Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS:

  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Governor Newsom’s Executive Secretary, (aka chief of staff) Jim Deboo. (2021-06-07)
  • The Times Podcast (Gustavo Arellano @ LAT): Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) (2021-06-07)
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senate Leader Toni G. Atkins, and a 'Joyful' Pride (2021-06-04)
  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Senator Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) (2021-06-04)

CLASSIFIEDS BELOW:

  • CCST Expert Briefing: Toward a Disaster Resilient California: Responding to Wildfires amid Compounding Disasters (May 8)
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law

ATCpro UPDATES:

The Nooner for Monday, June 7, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

¡Buenos días y feliz lunes! Hope you had a great weekend. Fortunately, my shoulder is feeling better today and I actually got some sleep last night.

THE WEEKEND IN THE NOONER:

Saturday, June 5

Sunday, June 6

DO YOU RECALL?

  • DEADLINES: Tomorrow is the deadline for voters who signed petitions to withdraw their signatures, although indications are that not many signees did. County elections officials then have ten days to report the number of withdrawals to the Secretary of State's Office. The next step are fiscal analysis of the cost of the special election. While the Department of Finance has 30 days to consult with county elections officials, lots of that analysis has been done and may be included in the Legislature's budget, which is due to by June 15. 

    The actual election will be set by Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis between 60 and 80 days after the fiscal analysis is complete. That's in the state Constitution (Article II, Section 15) and thus can't be changed by the Legislature.
  • TIMELINE: For CalMatters, Laurel Rosenhall looks at the timing of a recall election.

    The range of probable dates is shaping up as a Tuesday between mid-September and early November — with signs pointing to the likelihood of an election sooner rather than later. 

    One reason for the confusion is because the procedure leading up to a recall election involves a few steps that could take as much as three months or as little as a few days, depending on how the officials involved decide to roll things out. 

    “These processes that are remaining now are totally in the hands of Democrats. If they want to truncate it, they can truncate it. And in my estimation they should,” said Garry South, a Democratic political consultant who managed campaigns for Gray Davis, the only California governor to be recalled. 

    “Let’s get this thing over with.”

  • CTA: In The Bee, Sophia Bollag reports on the vote by the California Teachers Association to aggressively defend Governor Newsom in the recall election:

    California’s largest teachers union voted Saturday to throw its weight behind Gov. Gavin Newsom, pledging to defend the Democratic governor in an upcoming recall election.

    “California educators stand in strong opposition to the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom,” union president E. Toby Boyd wrote in a statement. “From our classroom vantage point during the pandemic, we didn’t always agree on approach, but we’ve never questioned his commitment to California’s students and public education.”

    In his statement, Boyd credited Newsom for driving down California’s COVID-19 rates with the state’s vaccination efforts. Boyd also praised the governor for brokering legislation that increased regulation of charter schools and for his budget proposal to create a new transitional kindergarten grade in California public schools.

  • JENNER: The Politico California Playbook team of Carla Marinucci and Jeremy B. White looks at who is advising gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner.

    Republican gubernatorial Caitlyn Jenner repeatedly insisted Friday that former state GOP chair Jim Brulte serves as a key adviser to her campaign — an assertion Brulte himself denies. “I met her once,’’ Brulte told POLITICO in an interview.

    But Jenner named Brulte repeatedly as she sat for her first in-depth TV interview with a state reporter Friday on Fox11’s “The Issue is..” — where host Elex Michaelson asked her to detail who exactly is advising her gubernatorial run.

    “Well, yes actually [we have] quite a big few names,’’ Jenner said, adding that she has surrounded herself with “the best minds out there.” She cited Brad Parscale, the former Trump campaign guru, whom she called the head of her campaign, and former CA strategist Ryan Irwin. And “Jim Brulte , who’s been involved in government, he’s on board,’’ she said of the former state Senate minority leader. She also cited “Lee Ohanian at Hoover, he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met.”

  • CONFLICT? For the LAT, Phil Willon writes that the judge that gave recall proponents an extension because of the pandemic and the attorney who argued the case are former law partners.

    The Sacramento County Superior Court judge whose ruling in November was pivotal to the recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom, providing supporters extra time to gather the necessary petition signatures to trigger a special election, was once a law partner with the attorney hired by the effort’s proponents to plead their case.

    Judge James P. Arguelles and Bradley Benbrook were attorneys at the Sacramento law firm of Stevens, O’Connell & Jacobs before 2010 and, according to federal court records, the two served as co-counsel on at least two cases.

