Around The Capitol

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  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice, on Prop. 20 (repeal of criminal justice reforms) on the November ballot (2020-07-16)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): California Teachers Association president E. Toby Boyd (2020-07-16)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): COVID-19 and the response of school district and political leaders (2020-07-16)
  • SDSU Health Policy Podcast (Gary Rotto and Carolina López Rivera): Richard Barrera, VP of the Board of Education for the San Diego Unified School District on the district's response to COVID-19 (2020-07-16)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Paul Mitchell on the Redistricting Commission (2020-07-06)
  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Los Angeles County supe Hilda Solis (2020-07-09)
  • Gimme Shelter (LAT's Liam Dillon and CalMatters's Matt Levin): Why California’s housing market isn’t tanking (2020-07-06)

The Nooner for Saturday, July 18, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    • the numbers
    • school daze
  • Cap-and-trade
  • The other AB 32 - private prisons
  • DialysisPalooza 2020
  • Ballot signatures
  • cakeday, farewell, and classifieds


Well, that was a quiet news Friday. 🙄 It was like a Whack-a-Mole news day...

Before lunch there was six hours of writing, the PPIC discussion with the three public higher education segment leaders, and then NewsomAtNoon. Let's hope the weekend is a bit quieter before we have our last week before we add the Legislature's sprint for the final month of the regular session. 

If you missed the PPIC online event with UC President Janet Napolitano, CSU Chancellor Tim White, and California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz-Oakley moderated by PPIC president and CEO Mark Baldassare, it is available online. While after twenty years in the policy area I am just a casual onlooker now, I very much enjoyed the panel. They discussed how the systems are preparing to serve students primarily by distance this fall, how this may change higher education delivery permanently, the particular challenges with students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those currently unhoused, DACA, budget cuts and affordability, and more.

Let's get to it after the jump. During yesterday's PPIC event, CSU Chancellor White recognized Cal State LA for its position as number one in the nation for upward mobility, yielding the greatest measurable increases in earning power among American colleges and universities. I've been happy to carry their message for the last few years. Access. Success. Equity. The trifecta of higher education and the passion of my career.


The numbers: The state added 123 deaths yesterday, of which 62 (50.4%) were in Los Angeles County.

LA County: "There are 2,122 confirmed cases of COVID-19 currently hospitalized, 26% of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU and 18% are confirmed cases on ventilators. Data continues to show younger people between the ages of 18 and 40 years old are being hospitalized at a higher rate than seen at any point in this pandemic."

School daze: Obviously, the news of the day was Governor Newsom's announcement of school reopening guidelines and undoubtedly yesterday's NewsomAtNoon press conference was one of the most watched among parents around the state. It radically shifts plans for many districts laid out over the last couple of weeks, although the state's largest districts were mostly already on the same track.

It technically is a guidance for county health officers to implement as public health orders. However, Governor Newsom has reiterated several times that the 2020-21 State Budget has $2.5 billion in it for local governments that will be withheld if local governments do not follow state guidance.

The guidance applies to both public and private elementary and secondary schools. During yesterday's presser, Newsom said that guidance for higher education will be released soon and is being finalized.

Some of the more problematic issues being sorted out for higher ed is how certain classes that require in-person practicums, such as in health occupations at all three segments, can be provided. During the PPIC event yesterday, CSU Chancellor White stated that CSU currently has approved 6.4% of its classes to be allowed in-person, particularly in programs such as nursing. There is the other sticky issue of college athletics as plans have not been finalized for the fall.

The California Interscholastic Federation coordinating high school sports is expected to announce Monday morning that fall sports will be moved to January along with a shifting of winter/spring sports.

The guidance announced yesterday by Governor Newsom follow the same division of counties on the state's watch list and those that are not, tying school requirements to the county metrics of case rate/positivity rate, increase in hospitalizations, and limited hospital capacity.

There are currently 32 counties on the state's watch list:

Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Yolo, Yuba, and Ventura.

A county lands on the list when an indicator is above the established monitoring threshold for three consecutive days. A county can be similarly removed if all indicators fall below the monitoring threshold.

  • For public and private K-12 schools in the counties listed above, in-person classes and activities may not take place while the county remains on the list. Rigorous distance learning including ensuring every student has a device and connectivity, daily live interaction between teachers and students and between students and students, challenging assignments that are equivalent to those in person, and targeted supports and interventions for English language learners and special needs students.
  • For public and private K-12 schools not in the counties above, in-person classes and activities may take place with specific precautions including masking, distancing, sanitation (including both physical space and hand washing), training, staff testing (based on local conditions and capacity), and monitoring.

    Activities where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets such as band and choir practice and performances are not permitted.

    Individual schools or entire districts can be required to move to no in-person classes if specified percentages of students are positive, even if they are not included in the county monitoring list. 

I'm not going to try to write out the entire guidance in this space as I would inevitably miss something, but you can read the full 19-page guidance here. The governor has several summary slides in his presentation at yesterday's presser, but again, there are lots of details in the full guidance.

The governor reiterated several times that $5.8 billion has been distributed to school districts for procurement of equipment and supplies for students and staff and that two months of personal protective equipment has been distributed and more, including age-appropriately sized masks, is on the way.

Additional federal funding may be coming for schools in the current bill being crafted in Washington that also includes extension of the supplemental unemployment benefit and small business assistance.

