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GENERAL ELECTION DATA POINTS
MONEY MATTERS: (highlights from daily campaign reports)
I am generally only including main committees. I try to exclude feeder committee that gather money before sending it to a the main committee, which would lead to duplication. However, it's impossible to know. Generally, I am including daily reports at or above $100,000.
The Nooner for Tuesday, September 1, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy March 184th! Wake me up when September ends. As you'll read below, it was a very short night here at Nooner Global HQ and I'm still trying to reconstruct the night through hundreds of tweets by me and others.
-The numbers: 83 more Californians lost their lives to COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total to 13,018.
-The reopening: Here is the new state page which is searchable by county and industry on what and when can reopen.
- Wildfires: Here are the stats on the biggest fires (source: CalFire).
LEGISLATURE - IT'S A WRAP: After the dramatic close to last year's legislative action, most of us weren't expecting much drama last night. Sure, there were some hearty bills up, but wth both sessions starting at 10am, they had 14 hours to get through business.
The Assembly, however, gaveled down at 1:24am with the Senate following 5 minutes later.
How did we get there?
Things seemed to start out okay. Of course, on the final night, the Legislature rarely starts with the meatiest bills. However, into the evening the tensions became clear with the ten Republicans participating remotely frustrated about the communications system and being "required" to isolate. Only Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Red Bluff) was present in the chamber, as he wasn't at the Republican Caucus meeting with the others. Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) tested positive after the meeting, and the eight others went into isolation.
Of those participating remotely, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) and Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) showed the most frustration, and I hate writing that because they are two of the three women in the caucus. But, if you watch the video (not available yet as 15.5 hours s a lot of encoding for Leg Data Center to do, but it will be here), you will likely agree with me.
Things started getting testy at around 4pm when Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez's (D-San Diego) AB 2557 to add exemptions to her controversial AB 5 from last year was being considered. Senate Republicans had prepared 9 sets of amendments. Each one was presented with a lengthy argument by the proponent of the amendment. As is typical, Hertzberg made a motion to lay it on the table. After the first one was voted down on a party-line vote, the presiding officer asked it the prior roll call could be substituted, a frequently used time-saving mechanism when the vote is known. A member of the GOP objected each time asking for a roll call.
For the homegamers, mirroring Congress, the Assembly votes electronically while the Senate votes by roll call. That slows things down, particularly with the remote voting.
At around 6pm with 6 hours left to approve non-urgency bills, Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) made a motion to limit debate to two Senators each for support and oppose. While that's common in committee hearings with the ability of others to state there position in what is called "me too" testimony, it hasn't been common on the floor. Rather, time limits have been imposed on each member's comments.
Not surprisingly, the motion passed on party-lines. Grove vociferously objected and demanded to know where such restraints on member comments were allowed under the rules. Democratic leadership huddled and it was announced that it was allowed under the rules and procedural challenges were governed by Mason's Rules of Parliamentary Procedure, the book the Legislature uses.
Upon this announcement, Melendez yelled audibly on her open Zoom mic "This is bullshit" for all to hear. There was some debate of whether it was Melendez or Grove, since Grove had been the one challenging the procedure, but Melendez doubled-down with a tweet.
Apparently, at that point, the ten GOP members participating remotely (Jones was on and off, which he has been for the last few days as he recovers) apparently were switched from open mics to moderated, requiring members to "raise their hand" on Zoom and have their mic unmuted from the chamber.
Shortly thereafter, a "quick recess" was announced from the rostrum. A quick recess in the Legislature has the veracity of "my good friend from the XXth Senate District" before quickly denouncing that "friend's" legislation. The quick recess took nearly an hour.
During the recess, Grove started a Facebook Live. The recording has since been deleted, but during it she loudly proclaimed her anger and pledged to provide commentary throughout the remainder of the session. About 15 minutes in, her phone rang and she said she'd be back after the phone call.
The phone call apparently was from the office of the Pro Tem, or Pro Tem Atkins herself.
After the near hourlong recess, the chamber came back into order and Atkins took the microphone. She announced that she had met with Grove and that they had agreed on a "reset" to get the work of the people done by the midnight deadline. Grove, from her remote location, also spoke and talked about the good relationship she has with the Pro Tem. Grove replaced the Facebook Live with a post:
This was about 8:40 and people exhaled and looked forward to getting as much done before the midnight deadline.
Things went fairly smoothly although tensions began to emerge between the two houses about when bills were being taken up and how fast they were "transmitted" to the last house needing to vote before midnight.
The major bills left at this point were some budget bills, policing and juries, plastics, and housing. Oh, just little issues.
At 11:05pm, the Senate passed the controversial AB 3070 (Weber) to allow objections during voir dire (seating a jury) when it appears that a peremptory challenge was based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or religious affiliation. After being placed "on call" (authors/floor managers seeking additional votes either by twisting arms or finding absent members), the bill passed 21-16. When the "floor jockey" who carried the bill in the house opposite of introduction requested "immediate transmittal to the Assembly" as it needed to return for a concurrence vote in Senate amendments, the often ministerial request was denied.
It was a clear moment of tensions between the houses. Most of us speculated it was over SB 1120, the centerpiece of Pro Tem Atkins's housing package, which had not been taken up in the Assembly by then.
SB 1120 was taken up by the Assembly at 11:30pm. However, there were many speakers and time limits weren't being imposed on them. The initial vote came up short, but at around 11:57pm, there were the necessary 41 votes, but we all knew that there was no way that it would be transmitted to the Senate in time for the necessary vote to concur on amendments taken in the Assembly before it could go to the governor.
Meanwhile, the Senate was debating SB 1064 (Skinner), a controversial measure to impose the same limitations of using confidential informants in state prisons for discipline or parole decisions as is required for local law enforcement, such as the veracity of the information or multiple informants. The bill was back for a concurrence vote and some believe the Assembly slowed it down and the time was running out even though it was clear the majority vote had the requisite 21 votes for approval.
The vote began at 11:59pm but because of the lengthy vote count particularly with remote voting, the roll was closed after midnight with a 26-9 vote, with 5 members not voting. The presiding officer at the time, Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), announced the bill was approved and would be sent to Governor Newsom.
However, in the middle of the vote Republican Leader Grove objected, noting that it was after midnight. McGuire replied that they were in the middle of roll calls, when points of order are not accepted and her objection would be addressed when the roll was closed. After the vote was done around 12:02, the point of order was entertained. McGuire stated that the vote was opened before midnight as per custom, that is the timestamp. Grove challenged that and was backed up by other members of the caucus.
After Grove said they had screenshots of the vote starting after midnight, McGuire and Senate staff "reviewed the tapes" and said that they were moving on to other business, as they had two urgency bills and a "tax levy," a small business tax cut, which could be considered after midnight under Article IV, Section 10(c) of the California Constitution. They continued until 1:29am, approving the bills, and allowing Pro Tem Atkins to offer the customary end-of-session thank yous to staff and members.
That's a totally abridged version after three hours of sleep and I'm sure I will think of more to share in upcoming days.
The above may sound harsh on Senators Grove and Melendez. They have a right to be frustrated or even angry. They are in a mandatory 14-day quarantine although have tested negative for COVID-19. There were technical problems. Muting and unmuting has been a frequent issue (as it is on many Zoom meetings). It's all just part of the story of yet another crazy last night of session.
Here are the results on some of the most watched bills last night:
In the votes, they are AYES-NAYS-ABSTENTIONS. To see the votes, click on the bill number and click votes tab.
That's just a few, but I am out of time!
SB 793 (Hill): Flavored tobacco products. A referendum on the measure signed by Governor Newsom on Saturday was filed yesterday. If 623,212 valid signatures are collected by September 10, the bill would be on hold until a vote at the November 8, 2022 general election.
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Dan Bernal and Heather deNecochea!