    Sacramento retiree Howard Herships, who opposes the campaign to recall Newsom, said he raised the issue last month in a complaint against the judge filed with the Commission on Judicial Performance, the state agency that investigates allegations of judicial misconduct.

    Herships, 77, said that he considered the work relationship to be a conflict of interest for the judge and that he should not have heard the case.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at the recent decision by the state Supreme Court to look into the application of capital punishment in California.

... the state Supreme Court once again faces the issue in the form of a challenge to how juries decide whether convicted killers should be sentenced to death. Last week, the court heard oral arguments over whether juries should be required to use the same “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in penalty decisions as they must use in convictions.

Were the court to impose the requested standard, it probably would be a de facto moratorium on executions even though California’s death penalty would remain in law.

Once, not too many years ago, contests for governor and other high offices could hinge on the issue. In 1986, three state Supreme Court justices were ousted because they were deemed to be anti-death penalty.

However, polls indicate that California voters’ support for capital punishment, last expressed in 2016, is slowly diminishing.

California has not had an execution since 2006 and whether by gubernatorial decree or judicial decision, it may be the last one — at least until and unless cultural tides shift again.

SIN AGUA: The Guardian's Gabrielle Canon reports on the return of drought conditions in California.

Just two years after California celebrated the end of its last devastating drought, the state is facing another one. Snowpack has dwindled to nearly nothing, the state’s 1,500 reservoirs are at only 50% of their average levels, and federal and local agencies have begun to issue water restrictions.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a drought emergency in 41 of the state’s 58 counties. Meanwhile, temperatures are surging as the region braces for what is expected to be another record-breaking fire season, and scientists are sounding the alarm about the state’s readiness.

“What we are seeing right now is very severe, dry conditions and in some cases and some parts of the west, the lowest in-flows to reservoirs on record,” says Roger Pulwarty, a senior scientist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) physical sciences laboratory, adding that, while the system is designed to withstand dry periods, “a lot of the slack in our system has already been used up”.

GUNS, GUNS, GUNS: Responding to federal Judge Roger Benitez's ruling late Friday throwing out the state's 32-year-old statute limiting purchase and possession of assault rifles, LAT's George Skelton asks whether federal judges should receive lifetime appointments.

The U.S. district judge began his 94-page ruling sanctioning the AR-15 assault rifle for home and militia use by equating it with a Swiss Army knife.
Yes, you read that correctly.

And it’s all you need to know about the quality of the judge’s tortured opinion — even if it is ultimately upheld, heaven forbid, by the conservative U.S. Supreme Court.

But come on, that couldn’t actually happen. Right?

We’ll probably find out.

...

Perhaps federal judges shouldn’t be given lifetime appointments. Like state judges, maybe they need to periodically face the voters — most of whom know the difference between a knife and a gun.

AAPI VIOLENCE: For CalMatters, Mallika Seshadri looks at the Stop AAPI coalition tracking incidents of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Later that summer, with incidents on the rise, [Richard] Lim decided to do something. He became a volunteer with Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition based in California that has recorded nearly 7,000 hate incidents involving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide since the beginning of the pandemic and created reports based on their findings. Despite being a small volunteer organization, the group has in just over a year become a leading source for tracking incidents of hate in the country, and its work has been cited by dozens of media outlets including The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles TimesKQEDMSNBC and NBC News

“Collecting the data and reporting on the data and getting in front of the media and other folks was really important,” state Senator Richard Pan, who chairs the California Legislature’s Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, said of the coalition’s work. “Without that collaboration, without that effort, I’m sure we would have individual stories, but they would not have highlighted this challenge that we’re seeing.”

Volunteers like Lim say Stop AAPI Hate’s impact has extended beyond publishing reports. 

“We’ve grown to be more than just a data collection center,” Lim said. “We’ve become a foundation for grounding a movement.”

KAMALA IN GUATEMALA: NPR's Tamara Keith is in Guatemala to cover VP Kamala Harris's first international trip since being elected to the post and is tweeting about the trip. She tweeted this morning:

A beautiful morning here in Guatemala, City. VPOTUS will meet this AM with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei at the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura in Guatemala City. Corruption, rule of law, economic development and COVID vaccines are all on the agenda.

After Guatemala, Harris heads to Mexico with her continued look at the refugee crisis.

COVID-19 after the jump...

COVID-19: California reported 72 deaths yesterday for a total of 62,732 since the pandemic began.

-vaccines:

  • vaccine doses administered in California: 38,429,927
  • vaccine doses delivered to California: 46,847,390
  • Californians fully vaccinated: 17,947,342 (52.9% of 12+) 

-variants: The Chron's Erin Allday looks at how scientists are looking out for new variants in California.