Here are some of the articles topline and from around the state on Governor Newsom's announcement:

CAP-AND-TRADE: Yesterday, Eastern District of California Senior Judge William B. Schubb sided with California in its dispute with the Trump Administration over the state's cap-and-trade program, specifically its alignment with Quebec's similar program. The state's cap-and-trade program was created as part of AB 32 (2006), which was carried by former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and was a priority of former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Trump Administration asserted that the state's agreement with Quebec offended the U.S. Constitution's Article I, Section 10 Treaty and Compact Clause, which in part prohibits states from entering any "treaty, alliance, or confederation" nor "enter into any agreement or compact ... with a foreign power." The federal government also alleged that the California-Quebec agreement violated the Foreign Affairs Doctrine that has emerged over time by reading through the lines of Article I and Article II powers reserved for the federal government and limitations on the states.

Procedurally, the federal government filed for summary judgment (after losing a injunctive motions in the spring) and California filed a cross-motion for summary judgment

In his ruling, Schubb wrote:

The United States has failed to demonstrate that the power to do so has been substantially circumscribed or compromised by California’s cap-and-trade program. As California recognizes, a future [federal] treaty would have “appropriate preemptive effect over inconsistent state laws.” ... But in the interim, hypothetical or speculative fears cannot support a finding that this state program has more than an incidental effect on foreign affairs.

The United States has failed to show that California’s program impermissibly intrudes on the federal government’s foreign affairs power.  Because the court must find both that a state law has exceeded a traditional state responsibility and intrudes on the federal government’s foreign affairs power to be preempted, Movsesian, 670 F.3d at 1074, the court will grant defendants’ motions for summary judgment on plaintiff’s field preemption claim.

In response to the ruling Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted:

A huge victory in an unwarranted and vindictive lawsuit against California.

#COVID19 is not the only unprecedented challenge and crisis we’re facing right now -- we cannot afford to waver in our efforts to fight the existential threat of climate change.

Kind of a cool case for ConLaw geeks. It is unclear whether the Trump Administration will appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which probably wouldn't get to the case before the November election and likely would uphold. Obviously, there's no way it would make it to the Supreme Court before November.

THE OTHER AB 32 -- PRIVATE PRISONS: In a virtual hearing on Thursday, federal Southern District of California Judge Janis Sammartino consolidated the lawsuit filed by Florida-based private prisoner contractor GEO Group with a similar one filed by the federal government and signaled that she was unlikely to rule in the plaintiffs' favor. The suits were filed in response to AB 32 (Bonta), which law bars the renewal of state detention facility contracts with for-profit operators, including private immigration detention facilities operated by GEO Group and Tennessee-based CoreCivic, and requires all such contracts to end by January 1, 2028. It further prohibits, with exceptions, the operation of a private detention facility within the state.

Bianca Bruno reports for Courthouse News Service:

At the outset of the court hearing, Sammartino read her tentative order indicating she was unlikely to find AB 32 unfairly discriminates against the federal government or its contractors, though she did note the law was likely preempted regarding privately run facilities for the U.S. Marshals Service.

DIALYSISPALOOZA 2020: The two large private dialysis clinic providers are in with a downpayment for this year's fight against SEIU-UHW's latest ballot measure, Proposition 23, which would increase state regulation over clinics (although doesn't cap profits like the failed 2018 measure). In a report filed yesterday, DaVita is in with $19,585,682.73 and Fresenius antes $8,579,474.73. I'm trying to make sense of how they apportion the amounts each kicks in. That's 69.54% for DaVita and 30.46% for Fresenius.

How do they both end with 73 cents? Is that some sort of dialysis good luck charm?

BALLOT SIGNATURES: For the Chron, John Wildermuth writes about the challenge of signature matching the approaching an all-mail election:

More than 14,000 mail ballots were rejected in the March 3 primary because the signature on the vote-by-mail envelope didn’t match the one on the voter registration card. Thousands more were counted only after voters were required to provide a new signature for scrutiny.

For voters in their 60s, the signature they put on that ballot envelope might be compared to the one they signed when they registered to vote at age 18. For younger voters, that comparison could be with an electronic signature they never really use, having replaced it in day-to-day transactions with a squiggle on a touch pad or just the tap of a phone or an Apple watch.


A Stanford Law School case study on signature verification and mail ballots, released in May, found that procedures for checking signatures vary from county to county. While state law bars a ballot from being rejected for mismatched signatures without an election official signing off, counties come to that final decision in different ways.

“There’s no set standard,” said Tom Westphal, a lead author of the study. “Each county has developed their own protocols.”

The secretary of state’s office is “in the process of creating updated regulations on signature verification,” a spokesman said, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Several years ago, I was taking out cash at the bank for a Vegas trip (those were the days when I had money), and the teller challenged my signature. I told her that I opened the account 25 years ago. Hell, even the bank's name had changed a few times...

Each election, I check online to see if my ballot has been counted after my primary 2016 ballot was not.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Dolores Duran-Flores, Catherine Hazelton, Eric Jaye, and Anu Natarajan!

FAREWELL: Rep. John Lewis (1940-2020) and Rev. C.T. Vivian (1924-2020).

Amazing Grace.


Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing, with a headline, a summary of up to 200 words, and what you'd like the end date to be. You can attach a PDF or provide a link for a bigger job description/info to apply. [Other advertising options]

Between 1-3 unfurnished offices are available for sublease in the Wells Fargo office building, 400 Capital Mall Sacramento, CA 95814. The offices are approximately 12’X10’ each. Internet, gym. 24/7/365 key card access; professional offices. One year lease preferred. $1,500 per office. Contact Tricia Horan at or 415-919-7990 with questions.
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 or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

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