THE BUZZ: Make room, gas price relief — California’s abortion fortifications are assuming a prominent role in unfolding budget talks.
Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday parceled out a bite of his Friday budget reveal, laying out plans to nearly double a planned outlay for abortion services to $125 million. He’s also pitching economic incentives for businesses in states with more restrictive abortion and LGBTQ laws to relocate to California — a sort of reverse engineering of California’s law prohibiting state-subsidized travel to states with laws that curtail LGBTQ rights.
The Assembly is poised to go further soon. Abortion legislation that prevents other state’s laws from applying in California — expanding the state’s reproductive sanctuary status — had been expected to get a floor vote today, although expected absences may push back the vote. After POLITICO reported that the Supreme Court had voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan added an urgency clause to make the bill take effect immediately, which gives the bill a two-thirds vote threshold.
That high bar often spells the demise of tax increases and other supermajority measures, but Bauer-Kahan’s bill still has solid odds of passing whenever enough Democrats are on the floor (and this is with two blue seats still open). Roughly half the Assembly Democratic caucus has signed on as co-authors. Those strong prospects offer a sharp contrast to abortion legislation failing in the U.S. Senate yesterday. No one expected the congressional messaging legislation to pass — a sense of federal futility that underscores the extent to which an issue that’s deeply divisive nationally is effectively settled in California.
Beyond their desire to ensure California continues providing abortions to both residents and out-of-state visitors, Newsom and fellow California Democrats are eager to highlight that contrast. Campaign pros love to distill elections down to clear choices. Abortions inspire a type of visceral differentiation that few other issues can match. Team Newsom has already released an abortion-focused ad and sent out a flurry of abortion-related fundraising appeals; you can count on hearing more about the actions the governor and lawmakers are taking on abortion funding and access.
BUENOS DÍAS, good Thursday morning. Another major health care measure could be headed to the floor today. We’re expecting a vote on legislation to raise California’s medical malpractice payout cap, moving us closer to a ballot-brawl-averting truce in the decades-old MICRA wars pitting doctors against lawyers.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Too often, Congress recognizes issues too late. I had a colleague mention to me, ‘We’re not seeing it in the polls’ … Well, you don’t know what to ask.” Rep. Katie Porter on bacon prices and other bedrock voter concerns, via POLITICO.
TWEET OF THE DAY: California YIMBY policy director @resnikoff on a Bay bagel boom: “California has been underproducing decent bagels for decades; we desperately need to increase supply now if we’re going to control bagel cost inflation.”
WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.
HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE — “Vivian Villanueva holds sway in L.A. sheriff’s department, staff say,” by the LA Times’ Alene Tcheckmedyian: “Because she has no official position and operates outside the normal channels of authority, it is difficult to assess exactly how much sway Villanueva holds in the department. But several sheriff’s officials said the sheriff’s wife — a former deputy who retired four years ago — is widely viewed as a power broker who can open doors to advancement.”
— “San Francisco Police Are Using Driverless Cars as Mobile Surveillance Cameras,” by VICE’s Aaron Gordon: “The use of AVs as an investigative tool echoes how Ring, a doorbell and home security company owned by Amazon, became a key partner with law enforcement around the country by turning individual consumer products into a network of cameras with comprehensive coverage of American neighborhoods easily accessible to police.”
— “Blue states want to become abortion safe havens. It will cost them,” by POLITICO’s Lisa Kashinsky, Shia Kapos and Victoria Colliver: “Another measure, to protect Californians from being prosecuted by out-of-state anti-abortion laws, would go into effect immediately once signed by the governor.”
— “Anne Marie Schubert’s gamble: After ditching the GOP, can she win a statewide office?” by the Sac Bee’s Patrick Riley: “No candidate running without party affiliation has won statewide office in the modern California political era. Political consultants, observers and current and former candidates are split on whether the gamble will pay off.”
— “Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones reignites fight with Black Lives Matter in new ad for Congress,” by the Sac Bee’s Theresa Clift and David Lightman: “It’s his key selling point in a midterm election where concern about crime is rising throughout Sacramento, the suburbs and the more rural counties in the district.”
— “Sydney Kamlager wants to speak ‘truth to toxicity’ in Washington,” by Jewish Insider: “The U.S. is ‘fortunate,’ Kamlager explained, to be allies with ‘really important countries, and Israel is one of those.’”
— “This S.F. tech billionaire says he backs Chesa Boudin and criminal justice reform. So why is he giving police $1 million?” by the SF Chronicle’s Heather Knight: “Each of the city’s 10 district stations will receive $100,000, and police officers will come up with ways to spend it to promote a better work experience for themselves or to better engage with their communities.”
DATA WATCH — “The San Francisco Standard Voter Poll,” by the SF Standard’s Maryann Jones Thompson: “A total of 57% respondents plan to vote ‘yes’ on [recalling DA Chesa Boudin]. Another one-fifth don’t know how they will vote.
WISH LIST — “California Legislative Leader Wants to Spend $10 Billion to Help Families Buy Homes,” by the Wall Street Journal’s Christine Mai-Duc: “Democratic State Senate Leader Toni Atkins on Wednesday unveiled details of a proposal she’s pushing to create a revolving fund that would provide interest-free loans for up to 30% of the purchase price of a home for low- and middle-income households.”
DESERT OASIS — “This California desert could hold the key to powering all of America’s electric cars,” by CNN’s Peter Valdes-Dapena: “With the Salton Sea Basin’s unique geography, engineers and technicians can get the lithium with minimal environmental destruction, according to companies that are working there.”
DELAYED — “L.A. school board delays student COVID-19 vaccine mandate without any discussion,” by the LA Times’ Howard Blume: “L.A. Unified was the first of the nation’s large school systems to institute a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students. However, the district opted in December to delay enforcing the rule until this fall.”
GOING THE DISTANCE — “Skid row is an overdose ‘epicenter.’ But methadone can be miles away,” by the LA Times’ Emily Alpert Reyes: “Seven years ago, a skid row clinic told The Times it was seeking state approval to dispense methadone there; it never got that approval and the clinic later closed, one of its physicians said.”
MONEY MOVES — “New fund to plant seeds of reparations for California’s Native American communities,” by CalMatters’ Lil Kalish: “Among other things, the funds would pay for digitizing tribal oral histories and documenting tribal land loss for research and for Land Back initiatives, an Indigenous-led movement to restore land to the original stewards.”
— “Despite Record Budget Surplus, California Unlikely to Fix Massive Wage-Theft Claim Backlog Anytime Soon,” by KQED’s Farida Jhabvala Romero: “The California Labor Commissioner’s Office, plagued by vacancies, is struggling to efficiently process 36,200 pending claims for unpaid wages.”
— “It’s not just a meal: Inside the nation’s most secretive and exclusive power lunch,” by the LA Times’ Noah Bierman: “While Biden and Harris dined together about every other week during their first year in office, they have lunched only twice since January, an L.A. Times review of Harris’ schedule shows.”
— “Susan Rice Criticized for Creating ‘Abusive and Dehumanizing’ Workplace,” by The American Prospect’s Daniel Boguslaw: “At one point during a meeting, where President Biden expressed his displeasure at [Xavier Becerra’s] efforts at HHS, Rice wrote a note to a colleague that said, ‘Don’t help him,’ referring to Becerra.”
— “Senate confirms Biden’s FTC nominee despite Republican opposition,” by POLITICO’s Emily Birnbaum: “Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote for the Georgetown University law professor.”
UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER — “Republicans took away Disney’s special status in Florida. Now they’re gunning for Mickey himself,” by the LA Times’ Hugeo Martín: “Republicans’ focus on the copyright is part of a larger fight the Republican party has taken up against Disney, sparked earlier this spring over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, legislation more commonly known by critics as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.”
— “Overwhelming demand for Bay Area bagels is driving a new wave of expansion,” by the SF Chronicle’s Elena Kadvany.
— “Glendale third-grade teacher showed gay pride videos. A year later, furious debate erupts,” by the LA Times’ Howard Blume and Melissa Gomez.
— “National Parks report says California destination is 3rd most popular. And it’s not Yosemite,” by the Sac Bee’s Brianna Taylor.
— “‘Mr. El Cap’ has died. He led first paraplegic climb of iconic Yosemite Valley monolith,” by the Fresno Bee’s Carmen Kohlruss.
Lacy Nelson is now comms director for Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) She most recently was digital director for Katie Hobbs’ Arizona gubernatorial campaign, and is a Raphael Warnock and Doug Jones alum.
Microsoft’s Fred Humphries … Kor Adana … Scott Wiener
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