 ...sequencing has exploded since January in California. It jumped sixfold in California in April alone, when nearly 20,000 genomic sequences from the state were deposited in a global database — more than from all but four countries. Across the U.S., sequencing increased more than fourfold in May from January.

California is now sequencing up to 10% of all coronavirus cases, a huge improvement from less than 0.5% at the start of the year. That means the state is now, finally, doing enough sequencing that infectious disease experts say they have a good grasp of the types of variants spreading here, and they are confident that scientists will be able to spot any new mutations quickly.

-transmission: For the Chron, Kellie Hwang writes that California is one of only two states with the lowest transmission rate.

California continues to help set the pace for U.S. COVID-19 recovery, now ranked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of just two states at the lowest level of coronavirus community transmission.

In fact, according to the CDC’s four-level color-coded system, California’s transmission metrics were the lowest out of all 50 states as of Saturday.

The CDC determines the level of community transmission based on the number of cases in the last seven days per population of 100,000, and the number of tests in the last seven days that yield a positive result.

...

Data collected by the federal agency showed California had 7.8 cases per 100,000 people in the previous seven days, and a seven-day positive test rate of lower than 3%.

...

The other state joining California in the blue transmission tier was Vermont, with 9.9 total new cases per 100,000 in the past seven days, and a seven-day positive test rate of less than 3%.

-workplaces: In The Bee, Jeong Park looks at what workplaces will look like when California largely reopens on June 15.

California has new COVID workplace safety standards, but only after weeks of delay, nine-plus hours of discussion and multiple votes.

Here is what to know about the updated standards from the standards board of the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly called Cal-OSHA. They are scheduled to go into effect around June 15 pending administrative approval.

...

If you’re working indoors, yes, you have to wear a mask. But there is one significant exception: You don’t have to wear a mask if everyone in a room is fully vaccinated and doesn’t have COVID-19 symptoms.

...

Social distancing is required if you work inside or at mega outdoor events (Defined as having 10,000 or more participants or spectators). However, the requirement ends July 31.

After that, social distancing is not required, except during outbreaks.

In mixed groups, masks would still be required, but businesses would not have to impose social distancing if they provide N95 masks for the unvaccinated to use voluntarily.

-school daze: For EdSource, Sydney Johnson looks at the debate over allowing distance learning in California this fall.

While parents and state officials are pushing to fully reopen campuses this fall, some families are fearful of sending their kids back into classrooms too soon. But options for distance learning this fall are unclear across the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he expects schools to fully reopen after the distance learning statute expires on June 30 and that students who want to continue with remote learning can pursue existing independent study plans. But some are critical of independent study. Although schools receive funding for students in independent study, some say the model has been used to push low-achieving students out of schools and lack accountability over academic experiences and outcomes for students.

Now, some parents, education and civil rights advocacy groups are urging Newsom to extend and strengthen the 2020-21 distance learning provisions for the upcoming school year.

“Pandemic recovery isn’t happening in a uniform way. There’s a much larger impact on low-income communities, and we want to make sure they have high-quality distance learning opportunities if they need it,” said Victor Leung, director of education equity at the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. “We have had lots of folks in independent study (pre-pandemic), and it hasn’t provided high-quality instruction. It’s seen as a way to push students out of school.”

cakedays and classifieds after the jump...

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Craig Cheslog, Faith Conley, Kathrina Gregana, Faith Pulido, Melanie Ramil, Art Rodriguez, and Scott Shafer!

Classifieds

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CCST Expert Briefing: Toward a Disaster Resilient California: Responding to Wildfires amid Compounding Disasters

Join the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) on Tuesday, June 8th from 12:00pm-1:00pm for our latest Virtual CCST Expert Briefing: Responding to Wildfires amid Compounding Disasters. A panel of experts from UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, and FEMA will discuss how compounding disasters, like COVID-19 and extreme heat, affect wildfire response in California. RSVP

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 skills in public policy making and implementation. Learn at a beautiful campus three miles from the State Capitol:
go.mcgeorge.edu/publicpolicy

McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

Built on the foundation of nationally ranked and world class programs, McGeorge School of Law offers an online master (MSL) degree for individuals seeking in depth knowledge of law and policy, but who do not require a traditional law degree. Our MSL’s two concentrations in Government Law & Policy and in Water & Environmental Law offer students the flexibility to work while they learn and still engage in a highly interactive master’s program. To learn more and to sign up for our monthly webinars, please visit our website, Online.McGeorge.edu, or contact us at graduatelaw@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: