Here’s what we at the Capital Center for Law & Policy been reading and thinking about this week … aside from the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. CNN has rundown of where he stands on the various issues he may face as a Justice on the United States Supreme Court – should he be confirmed – here. You can also find our conversation with Maggy Krell, Chief Legal Counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, on yesterday’s episode of The CAP⋅impact Podcast. The New York Times also ran an anonymous op ed from someone inside the Trump administration.

 

 

 

Leslie Gielow Jacobs

New York Times

To Anyone Who Thinks Journalists Can’t Change the World by Marie Tae McDermott

Journalists are killed here in the United States and across the world for publishing truth. This article is about how journalists stay alive and impact policy.

 

 

 

Jon Wainwright

Fortune

The Blue Light Emitted from Electronics Can Cause Accelerated Blindness, Study Finds by Renae Reints

Admittedly, this is an older story, but it’s one that I find myself constantly going back to think and talk about. I spend most of my work day looking at a computer screen and I also spend a good bit of time in the evenings and on weekends looking at my phone. I also have a family history of Macular Degeneration, so when I saw this study, let’s just say I was less than thrilled. I’ve since turned night-mode back on on my phone to reduce blue light in the evening.

On today’s episode of The CAP⋅impact Podcast we talk with Maggy Krell, Chief Legal Counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California about the impact of US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the highest court in the nation, the potential impact of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, the numerous attempted and proposed changes to healthcare policy at the federal level, and what all of that means for Californians.

We also talk with McGeorge Professor Ederlina Co about SB 320 by State Senator Connie Leyva (D – Chino), which recently passed the California Legislature and is awaiting Governor Brown’s signature, and the significance of that bill in light what has been going on in Congress and at the federal level in regards to healthcare.

As always, if you enjoyed today’s episode, please take the time to leave us a five-star rating on iTunes or Apple Podcasts and subscribe to our show wherever you listen to podcasts. All of that helps other people find the show.

You can stay in touch with us and let us know what you think about the show on Facebook and Twitter. Just like CAP impact on Facebook or follow @CAPimpactCA on Twitter.

And last but not least, you can learn more about the Capital Center for Law and Policy at McGeorge School of Law here.

 

Enrolled Bill Reports and Gubernatorial Actions on Bills (transcript)

Today’s podcast on enrolled bill reports and gubernatorial actions on bills.

Once an enrolled bill reaches the Governor’s desk for final action, enrolled bill reports, or EBRs are produced for the Governor and his senior staff to consider the merits of the bill pending on the Governor’s desk. An enrolled bill is the final version of the bill that has passed both houses of the Legislature and is pending final action by the Governor.

California’s Governor has three choices with a bill that reaches his or her desk: sign the bill, veto the bill, or allow the bill to become law without his or her signature. The enrolled bill report, or again most often referred to as an EBR, is the analysis of a bill with information and a recommendation for action by the Governor written by staff.

EBRs are prepared for bills but not for constitutional amendments or resolutions because these measures are not acted upon by the Governor. Generally, there are at least three EBRs that are prepared for the Governor’s review with each bill that reaches his or her desk. The first is from the Department of Finance, the second is the relevant agency that has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the bill, and the third is by the Legislative Counsel.

The Governor’s bill file normally contains letters from outside parties that are urging the Governor to sign or veto the particular bill. They’re often submitted by interest groups that have supported or opposed the bill as the measure traveled through the legislative process. The Governor’s staff may have their own notes from meetings they’ve held with proponents and opponents of the bill.

All of these documents are clearly intended to provide the Governor and his or her staff with the information that they need to make an educated decision about whether to sign or veto the bill. Depending on the bill and how the particular Governor approaches decisions on pending legislation, these EBRs can be the critical basis for whether the bill gets signed or vetoed that year.

Thank you for joining today.

By: Camille Reid

Should the internet be open? This question is on the minds of many internet users, startups, and internet service providers (ISPs), like Verizon or AT&T. Those individuals who believe the internet is meant to be open are termed net neutrality supporters. Net neutrality refers to the concept that the internet should be equal to all who access it, and not controlled by ISPs who can slow down, speed up, or otherwise disturb user access.

Consumers and small startups demand net neutrality because of the potential for an ISPs potential to favor its own applications over others it does not own. This and other concerns over the open internet mounted after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” in 2017. The order created a much less regulated Internet by classifying it as an information service. The FCC reasoned that classifying the internet in this way will result in better investment and competition that benefits the consumer. The order rolls back Obama-era net neutrality regulations that many internet users and small companies came to rely on. In response to the FCC’s annihilation of those net neutrality protections, many states responded with lawsuits and legislation. California’s response to the FCC’s order comes in the form of Senate Bill 822 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Senator Wiener introduced the bill to ensure that all customers have access to the open internet.

SB 822 attempts to restore the regulations contained in the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order. In keeping with that ideal, this legislation prohibits ISPs from blocking, speeding up or slowing down websites and applications. The bill also requires ISPs to engage in disclosure of its performance and management practices. One part of SB 822 that goes further than the FCC’s 2015 order are the provisions prohibiting zero-rating.

“Zero-rating” is a provider activity where the ISP excludes a majority of websites from a consumer’s usage allowances, while allowing other applications to squeak by without affecting a user’s data caps. For example, T-Mobile allows its user to stream unlimited video and audio from select services like Netflix, and AT&T gives its users the opportunity to access DirectTV for free. T-Mobile and AT&T could then slow down the stream from Netflix or another competing streaming service, thereby giving preferential treatment to its networks. This legislation would disallow ISPs from such obvious favoritism. Most importantly, SB 822 authorizes sanctions and penalties against an ISP for violations, and it also provides the California Public Utilities Commission authority to oversee the quality of internet service that ISPs offer consumers.

Supporters for SB 822 include more than 200 organizations ranging from websites – like Reddit – to business groups – like the California Association of Realtors – to public safety organizations – like CalFire. These organizations argue that SB 822, and protecting net neutrality, is extremely necessary based on the egregious network discrimination done by ISPs. Recently, Verizon slowed internet connections while firefighters battled the Mendocino Complex Fires. Firefighters said that because they were unable to access items like weather forecasts, lives were jeopardized. Supporters of SB 822 focus on its goal to ensure that each Californian is able to connect, invent, and participate online no matter the amount of money they have or where they live.

Opposition to SB 822 hinges on the notion that Senator Wiener’s net neutrality legislation would throttle investment in parts of California and that it is preempted by the FCC’s 2017 order. Those in the camp opposing SB 822 – which includes members of California’s business community, cell phone companies, ISPs, and organizations like the California State Conference of the NAACP and California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) – argue that ISPs have a specific budget, and any additional regulations brought on by this bill would stop advancement by stifling investment. Opponents also reference preemption as a blockade to SB 822 and rest their rationale on the preemption clause found in the FCC’s 2017 order, which stops states from regulating the internet if it conflicts with the FCC’s objectives.

Despite strenuous opposition and legal issues, SB 822 continues to move forward, having passed both houses of the California Legislature last week. The bill is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. Senator Wiener’s enthusiasm and belief in the bill is unwavering: “[w]e are moving closer and closer to enacting the strongest net neutrality protections in the nation. Much work remains… but we have momentum.”

To learn more about SB 822, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Camille Reid is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Here’s what the people at the Capital Center for Law & Policy have been reading and thinking about this week.

 

 

 

Molly Alcorn

New York Times

Asian-American Students Suing Harvard Over Affirmative Action Win Justice Dept. Support by Katie Benner

Students are suing Harvard over discrimination. This is not a new story- Universities across the country have been sued for racial discrimination against minorities. However, this story caught my interest due to the very stern statement of interest from the Justice Department. In this letter, the Justice Department states that Harvard failed to “adequately explain how race factors into its admissions decisions.” Of course, to keep things interesting, Harvard fired back by stating it was “deeply disappointed” but not surprised “given the highly irregular investigation the D.O.J. has engaged in thus far.”

 

 

 

Jon Wainwright

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

On today’s podcast, McGeorge Capital Lawyering adjunct professor Chris Micheli breaks down the different vote requirements different types of legislation have to clear, and there’s more than just the majority and 2/3 requirements most folks know about. Chris also goes over the different kinds of legislative publications. And to wrap up today’s show, we talk with Kim Barnes – the Chief Legislation Editor for University of the Pacific Law Review’s Greensheets Edition and host of the podcast In Session – to talk about what to expect from the second season of In Session.

