Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS:

  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center on a variety of labor issues, including the ongoing uproar over at SEIU 1000 following the election of outsider candidate Richard Louis Brown and the latest fallout from Proposition 22. (2021-06-13)
  • California State of Mind (CapRadio): Reopening; state budget with guest reporters from CalMatters (2021-06-11)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Back in the studio, Scott and Marisa talk the assault weapons ban ruling, Kamala's trip to Guatemala and Mexico, and then are joined by SFDCC chair Honey Mahogeny. (2021-06-10) 
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): With Warren Olney, a discussion on race in the classroom and politics as well as the assault weapons ruling (2021-06-10) 
  • California State of Mind (Nigel Duara @ CalMatters): Former Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs on the expansion of universal basic income (2021-06-09)

CLASSIFIEDS BELOW:

  • Capitol Seminars’ Invaluable Lobbying 101 Course Offered Via Zoom (July 9)
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law

DISTRICT UPDATES:

  • CA45 (Anaheim Hills-Tustin-Irvine): added Nicholas Taurus (R) - challenge to Porter (D)

RECALL WATCH:

  • Rescue California-Recall Gavin Newsom reports:
    • $5,000 from Janet Levy (writer, Los Angeles)
    • $7,000 from The Lincoln Club of Orange County Issues PAC

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The Nooner for Tuesday, June 15, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

Nina Kapoor Oliveira

Nina Kapoor Oliveira
August 14, 1984 - June 11, 2021

As many of you know, we've lost a member of the greater Capitol community and I lost a friend. Although Nina Kapoor Oliveira had been gravely ill for a couple of weeks, she passed on Friday. A former Capitol staffer for Felipe Fuentes, Nina most recently coordinated legislative affairs in several states for the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas.

Nina is survived by her husband Jason, 9-month old son Sawyer, her mother, and her brother.

The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas has established a 529 College Savings Account for Sawyer.  They email:

If you would like to make a contribution you can visit any Edward Jones office with your donation, or mail a check payable to Edward Jones at the following address:

Edward Jones
Attn: Andy Cobb, Financial Advisor
707 Lamar Avenue, Suite A
Paris, TX 75460

For the Benefit of: Sawyer Singh Oliveira

Account number: 52022450 (include this number on your check, if mailing).

To my knowledge, no public service has been announced, and the family asks that their privacy be respected. However, I've talked to several of you about some sort of informal gathering either in the Capitol or at a local restaurant in her remembrance now that we are reopening.

There's a lot more I want to say about the friendship I developed with Nina as we traveled similarly difficult roads together. Our final conversation was about getting together after we were fully vaccinated so I could meet Sawyer. I've shed lots of tears over the last couple of weeks and for now I just want to remember that great smile that I last saw at her wedding.

ਅਮਨ ਅਤੇ ਪਿਆਰ
Love and Peace, dear Nina


Hello and happy Taco Tuesday! 🌮🌮🌮 Happy Freedom Day, although I know it is met with trepidation by many. Many local businesses are continuing with universal masking because the honor system is fallible and vaccines still aren't available to kids under 12. Masks continue to be required of everyone in the State Capitol.

While today would normally be a taco day, this week's heat calls for as little time over the stove as possible let alone going anywhere near the oven. While today's high of 92 around the Capitol is only batting practice for the next five days, I'm sticking with sous vide steak with only a quick sear and wild rice and veggies cooked (separately) in the Instant Pot. I've been successful and only turned my a/c on while I was cleaning my floors over the weekend.

On to the news. After a dearth over the weekend, I'm skimming the surface today. Obviously, most is about the reopening and you've undoubtedly already read articles by now of "What the Reopening Means in ." We'll check back on that in a couple of months.

BUDGET: As fully expected, the budget plan by legislative Democrats was approved on a party-line vote yesterday in AB 128. No trailer bills, which implement statutory changes to implement the budget, were taken up, and discussions with the Newsom Administration continues. However, the bare minimum constitutional requirement of Article IV, Section 12 has been met to keep paychecks and per diem flowing to lawmakers.

White, Marinucci, and Tzul frame it perfectly in the Politico California Playbook:

THE BUZZ: The state Legislature passed a budget yesterday. Now lawmakers will work to strike a budget deal.

