by Amy Howe, big/interesting cases include:

  • Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue - Challenge to a decision by the Montana Supreme Court invalidating a tax-credit program because the scholarships created by the program could be used at religious schools. Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer have not yet written opinions for January; because the January argument session only had eight arguments, one of them will not write an opinion.
  • June Medical Services v. Russo (consolidated with Russo v. June Medical Services) - Challenge to the constitutionality of a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients at nearby hospitals; and whether abortion providers have the right to bring the challenge on behalf of their patients.
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru (consolidated with St. James School v. Biel): Whether courts can hear employment discrimination claims brought by teachers at Catholic elementary schools.
  • Trump v. Mazars USA (consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank): Whether congressional committees have the authority to issue subpoenas to the president’s accountant and creditors for financial records belonging to the president and his business entities.

  • Trump v. Vance: Whether the Manhattan district attorney can obtain the president’s tax returns as part of a state grand-jury investigation.

  • Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca: Whether state “faithless elector” laws, which require presidential electors to vote the way that state law directs, are constitutional. Although both cases involve the same issue, they were argued separately because Justice Sonia Sotomayor is recused from the Colorado case.

It'll be a wild ride with an unpredictable high court!

SCA 6 (Dodd): Gambling Sports Wagering.  Yesterday, I wrote that most of the tribes with gaming continue to be opposed to SCA 6 even with amendments aimed to bring them on board. I am told that many small cardrooms are also not happy with the amendments, as it would limit their growth. The bill is on the Senate Appropriations Suspense File and will be considered tomorrow.

Also in Senate Appropriations tomorrow at 9am are ACA 5 (Weber - affirmative action) and ACA 6 (McCarty - restoring voting rights to those on parole), both of which are expected to pass.

On ACA 6, Laurel Rosenhall and Adria Watson report on Estaban Núñez's lobbying to restore the right to vote for those on parole. Estaban is the son of former Speaker Fabian Núñez who now heads the Sacramento office of Mercury Public Affairs.

The 31-year-old son of Fabian Núñez, a former Democratic Assembly speaker, Esteban Núñez is well-known by insiders as the beneficiary of one of California’s most notorious acts of clemency. His father’s bipartisan friendship with then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger helped Núñez win early release after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in a 2008 knife fight that injured two men and killed Luis Santos, a 22-year-old college student. 

On Schwarzenegger’s last night in office in 2011, he announced cutting Núñez’s 16-year prison sentence to seven years, saying the term was excessive because Núñez did not inflict the fatal stab. Schwarzenegger later acknowledged he had also acted to help a friend. The Republican governor’s decision infuriated the victim’s parents and led the California Republican Party to formally rebuke Schwarzenegger for sending the wrong message “to potential criminals with connections to those in power.”   

The younger Núñez was released from prison in 2016 and is now a regular at the statehouse where, in tailored suits and sleek black hair, he resembles a taller version of his father. Soft-spoken and quick to acknowledge “the damage that I personally caused,” Núñez combines an inmate’s understanding of prison with a politician’s understanding of the Capitol. As a policy director for the criminal justice nonprofit program Cut50, Núñez is part of the tide pushing California’s penal system from tough-on-crime laws toward giving criminals a second chance.

His focus this year, as the pandemic replaced in-person lobbying with Zoom meetings: voting rights for Californians on parole, a period of government supervision for criminal offenders that typically lasts about three years. A measure asking voters to do that cleared the Assembly and faces final votes in the Senate this week — if approved, it will land on the November ballot. 

COVID-19: As further evidence that the rise in cases isn't simply a factor of more testing, Matt Kawahara reports for the Chron that hospitalizations have risen at a troubling rate.

The number of people hospitalized in California with confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached its highest point Saturday since the onset of the pandemic, according to state data reviewed by The Chronicle.

There were 3,574 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in state hospitals on Saturday, the highest total since at least April 1, when California health officials first began releasing that data. The previous high was 3,497 confirmed hospitalizations on April 29.

That number declined gradually over the following month to 2,928 on May 29. It has steadily risen again as many areas of the state have begun to lift stay-at-home measures and economic and social restrictions.