If you aren’t subscribing to In Session already, you can find it on Apple Podcasts and you will start seeing new episodes every week starting on Tuesday, September 4. You can also follow University of the Pacific Law Review on Facebook and Twitter.

As always, if you enjoyed today’s episode, please take the time to leave us a five-star rating on iTunes or Apple Podcasts and subscribe to our show wherever you listen to podcasts. All of that helps other people find the show.

You can stay in touch with us and let us know what you think about the show on Facebook and Twitter. Just like CAP impact on Facebook or follow @CAPimpactCA on Twitter.

And last but not least, you can learn more about the Capital Center for Law and Policy at McGeorge School of Law here.

The Role of Leadership Staff (transcript)

Today’s post is on the role of leadership staff in the lawmaking process.

As you probably are familiar, there are four legislative leaders representing the two political parties in the two houses of the California Legislature. These four individuals are elected by their respective members.

In addition, for the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tempore their elections are confirmed by a majority of their respective houses after their caucus members have nominated them for that office.

The two minority leaders of the Assembly and Senate are elected to their respective positions by their caucus members, rather than the entire legislative house.

Staff for these four legislative leaders play a critical role in ensuring that the legislative process goes smoothly during the entire legislative session. As you know, the Legislature considers and votes upon thousands of bills as well as the state budget and a number of corresponding trailer bills to that budget. These staff members, like their four bosses, must balance competing interests all the while keeping their respective caucus members happy and supportive. Many have described this process as akin to herding cats.

Both leaders have large policy staff who are assigned several policy committees to keep tabs on. These individuals must monitor the activities of the policy and fiscal committees for which they have jurisdiction, become involved in the major bills as they make their way through the legislative process, certainly ensure that the caucus priorities are being attained, and apprise the house’s leader regarding any problematic issues or measures. These policy consultants for the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tem report to their respective Policy Director that’s housed in the Speaker’s Office or the Pro Tem’s office.

The Policy Director in each house is an individual who oversees the policy consultants and is the main liaison between the caucus members and the house leader on pending legislation. The Policy Director is an experienced individual with years of service in the Legislature who has been exposed to numerous policy issues and fully appreciates the political and policy implications of pending legislation in the major public policy issues facing the state of California.

Also serving the two house leaders are Budget Directors, found in the Assembly Speaker’s office and the Senate President Pro Tem’s office. The Budget Directors ensure that the caucus priorities are reflected in the budget bill and corresponding trailer bills that follow them. These individual staffers know the ins and outs of the state budget, the legislative and budget processes themselves, and they’ve usually served on the Budget Committee staff for years prior to being named to be the Budget Director.

These individuals help negotiate the budget’s provisions, certainly when they require the involvement of the leaders – the Speaker and the Pro Tem. These individuals naturally work very closely with the Governor’s staff and the senior leadership of the Department of Finance.

Both of the legislative leaders have Press Secretaries and communications individuals. These persons serve as a liaison with the Capitol Press Corps, and they certainly work to ensure that the media cover the top issues and legislation in the best light for the majority and minority parties.

These individuals have often been journalists themselves. Sometimes they’ve worked on campaign press operations. But they most certainly have an appreciation for the role the media play in the legislative process.

Three Readings (transcript)

Today’s post is about the three readings of a bill that are required by the California Constitution.

The California Constitution requires a bill to be read three times before it can be debated and voted upon by either house. A reading of a bill in the state Assembly or the state Senate is defined as being, “The presentation of the bill before the entire house by reading the bill’s number, the author, and the title.”

Each time the bill is read, those three provisions are read aloud on the floor by the reading clerk in either the Senate or the Assembly. There’s a misconception that the three constitutionally required readings of a bill are all the same. In fact, each is for a different specified purpose.

The first reading of a bill occurs upon introduction of the bill. The second reading occurs after a bill has been reported to the floor from committee, with or without amendments. The third reading occurs when the measure is about to be taken up on the floor of either house for final debate and passage.

Note that the three readings requirement under the Constitution can be suspended by a two‑thirds vote in either house. Let’s cover the three readings.

The first reading of a bill takes place when it is actually introduced in either house. The bill is placed across the desk of the Assembly or Senate, which is the official act of introducing a bill in the Legislature.

