Around The Capitol

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  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) (2021-05-29)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): Thomas Wong, president of the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District on water and politics (2021-05-27)
  • California State of Mind (CapRadio): U.S. Senator Alex Padilla on immigration and clean energy (2021-05-24) 
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Gloria Sandoval, Deputy Director of Public Affairs for State Parks (2021-05-23)
  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Political consultant Bill Wong on anti-Asian violence (2021-05-21)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): GOP consultant Liz Mair on the Newsom and Walker Recalls and Why Devin Nunes is Suing Her (2021-05-20)


  • Solano County Board of Education Seeks Experienced Consulting Firm for Redistricting Services
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law

The Nooner for Monday, May 31, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners


Well, hello there. It's another very quiet news day, so I'll be brief. It's going to be a busy week beginning tomorrow in the Legislature as Friday is the deadline for bills to be passed from their house of origin. Chris Micheli breaks down the numbers of the 543 bills on the two floors:

Senate meets Tuesday at 12 noon

  • Second Reading – 7
  • Third Reading – 169
  • Consent – 90
  • Total measures remaining: 266
  • 18 bills on Inactive File 

Assembly meets Tuesday at 1pm

  • Third Reading – 274
  • Consent – 3
  • Total measures remaining: 277
  • 2 bills in Inactive File 

Tomorrowupon adjournment of session, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review will consider the Senate Budget plan. Assembly Budget follows Wednesday, also upon adjournment of session.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: In the Chron, legal eagle Bob Egelko reports that the Supreme Court of California will on Wednesday consider a case challenging the state's application of the death penalty.

The California Supreme Court, which rarely overturns death penalty verdicts these days, takes up an issue Wednesday that could lead to reversals of hundreds of the state’s pending death sentences and perhaps all 704 of them.

In an appeal by a Los Angeles man sentenced to death for two gang-related murders in 2004, the justices have taken the rare step of asking both sides, and other interested parties, to file arguments on a question raised by the defense: Whether procedures in California capital cases have allowed prosecutors to sidestep state laws requiring jurors to decide, by a unanimous vote, that the evidence supports a death sentence.

In response, Gov. Gavin Newsom, who declared a moratorium on executions after taking office in 2019, became the first California chief executive to file arguments challenging the state’s application of the death penalty. Several district attorneys, including those in San Francisco and Los Angeles, have filed similar briefs, opposing the views of most county prosecutors. Law professors and activists on both sides of the issue have also weighed in.

The ruling, due within 90 days, could shape the future of capital punishment in California, which narrowly survived repeal efforts at the ballot box in 2012 and 2016.

SPORTS BETTING: The Chron's Alexei Koseff looks at the sports betting fight shaping up for next November's election, which will be a boon to the political consultant community.

A push by Native American tribes to expand the types of gambling they can offer, including bringing the newly legal sports betting market to California, will go before voters next year, probably setting off another expensive electoral campaign in the long-running battle over gaming rights in the state.

The Secretary of State’s Office announced last week that a coalition of tribes had submitted enough signatures to qualify an initiative for the November 2022 ballot asking voters to allow their casinos and a handful of horse racing tracks to accept wagers on sporting events, as well as to authorize prohibited roulette and dice games at tribal casinos.

Tribal leaders who organized the initiative argue that Californians are already participating in illegal sports betting and that three decades of successful tribal gaming prove that they would be best equipped to bring this potentially lucrative industry out of the shadows. Taxes and other payments to the state could amount to tens of millions of dollars per year.

“Tribes have obviously demonstrated a great track record of regulating their operations, of contributing back to their communities, of contributing to the state,” said Jacob Mejia, a spokesperson for the campaign. “This is about giving Californians the choice to place wagers on their favorite teams or sporting events at locations that are already licensed and well regulated to offer this kind of gaming.”

But other gambling interests that stand to lose out financially are lining up against the measure, led by cardroom operators, who have clashed repeatedly with tribes over the scope of the games they offer.

HOUSING: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at Marin County's longstanding opposition to authorizing more housing.

For the past half-century, Marin’s very affluent residents and their politicians have waged a largely successful campaign, under the guise of environmental consciousness, to slow population growth to a trickle by allowing very little new housing to be built.

Between 1970, when anti-growth sentiment first appeared, and 2010, the county’s population grew by just 22.5% while California’s overall population expanded four times as fast, 89.3%. In the last decade, Marin’s population grew by just 8,000.

The county’s exclusionary attitude has made it a target for the state’s efforts to deal with a chronic lack of housing by ramping up construction. The state Department of Housing and Community Development’s quotas on local governments to plan for housing over the next eight years translate into 14,400 units for Marin, or enough for about 40,000 new residents, most with low to moderate incomes.

LAX: In the Times, Alex Wigglesworth reports that LAX hit a high number of passengers for 2021 on Friday.

Los Angeles International Airport broke a 2021 record for passenger traffic Friday, with more than 78,000 travelers going through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, the airport announced.

“That is by far and away the busiest that we have been in the last year-plus. It was notable,” said Heath Montgomery, a spokesman for LAX. “I think Sunday has a chance of setting another record. We’ll have to see.”

Memorial Day weekend, which marks the unofficial start of summer travel, is typically a busy one, airport officials said. This year, the holiday comes as the region continues to unwind coronavirus restrictions and many people are eager to get out again.

COVID-19: California reported 4 deaths yesterday for a total of 62,925 since the pandemic began.


  • vaccine doses administered in California: 37,437,314
  • vaccine doses delivered to California: 46,298,020
  • Californians fully vaccinated: 17,311,481 (51% of 16+)

In the Chron, Aidin Vaziri writes that while California's most northernmost counties escaped much of worst COVID-19 outbreaks last year, many are facing surges now with variants and vaccine hesitancy.

As the coronavirus pandemic wanes across California, a handful of counties along the northernmost edge of the state that were spared the worst of last year’s surge are now seeing an alarming rise in cases driven by the spread of variants and deep-rooted resistance to vaccines.

With the state’s June 15 target for reopening in view, that could be cause for concern.

“Right now, Shasta County is a red tier county in a sea of orange and yellow counties,” said Kerri Schuette, program manager of the county’s public health department, referring to California’s color-coded assessment of risk levels. “We still have a very high case rate.”

As of Friday, Shasta County reported a seven-day average of 9.1 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and a testing positivity rate of 3.7%, four times the statewide rate of 0.9%.

Fourteen people were hospitalized in the county with COVID, the most since March 3, Schuette said.

“Last summer we were worried about people coming in from other areas of the state with high case rates to enjoy our rivers, mountains and lakes,” she said. “At this point, our case rate is one of the highest in California.”

The numbers are even starker in neighboring Siskiyou County, which has an average of 10.4 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents over the past week and a testing positivity rate of 6.5%, according to state data. Out of the 27 coronavirus deaths reported in the county since the pandemic began more than a year ago, five have occurred since May 6.

Del Norte County, in California’s northwestern corner, also has an average of 10.4 new cases a day per 100,000 people, with a positivity rate of 2.4%. Both metrics are also far worse than the state averages in Humboldt County, just to the south of Del Norte, and Modoc County on the state’s northeastern border.

cakedays and classifieds after the jump...

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Alicia Berhow and Cortez Quinn!


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Solano County Board of Education Seeks Experienced Consulting Firm for Redistricting Services

Visit for requirements, deadline, and contact information.

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