THE BUZZ: California is pursuing its own progressive policy vision, conservative Supreme Court be damned.
Floor votes on guns and abortions yesterday illuminated the gulf between a 6-3 SCOTUS and a California Legislature with two-thirds Democratic majorities. On both measures, California was rowing against or responding directly to the high court’s recent rulings. It all feeds a broader effort to fortify the state’s status as a 40-million-person bulwark against a rightward legal swing:
1. California voters will get the chance to enshrine abortion rights in their state’s constitution in November after the Assembly gave final approval to a constitutional amendment to do so. Legislative leaders floated the idea soon after POLITICO published a draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, so by the time the Supreme Court formally released the expected ruling on Friday, Sacramento was ready.
Given the depth of support for abortion rights within California’s electorate and a paucity of well-funded opposition, it looks likely voters will guarantee in the state constitution what federal law cannot. And it fits into a bigger package: Hours before the vote, lawmakers discussed a planned budget outlay for abortion services that is intended in part to cover an expected surge in abortion-seekers traveling from states that limit abortion access. “We cannot abandon people who do not have that same luxury in other states,” Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes said.
2. And Californians could soon begin suing manufacturers and people who sell banned assault weapons and ghost guns. The Assembly sent the bill back to the state Senate, where it’s already passed a full floor vote, teeing up Gov. Gavin Newsom’s inevitable signature. We say inevitable because Newsom explicitly called for the bill in response to a Texas law that empowers private residents to sue abortion providers.
“What Texas did on abortion was dangerous, and we already know how disgusting the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court has been. But California stands to lead the way in this space,” Assemblymember Mike Gipson said (the Senate sent a similar bill creating legal liability for the gun industry to Newsom).
NEXT UP: Emerging legislation to blunt the impact of SCOTUS nullifying California’s concealed carry permit limits should get a first hearing today. Attorney General Rob Bonta, lawmakers and Newsom moved immediately last week after the high court cut down states’ discretion over who gets permits, with Sen. Anthony Portantino announcing he would amend his SB 918 to bolster background check requirements and limit the places where concealed guns can be carried. The bill is set to be amended in the Assembly Public Safety committee.
BUENOS DÍAS, good Tuesday morning. One area where SCOTUS aligned with California: the high court declined yesterday to take up a challenge to AB 5, the controversial 2019 law that effectively requires employers to treat more workers as employees rather than contractors. A separate legal fight over Proposition 22 — in which gig tech companies carved themselves out of AB 5 — will head next to oral arguments on appeal later this year after a lower court invalidated the measure.
Got a tip or story idea for California Playbook? Hit us up: (email protected) and (email protected) or follow us on Twitter @JeremyBWhite and @Lara_Korte.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m proud I live in California, where doing the right thing is always in style, where we get to say through our vote today and through our vote at the ballot box that we are not second-class citizens.” Assemblymember and Women’s Caucus chair Cristina Garcia on the abortion constitutional amendment.
TWEET OF THE DAY:Reporter Ashley Zavala @ZavalaA on Newsom, evidently confident in re-election, booking Fox airtime in Florida: “The Governor who said he has “subzero interest” in running for President will reportedly air ads in a state …*checks notes* …2,700 miles away from his own.”
WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.
END OUR PAIN AT THE PUMP! Gas prices are as high as $7 a gallon, forcing many to choose between fuel and essentials like food and medicine. The California Air Resources Board is squandering its opportunity to support gas-free, pollution-free transportation. We need an Advanced Clean Cars program that achieves at least 75% electric car sales by 2030 to bring more and more affordable electric cars to market faster. Visit CleanCarStates.org to learn more.
A SOCIAL TRUTH — “Politics trumps business in Truth Social’s war on Big Tech,” by Reuters’ Helen Coster and Julia Love: “The firebrand former President Trump’s social media firm has struggled to build a competitive platform. One big reason: It has alienated the tech talent and corporate partners it needs in the left-leaning industry it has vilified.”
— “Obsessed With Guns, an Officer Frightened His Family Before Taking His Own Life. Did SF Police Fail Them?” by the San Francisco Standard’s Michael Barba and Jonah Owen Lamb: “His suicide raises questions about whether the San Francisco Police Department could have done more to stop his downward spiral, and what investigative steps—if any—the department took to determine whether (Sgt. Chris) Morris had gotten a hold of a gun in the five weeks after being notified about his purchases.”
— “Editorial: California has a chance to lead the nation on cutting plastic trash. If we don’t blow it,” opines the Los Angeles Times’ Editorial Board: “After months of negotiations, environmentalists, lawmakers and business and plastic industry representatives have hammered out an legislative agreement to slash the production of plastic packaging over the next decade in exchange for pulling the “plastic tax” measure from the November ballot.”
— Democrats look to recruit businesses from red states restricting abortion, by POLITICO’s Lara Korte: But now, with abortion outlawed in 13 states, including Texas, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said businesses should reconsider setting up shop where their employees can’t access the full scope of reproductive health care.
— “San Francisco housing development has slowed to a crawl, with no uptick in sight: ‘The costs are simply too high’,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s J.K. Dineen: “ On Friday (Mayor London) Breed’s office called for the reconvening of the “technical advisory committee” that is supposed to periodically revisit the city’s inclusionary affordable housing program — which requires market rate developers to either include affordable units, pay a fee or dedicate land.
CEMENTING A PARTNERSHIP — “Climate-friendly cement? California takes on a high-carbon industry,” by CalMatters’ Nadia Lopez: “An outsized source of greenhouse gases, California cement companies are trying creative climate solutions to meet mandates. But they are seeking state help.”
— “California fails to collect basic abortion data — even as it invites an out-of-state influx,” by CalMatters’ Kristen Hwang: “As California vows to protect abortion rights, it lacks the data that would help estimate how many out-of-state women may seek services. Currently, the state does not collect abortion data, including comprehensive numbers.”
— “Grand jury rips Anaheim for lack of transparency in Angel Stadium sale negotiations,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin: “In an affidavit that was publicly disclosed May 16, FBI Special Agent Brian Adkins alleged that (former Mayor Harry) Sidhu had shared confidential negotiating information with the Angels — at a time when the city was negotiating against the team — in the hope the team would provide a million-dollar contribution to his reelection campaign.”
— “California’s Fight Against Homelessness Has Turned Desperate and Dangerous,” opines the New York Times’ Jay Caspian King: “The state has spent billions of dollars a year and tried a variety of solutions; none has put much of a dent in the public face of homelessness — the tent encampments of unhoused people that have sprung up throughout every major city in the state.”
— “California drought, bark beetles killing the oldest trees on Earth. Can they be saved?” by the Los Angeles Times’ Louis Sahagún: “For thousands of years, bark beetles were held in check or eliminated by the harsh conditions of the stony, storm-battered mountain crests where the grotesque, twisted trees have evolved an arsenal of survival strategies.”
— “Harris emerges as top abortion voice, warns of more fallout,” by the Associated Press’ Will Weissert: “Taking to the issue with a passion linked both to her personal and professional background, Harris has spent recent weeks sounding the alarm that upending Roe could create precedent for new restrictions on everything from contraception and in vitro fertilization to gay marriage and the right to vote.”
— “Republicans pressure Newsom to suspend California gas tax as prices surge,” by Fox Business’ Megan Henney: “In a Monday letter addressed to Newsom, a group of GOP lawmakers – led by Reps. David Valadao and Jay Obernolte – reiterated a plea from March for the governor to temporarily suspend the state’s 51-cent-per-gallon gas tax in order to help blunt the financial pain of surging prices at the pump.”
— The Supreme Court has chipped away at the Voting Rights Act for 9 years. This case could be the next blow. By POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro: Now, a still-more conservative Court will hear arguments in the fall about Alabama’s redistricting, in a case targeting the other central piece of the Voting Rights Act: Section 2, which prohibits voting practices and procedures that discriminate on the basis of race.
RTO WOES— “At Tesla, Returning to the Office Creates New Problems,” by the Information’s Becky Peterson: “Elon Musk’s mandate that staff get back to the office if they want to keep their jobs set off a rush for parking and desks—and a vow from Musk to show up seven days a week himself.”
— “Facebook Is Banning People Who Say They Will Mail Abortion Pills,” by Vice’s Joseph Cox and Jordan Pearson: “When exactly Facebook started removing these and similar posts is unclear. But Motherboard confirmed Facebook removed such posts on the same day that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States.”
— “Scoop: Google moves to keep campaign messages out of spam,” by Axios’ Ashley Gold: “Google has come under fire that its algorithms unfairly target conservative content across its services, and that its Gmail service filters more Republican fundraising and campaign emails to spam.”
— “3 hit-and-run drivers in Fullerton kill homeless man,” by the Orange County Register’s Eric Licas.
— “L.A.’s last Japanese boardinghouse is safe, for now. Elderly tenants still worry,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Chris Kuo, Theresa Watanabe and Jeong Park.
— “‘Vanlife’ takes off in Bay Area as startups embrace booming camper van rental trend,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Gregory Thomas.
HOT, HOT, HOT — “Cool off in 10 of L.A.’s hottest pools with day passes,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Rosemary Mcclure and Jessica Benda.
— Two California labor officials — SEIU Local 2015 president April Verrett and SEIU Local 1021 president Joseph Bryant — are transitioning to leadership positions within national SEIU. Verrett will be secretary-treasurer and Bryant executive vice president.
— Lauren Brown is now scheduling assistant/assistant to the chief of staff for Sen. Alex Padilla. She most recently was a congressional intern for Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and is a graduate of UC San Diego.
Elon Musk … Mel Brooks
Electric vehicles are the key to freedom from expensive and volatile gas prices. Low-income communities and communities of color are hit from both sides, spending more of their income on fuel and breathing in more toxic tailpipe exhaust that shortens their lives. Strong, equitable electric car sales targets will cut health costs associated with chronic air pollution exposure, support the creation of good jobs in a key economic sector and help unburden family budgets that support local businesses.
Governor Newsom and the Air Resources Board California Air Resources Board cannot fail us in setting stronger electric car standards that save people money at the pump, protect public health, fight the climate crisis and create jobs.
We need electric car sales targets and mandatory equity provisions that achieve at least 75% pollution-free car sales by 2030. Click here to learn more about how we can improve the Advanced Clean Cars program.
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