The second reading of the bill takes place after the bill has been reported out of committee, either the policy or the fiscal committee, to the floor of either the Assembly or the Senate.

The third reading of the bill takes place when the bill is about to be taken up for consideration ‑‑ that is, its presentation debate and vote on either the Assembly floor or the Senate floor.

Those are the three readings of a bill. Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Here’s what the people at the Capital Center for Law & Policy have been reading and thinking about this week, aside from the obvious major headlines about Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort that broke on Tuesday.

 

 

 

Leslie Gielow Jacobs

New York Times

It’s Not Technology That’s Disrupting Our Jobs by Louis Hyman

This opinion pieces reminds us that “technological advances” may facilitate the gig economy, but they do not cause it.  Rather, the lack of job security, benefits, and minimum daily wages are the result of decisions made by corporate managers and government policymakers over the last number of decades.  So, the consequences many lament are the results of deliberate choices, and particular views of corporate and government responsibilities.  They are not inevitable results of the forward march of technology.

 

 

 

Jon Wainwright

San Francisco Gate

Safe Injection Sites In SF Closer To Fruition After State Senate Vote by Bay City News Service

AB 186 bill piqued my interest last year when it was initially introduced by Asm. Susan Talamantes-Eggman. The bill in its original form “would have authorized eight counties with heavy intravenous drug use to create pilot “safe injection sites.”” It immediately reminded me of Hamsterdam from Season 3 of The Wire. The updated bill would allow for three-year pilot program in just San Francisco. AB 186 still needs to be signed by the Governor if it is going to have any impact, but given the need to address the drug addiction problem in San Francisco, I am very interested in seeing the kind of impact legislation like this could have for the city.

Erin O’Neal Muilenburg – Career Advisor

Law.com

New Case at US Supreme Court Tests Gender Pay Disparities by Erin Mulvaney

“Salaries speak louder than words.”  Judge Reinhardt’s words jumped off the page and caught my attention when I read the news of the recent decision in the pay equity case Rizo v. Yovino, in which the Ninth Circuit held that an employee’s salary history cannot be used to justify paying men and women differently for comparable jobs.  This issue may well be making its way to the Supreme Court.  In addition to the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling, the federal appellate courts are currently split, with the Tenth and Eleventh Circuit holding that salary history alone cannot be used as an exemption to equal pay laws, and the Seventh Circuit ruling that previous salary can be considered.  Particularly in light of Justice Kennedy’s recent departure, and the effect on the Court’s jurisprudence that is likely to result from a newly appointed Justice, it will be important for both employees and employers to watch these issues closely.

 

 

 

The Suspense File (transcript)

Today’s post is on the suspense file and the process used to consider fiscal legislation in the California Legislature.

The two appropriations committees in the California Legislature have a unique procedure and each of them terms it the “Suspense File.” In California, as opposed to the US Congress where the appropriations committees actually appropriate money, the two appropriations committees in the Senate and the Assembly are the ones charged with considering the fiscal effects of legislation.

A measure that is keyed, or tagged, fiscal by the Legislative Counsel generally means that the bill will be referred to the fiscal committee in each house after the appropriate policy committee(s) has/have actually heard and considered the bill, and passed it out.

Under the Joint Rules of the Senate and the Assembly, a bill is re-referred to the fiscal committee when the bill does one of four things:

  1. It appropriates money;
  2. It will result in a substantial expenditure of state money;
  3. It will result in a substantial loss of revenue for the state (one of the most common examples of this is a tax credit or tax exemption the reduces money to the state); or:
  4. It results in a substantial reduction of expenditures of state money by reducing, transferring, or eliminating any existing responsibilities of any state agency, program, or function.

The fourth one is a little more ambiguous and I would note that while the last three all talk about substantial, nothing in the Joint Rules – specifically Joint Rule 10.5 – defines the word substantial.

Under the rules of both houses, as opposed to the joint rules, the respective committees on appropriations may maintain a suspense file. Basically, that’s a file to which bills are referred by a majority vote of the members of the committee to allow further consideration and ultimate vote by the fiscal committee. A bill can be taken off the suspense file and heard with a two-day notice that is published in the Assembly Daily File or the Senate Daily File. Taking a bill off the suspense file requires a vote of the majority of the members of the committee.

There’s more on the suspense file process in the audio portion of today’s post. Thanks for listening.