If that sentence fell somewhere between confusing and paradoxical, here’s a little California budgeting refresher: legislators faced a constitutional deadline today to pass a deal or forego pay. Monday’s tension-free, party-line votes met that requirement while reminding Capitol-watchers of how far we’ve come from the caustic all-night budget battles of years past. But that doesn’t mean the fiscal infighting is finished.

Oh, how I miss those all-night battles. When else did you find out which lobbyist snores the loudest while awaiting action by Conference Committee (on a "ten-minute break") in Room 4203?

In the LAT, John Myers writes that the budget "deadline" doesn't work like voters may think.

The answer rests with the expectations set by Proposition 25, a 2010 ballot measure approved by voters in the aftermath of arguably the worst decade of governance in California history. In nine of those years, the state started the fiscal year on July 1 without a budget in place. In 2009, a bitter stalemate in the face of a large projected deficit forced officials to sell IOUs to cover the state government’s bills.

The most overdue budget in state history was enacted just three weeks before voters approved Proposition 25.

In doing so, they removed the most obvious impediment to timely passage of the budget: a constitutional provision from 1933 that required approval by a two-thirds vote in each legislative house. Over the decades, that meant at least a handful of Republican lawmakers had to sign on, even as bipartisanship faded in the 1990s and 2000s.

But previous efforts at allowing passage of a state budget on a simple majority vote had failed. And so supporters of the 2010 effort added a political sweetener to “hold legislators accountable for late budgets,” as a spokesperson for Proposition 25 said in one TV commercial. In that same advertisement, a slogan later flashed on the screen in bold, capital letters: “NO BUDGET, NO PAY.”

Lawmakers would forfeit all salary and expense payments for every day after June 15 that the budget wasn’t passed, using a long-standing constitutional deadline that had been routinely ignored.

If punctual budgets were the goal, Proposition 25 has worked.

...

But in some ways, the ballot measure that created a firm deadline for budget passage also made deadlines less meaningful.

In six of the 10 years since Proposition 25 took effect, including this year, legislators failed to finalize the budget by the June 15 deadline. Subsequent details were later passed through the use of budget “trailer bills,” a nickname meant to convey that each proposal is legally linked to the main spending plan.

But the link can sometimes be tenuous, with a trailer bill including a meager appropriation that counts as part of the budget.

“For good or for bad, the trailer bills end up making a number of policy changes that may or may not directly be a part of the budget itself,” said Chris Micheli, a longtime lobbyist.

If you were listening to the testimony during the hearing of AB 128 by Senate Budget and Fiscal Review yesterday, you heard lots of platitudes. However, in many cases, it was followed with a request that was left out of the legislative Democrats' budget with callers noting the continued discussions. 

Alexei Koseff looks at some of the sticking points for the Chron, which include both revenue projections and spending specifics:

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood (Los Angeles County), said discussions with the Newsom administration have been fruitful and he expected a deal soon, because “we’re on the same page on the broader thematic issues.”

“I don’t think there’s any philosophical differences, but there’s a lot of specific details that need to be worked out,” he said.

...

Newsom has proposed making undocumented immigrants age 60 or older eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for the poor, whereas lawmakers are pushing for an expansion to those who are 50 or older. The governor is seeking a multibillion-dollar extension of Homekey, his signature program to build new housing for homeless Californians through hotel and motel conversions, while the Legislature wants a portion of that money to be set aside for local governments to use on homelessness services at their discretion. And under Newsom’s plan, public health agencies would not receive a funding increase the legislators argue is necessary following a historic pandemic.

But perhaps the most significant distinction between their approaches is that legislative analysts project the state will bring in about $20 billion more in tax revenue over the next four years than the governor’s Department of Finance. The Newsom administration has urged caution, largely favoring one-time spending over new programs that might create obligations or face cuts in a future recession.

“The state’s recent revenue surge shouldn’t be assumed to be ongoing,” said H.D. Palmer, spokesperson for the Department of Finance. “Our concern is that we make sure this is a budget that is sustainable over the long term.”

For The Bee, Sophia Bollag and Hannah Wiley write:

[L]awmakers crafted their budget based on higher tax revenue estimates than Newsom used for his plan. The lawmakers’ budget adds more long-term spending in areas including public health, preschool and child care.

In contrast, Newsom’s plan uses more of a projected surplus — $75 billion by his administration’s calculations — for one-time spending instead of committing the state to higher costs moving forward.

Lawmakers also went further than Newsom in expanding state-funded health care for undocumented immigrants. Newsom proposed expanding eligibility for the state’s Medi-Cal program to undocumented people over age 60. The lawmakers’ budget drops that threshold to 50.

Both Newsom and lawmakers want to spend more on homeless housing, but their plans differ on how to exactly spend the money.

This will be interesting to see how it plays out. Legislative Democrats have the upper hand as, with the recall election pending, Governor Newsom needs a budget to sign before July 1. However, Newsom needs to avoid any political landmines in said budget. The biggest political hazard may be the expansion of Medi-Cal to undocumented Californians for seniors 50+. However, Newsom proposed 60+, so the politics really aren't really significantly different.

The other differences are highly technical and difficult to explain in a 30 second political ad. Are the additional revenues included in the Legislature's proposal ongoing as the LAO suggests or one-time, as forecasted by the Administration? We won't know until future budget years.

Governor Newsom released a statement following the passage of AB 128:

“...while we proudly embrace the California Comeback, this last year reminds us that we need to plan for the unexpected. We must maintain a strong fiscal foundation that does not overcommit the state to long-term spending it cannot afford, which could lead to future cuts.

Hint hint, he doesn't like the banking of new revenues as ongoing in the plan from legislative Democrats.

“I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership and am confident we will reach a budget agreement that reflects our shared values and keeps California on a sustainable path of recovery and growth. I look forward to working with legislative leaders to reach an agreement that will address California’s longstanding challenges to give every Californian family – regardless of their race or zip code – the opportunity to thrive.”

One possibility is a budget scaled back on new non-Prop. 98 ongoing expenditures and a "Budget Bill Jr." following the recall election, assuming he beats it. I would expect legislative Democrats would be willing to hold off on some of their most ambitious proposals until after the election, which they have no interest in Newsom losing.

DO YOU RECALL?

  • Faulconer: For CalMatters, Ben Christopher looks at the campaign of former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and asks whether he can avoid gimmicks.

    Kevin Faulconer is not the guy with the bear. 

    You’re thinking of John Cox, the mild-mannered Republican and unsuccessful 2018 gubernatorial candidate who spent much of May palling around the state with a 1,000-pound Kodiak named Tag, hoping to siphon off some of the bear’s starpower in his effort to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom in the all-but-certain recall election that could be as soon as September.  

    Faulconer is also not the Kardashian-adjacent, Olympian-turned-reality TV star whose campaign highlights include gabbing with Sean Hannity, selling merch and claiming, despite documented evidence, that she didn’t vote in the last election. That, of course, would be Caitlyn Jenner.

    Nor is he the get-rich-quick YouTube star who insists he is “not a stalker” (that’s a different Kevin — Kevin “Meet Kevin” Paffrath). Nor the pink Corvette-driving 1970s billboard model (Angelyne). Nor the porn star (Mary Carey). 

    No, Faulconer is the other one. 

    A Republican former mayor of San Diego, he governed that once Republican but now reliably blue coastal city as a pro-immigrant, climate-change-believing, bilingual urbanist. He touts endorsements from the traditional quarters of state GOP leadership.

    And he really wants you to take the recall election seriously.

    So far, Faulconer has tried to make waves in a way that almost seems quaint in 2021: by releasing policy proposals.  

REDISTRICTING: As we await final data from the U.S. Census Bureau, PPIC is out with a new interactive of how population has changed over the last ten years by region and demographics.

VACCINATIONS: (full data, including breakdown by group)

  • Californians fully vaccinated: 18,731215 (55.2%)
  • Californians partially vaccinated: 3,738,732 (11.0%)

UC VAX: In the Chron, Nanette Asimov reports that the University of California has reversed course and will require all faculty, staff, and students to be vaccinated this fall, whether or not the Food and Drug Administration moves one of the vaccines from Emergency Use Authorization to full approval.

[UC President Michael] Drake, a physician, expressed strong support in the spring for the vaccines.

“Receiving a vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19 is a key step people can take to protect themselves, their friends and family, and our campus communities while helping bring the pandemic to an end,” Drake said in April.

[UC Regent Eloy Ortiz] Oakley said the regents have not been briefed on the new decision but that more information is expected at their two-day meeting that starts July 21.

UC has more than 280,000 students and 227,000 faculty and staff, and expects to return to mostly in-person instruction at its 10 campuses this fall. Start dates vary throughout August and September.

UC has already said it would exempt students from the vaccination requirement if they have medical or religious reasons.

WORKPLACES: Yesterday, Governor Newsom said that he would issue an executive order to immediately implement the new workplace mask rules after they are adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board on Thursday. Without such action, there would be a ten-day wait for review by the Office of Administrative Law. Here is a FAQ from Cal/OSHA on the new regulations. Carolyn Said writes in the Chron:

Cal/OSHA has flipflopped quite a bit on workplace rules this month. Originally it passed regulations saying that vaccinated workers must remained masked if they were in a room with any unvaccinated colleagues.

That was contrary to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and California’s Department of Public Health. It would have meant that California’s June 15 reopening came with a gargantuan asterisk for workplaces that had to follow much stricter rules than everywhere else.

After outcry from businesses and government leaders, who wanted the state rules to be consistent, Cal/OSHA’s board rushed to meet last week. The agency then issued draft rules Friday that said vaccinated workers did not have to wear masks, aligning more closely with the guidance from federal and state health authorities.

Until Thursday, workplaces must still abide by rules Cal/OSHA passed in November before vaccines were available. Those rules require strict masking and social distancing in offices, factories, stores and other workplaces.

WILDFIRES: For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden looks at how the state is preparing for future more intense wildfires.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal, dubbed the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan,” calls for more fuel breaks to help eliminate threats near inhabited areas, improved satellite detection of potentially dangerous areas and improved coordination of firefighting efforts between the state, local government and the federal government.

Although billed as a new invention, the plan cites actions in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 state budgets, including:

–Hiring of  858 new seasonal CALFIRE firefighters in 2020.

–An increase in the CalFire air force  with the addition of with $127.2 million in new aircraft, including C-130H air tankers and 12 Black Hawk helicopters capable of nighttime firefighting operations.

–A proposed allotment of $1 billion in Newsom’s proposed 2021-2022 budget, to include $323 million to protect communities, reduce risk of large, catastrophic wildfires and boost economic recovery in rural communities.

–Spending $67.5 million to buy 13 additional fully staffed year-round fire engines, in addition to heavy fire equipment operators.

–Acquiring and placing state-of-the-art wildfire technology into the hands of incident commanders. It can project the direction, size and distance a wildfire may travel based on real-time weather, terrain and fuels conditions.

–Partnering with the federal government on a satellite-based wildfire detection system 

–Starting the California National Guard on infrared-equipped drones to support firefighting missions. 

–Funding for an additional 100 infrared fire monitoring cameras on remote communications towers to help dispatchers and firefighters identify and confirm wildfires’ locations.

–Securing $25 million annually to fund city and county firefighting engines and crews so they can pre-deploy in strategic locations and respond to breaking fires.

The plan amounts to a monumental bureaucratic partnership, fusing together efforts from a number of state agencies, along with local and federal governments, all aiming at dealing with the wildfire challenge.

The need is there, says Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. “Catastrophic wildfires represent a severe and worsening threat that requires bold action …  we need to shift our paradigm and invest in a scaled-up, cohesive strategy built on science to restore landscapes and protect communities,” he declared in a written statement.

PRIVATE PRISONS: The LAT's Andrea Castillo looks at whether the California law banning private prisons will hold up in court.

When California legislators voted to ban private prison contracts in 2019, advocates hailed the first-of-its-kind law as a victory for immigrants who they said have long suffered in facilities run by corporations that cut corners and provide substandard living conditions and medical care.

Not everyone saw it that way. Geo Group, a Florida-based private prison corporation, sued days before Assembly Bill 32 took effect on Jan. 1, calling the law a “transparent attempt by the state to shut down the federal government’s detention efforts within California’s borders.”

The Trump administration quickly filed its own lawsuit with similar claims against the law, which prohibits new for-profit detention contracts and phases out current facilities entirely by 2028.

Last October, a U.S. district court judge in San Diego largely upheld the private prison ban, saying the state has the authority to protect the health and welfare of federal detainees held within its borders.

Geo Group and federal officials appealed that decision. Last week, lawyers now representing the Biden administration urged a panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to repeal the law.

While this may come as a surprise to liberal Biden supporters, the Department of Justice rarely flips sides on pending lawsuits upon change of party in The White House.

Even as the battle over the law continued, private prisons were being rendered less necessary as they were depopulated because of the pandemic and fewer people being detained.

Geo Group leaders have started pushing to repopulate facilities in California that are at a fraction of capacity. The company sought to intervene in lawsuits over dangerous conditions at two facilities that led to COVID-19 outbreaks last year. Federal judges ordered the release of many detainees and blocked new transfers.

FARMWORKERS: For CalMatters, Melissa Montalvo writes up a proposal to provide universal basic income to farmworkers.

A Fresno-area politician wants California to prioritize struggling San Joaquin Valley farmworkers in a proposed pilot program that would put cash in the hands of some the state’s impoverished residents.

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Democrat from Sanger, issued a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last week urging the state to prioritize California’s “displaced, underemployed, or unemployed farmworkers” for the Universal Basic Income pilot program.

“The drought, extreme heat, the pandemic, and overtime pay rules are creating a dire situation for them. By expanding the proposed UBI program to farmworkers, it’s not only an investment in farmworkers — but in all of California,” wrote Hurtado.

In his revised budget proposed last month, Newsom allocated $35 million to fund UBI pilot programs administered by local city or county governments. Under Newsom’s latest proposal, the funding would require a local-match commitment and must target low-income Californians.

KINNEY: Jason Kinney, who became known outside of Sacramento for the infamous dinner at The French Laundry for his 50th birthday tweets [1 | 2]:

1/2 Kudos to my #Axiom fam for building in record time a hyper-growth firm with high-integrity clients who care about CA’s future. Propitious time to announce I’m focusing full-time on building out Axiom Communications & our public affairs practice w/ indomitable
@mollyweedn

To recap, things I still answer to: “flack,” “sometimes speechwriter,” “quinquagenarian (aka “old”),” “alliterative compulsive,” “accredited @Olivio_Rodrigo scholar,” “Hoosier in exile,” or “@SacramentoKings sixth man (never, EVER forget Game 6).” Things I don’t: “lobbyist.”

For the home gamers, there are lots of folks in town that work on public affairs (including former prominent lawmakers) that may affect public policy but don't meet the legal definition of "lobbyist," which is:

An individual who engages in direct communication with a qualifying official (other than administrative testimony) for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action qualifies as a lobbyist if he or she meets one of the following criteria:

In-House Lobbyist: An individual who lobbies on behalf of his or her employer only and spends at least one-third of his or her compensated time in a calendar month engaging in direct communication with qualifying officials.

Contract Lobbyist:* An individual who lobbies for someone other than his or her employer and receives or is entitled to receive $2,000 or more in a calendar month engaging in direct communication with qualifying officials.

*Rebuttable Presumption Applicable to Contract Lobbyists: There is a rebuttable presumption that certain payments made to a contract lobbyist are for direct communication with a qualifying official for the purposes of influencing legislative or administrative action if certain facts are established:

The individual receives or is entitled to receive compensation from a client for services that include direct communication with a qualifying public official to influence action,

• The compensation is $2,000 or more, and

• The compensation is for services in a calendar month.

Once these basic facts are established, it could be presumed that the payment was for direct communication with public officials unless the individual offers evidence that the payment was for other services. This presumption can be rebutted by evidence that may include testimony, records, bills, and receipts establishing the allocation of the individual’s compensation for all other goods and services provided. If the individual offers sufficient evidence to rebut, the presumption is disregarded and the competing evidence is weighed to make a factual finding on the issue

There are definitions for phrases like "direct communication," which can be found in the FPPC's Lobbying Manual.

Enjoy your afternoon reading. 

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Michael Johnson, Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin, and Drew Mercy!

 

Classifieds

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