Wednesday, June 14, 2017

CFRW Capitol Update Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Budget Deadline

Tomorrow, June 15th, is the constitutional deadline to pass our state budget. If the budget is not passed by midnight tomorrow, our legislator’s pay will be rescinded every day until it is passed. The $183 billion spending plan will likely pass along party lines, with Republicans in the super-minority, not a single Republican vote is needed to pass this budget. In what can only be described as a legislative Democrat’s wish list, this budget aims to protect public employee unions, effectively dissolve the state Board of Equalization, and ignores critical infrastructure improvements. The budget includes many provisions that are not even budget related, like refiguring election laws to protect Senator Josh Newman from a recall effort in San Diego. But, more on that later. Let’s start with the Board of Equalization.

Ignoring Prop 54 and the requirement that legislation be in print and available online for 72 hours before a vote, this bill to strip power from the state Board of Equalization and instead create two new tax bureaucracies with no voter oversight has been jammed through and added to the budget deal before California taxpayers could weigh in on it. The BOE is an elected body of government, with four members, who hear appeals from businesses contesting state audits and tax fees. If changes need to be made to the state tax board, they should be done in an open and transparent manner.

Speaking of transparency, this budget does more to protect and solidify public employee union power under the guise of “employee orientation”. The bill included in the budget will allow unions to participate in state employee orientations and allow labor unions to address new state employees to “inform them of their rights”. Right. The “right” to join the union and pay “dues” that go toward political action, with the “right” to refuse joining the union or paying dues towards political action you may not necessarily agree with, without any retribution, right? Right. Any Republican bill aimed at reducing union control in political practices is swiftly defeated. Any Republican bill that seeks to allow employees to opt-out of union dues or “fair-share fees” is summarily killed. And yet, public employee unions overwhelmingly contribute to Democrats and lobby for liberal legislation. It is clear to see where Governor Brown and legislative Democrat’s priorities lie.

Those priorities do not include allocating budget spending for critical infrastructure improvements. There is nothing in this budget that directs money to improving the Oroville Dam spillway, our broken levee system, or securing permanent water storage. Instead, Democrats denied funding requests for these imperative projects, leaving our state in a dangerous position once again.

Tomorrow is judgement day for this budget, which is filled with political promises, lack of oversight and foresight, and creates a potentially dangerous environment when critical infrastructure continues to be ignored. Tomorrow, call YOUR Assemblyman and Senator and ask them to vote NO on this budget, ask them to go back to the drawing board and pass a back to basics budget. Find your representatives ◼ HERE.

Gas Tax Update

Democrats included in the budget a political ploy to protect Senator Josh Newman (D-San Diego) from a recall effort related to his vote for the Gas Tax in April. The bill attached to the budget, also known as a trailer bill, goes into effect immediately, unlike regular session bills. This bill would change election law as it pertains to recalls, allowing citizens to rescind their signatures and requiring the Secretary of State’s office to count and verify EVERY signature, not just a sampling as the current law states, thereby adding weeks to the certification process. These weeks matter, because our governor has 60-80 days to call for a recall election, but if that amount of time falls within 180 days of an election, he can call to consolidate the ballots. Democrats know that they have a better chance of protecting Newman in a primary election than they do in a special election called before it. This deceptive election law change is not the first of its kind. Democrats have a history of changing election laws to protect their interests. Californians need to wake up and pay attention!

It seems that that recently passed Gas Tax has awoken some Californians to action. The recall efforts of Josh Newman are just the beginning. In a recent poll done by UC Berkeley, 58% of likely voters OPPOSE the Gas Tax , including 39% who say they strongly oppose it. The numbers in opposition where high across the board, across geography, race, and age. This is good news for Republicans in districts where Democrats just barely eked out a victory this last election. We must make the passage of the Gas Tax THE ISSUE of 2018. Please visit ◼ to sign the petition, gather signatures, or donate to help repeal the Gas Tax.

Bills On The Move

This late in the legislative session, we are generally working hard to DEFEAT dangerous legislation. This session is no different. Bills are on the move in their second house hearings, and we need to remain on top of the action to OPPOSE these bad bills!

  • SB 6 (Hueso, D): Current law requires the State Department of Social Services, subject to the availability of funding, to contract with qualified nonprofit legal services organizations to provide legal services to unaccompanied, undocumented minors, as defined, who are transferred to the care and custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and who are present in this state. Existing law requires that the contracts awarded meet certain conditions. This bill would require the department to either contract with qualified nonprofit legal services organizations, or contract with a nonprofit agency to administer funding to nonprofit legal services organization subcontractors, to provide legal services to individuals in removal proceedings who are not otherwise entitled to legal representation under an existing local, state, or federal program. Location: 6/20-Assembly Judiciary Committee
  • SB 29 (Lara, D): Current law authorizes a county board of supervisors on behalf of its sheriff, and a legislative body of a city on behalf of its chief of police, to contract to provide supplemental law enforcement services to private individuals, private entities, and private corporations in specified circumstances and subject to certain conditions. This bill would, commencing on January 1, 2019, prohibit a city, county, or city and county, or a local law enforcement agency from entering into, renewing, or extending the length of a contract with a private corporation, contractor, or vendor to detain immigrants in civil immigration proceedings for profit. Location: Not On Calendar- Assembly Judiciary Committee
  • SB 54 (de Leon, D): Current law provides that when there is reason to believe that a person arrested for a violation of specified controlled substance provisions may not be a citizen of the United States, the arresting agency shall notify the appropriate agency of the United States having charge of deportation matters. This bill would repeal those provisions. Location: Not On Calendar- Assembly Judiciary Committee
  • SB 562 (Lara, D): Current law provides for the Medi-Cal program, which is administered by the State Department of Health Care Services, under which qualified low-income individuals receive health care services. The Medi-Cal program is, in part, governed and funded by federal Medicaid program provisions. This bill, the Healthy California Act, would create the Healthy California program to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state. Location: Assembly Desk, no committee assignment yet

CFRW Biennial Convention

Our biennial CFRW Convention is quickly approaching! ◼ CLICK HERE to download our Save the Date!

Disclaimer: The Capitol Update is an activity of the CFRW Advocate's Office. The update is for information only. CFRW official positions on legislation are stated immediately preceding the stated legislation or immediately following the stated legislation in this report.