Saturday’s total marked a 22% increase in hospitalizations statewide since May 29. Hospital rates are viewed as a more reliable indicator of the virus’ trajectory than new infections — which have recently been rising — as they are not subject to availability of testing.

COVID-19 AND LATINOS: For the AP, a team (including Bryan Anderson, formerly of the SacBee) reports on the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on vulnerable Latino communities.

The virus has amplified inequalities many Latinos endure, including jobs that expose them to others, tight living conditions, lack of health insurance, mistrust of the medical system and a greater incidence of preexisting health conditions like diabetes. And many Latinos don’t have the luxury of sheltering at home.

“People simply cannot afford to stop working,” said Mauricio Calvo, executive director of the Latino Memphis advocacy group in Tennessee.

...

A growing body of evidence is forming around the virus’ toll on Latinos as researchers develop a more advanced data analysis about COVID-19 and race.

This disparity among Latinos is similar to a national trend in African American deaths. An Associated Press analysis has found black Americans make up 26% of the deaths in nearly 40 states that kept detailed death data, even though they comprise only 13% of the population.

FIREWORKS: If you're a SacTown resident and have been concerned about the nightly illegal fireworks including aerial shells fired by mortars (or have pets freaking out), you're not alone. There was a Twitter thread last night where people were reporting them from around the state and country. A Google News search confirms that.

I saw aerial shells akin to commercial shows when I was walking back from the Capitol Friday night, apparently coming from the Broadway and riverfront areas, which would be consistent with what people have reported on the often crazy Nextdoor.com site. At least the folks claiming early on a few weeks ago that they were gunshots have simmered down.

There is speculation by some that, with most of the public fireworks shows for Fourth of July canceled, a gray market has emerged in which suppliers are offloading stock received earlier this year for the holiday. While my cursory research suggests that there is no short shelf life on the shells you are accustomed to seeing at your city's fireworks show, some distributors or import middlemen that received large shipments primarily from China (70% of professional grade fireworks) may be trying to keep cash flow coming in an otherwise miserable year of a largely canceled holiday. Add in theme parks, baseball games, and other events that would normally be having regular shows that have been canceled, and it's a disaster for the industry.

I am not accusing any specific individual industry of illegally selling off their fireworks, but what we've heard around California and country the last few weeks is not simply kids driving to Nevada or Mexico (leisure ground border crossings are still prohibited) and filling up the trunk.

Obviously, the two concerns are safety of untrained individuals handling professional fireworks and, more importantly in California, wildfires, particularly after a dry winter in NorCal.

In Sacramento, we're going to have a week near 100. Redding is forecast to be 107 today and Fresno 101. Fortunately, SoCal isn't expected to have similar heat this week, and across the state, the wind forecast is of minimal speed and mostly onshore winds rather than the dry north winds that have fueled the horrific fires of the last few years. Of course, that's this week, and we don't know what happens beyond that and just how many of these illegal fireworks are in circulation. All we know is that it's the worst that most of us can remember.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assembly member Richard Bloom, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Jeli Gavric, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Matt Wainwright!

Classifieds

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Offices available for sublease: Meridian Plaza

Between 1-3 offices are available for sublease in the Meridian Plaza office building, 1415 L Street, two blocks from the Capitol. The offices are approximately 150 SF each. Internet, gym, partially furnished (desk, chair, bookcases) are included. 24/7/365 key card access; floor-ceiling windows facing Sierras; professional offices. One year lease preferred. $1,500 per office. Contact Jane at admin@stoneadvocacy.com or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

Photos: 1 | 2 | 3

The McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

In addition to a well-respected JD, the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degrees. Both full-time students and those earning a professional degree while working succeed in the program. Our focus on the interconnections of law, policy, management, and leadership provides unique competencies for your success. Students gain a foundation in statutory interpretation and regulatory processes critical to governance. Learn at a beautiful campus three miles from the State Capitol:
go.mcgeorge.edu/publicpolicy or publicpolicy@pacific.edu.

Political Data Inc.
For 30 Years PDI has been California’s premier data vendor. Now, you can get live online trainings on the newest PDI software every week: