This week’s LIVE episode of The CAP·impact Podcast was recorded a little while back at the Sterling Hotel here in Sacramento. Every year, the Capital Center for Law & Policy hosts the Mike Belote Endowed Capital Lecture. This year’s topic, and today’s episode, was Journalism in the Era of Fake News.

The discussion between the three esteemed journalists on the panel runs longer than our normal shows so we’ve split it in two episodes. Part 1 is the moderated portion of the panel discussion. Next week’s episode is Part 2, where we’ll feature the audience questions.

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. Or you hit me up directly on Twitter @jon_wainwright.

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

Thanks for listening to today’s show.




The Role of the Judicial Branch in the Legislative Process (transcript)

Today’s podcast is on the role of the judicial branch in the lawmaking process here in California. Members of the state and federal judiciary branches play a role in California lawmaking in the actual legislative process, as part of our state government system of checks and balances. When California statutes or regulations are legally challenged, for example, then the state or federal court that makes a determination establishes a public policy for the state.

Of course, California statutes and regulations may be challenged on either federal or state constitutional grounds. As a result, both state and federal courts may play a role in the state lawmaking process. In addition to these legal challenges, both federal and state courts may be called upon to interpret California statutes or regulations.

Statutory interpretation is a primary role of the judicial branch of government in the state lawmaking process. In fact, courts are regularly called upon to interpret state statutes and regulations, sometimes to the dismay of elected officials in the executive or legislative branches of government.
This third branch of government does play a crucial role in the lawmaking process when the courts determine what the legislative intent was of a statute, or whether a regulation comports with the Administrative Procedure Act, or whether a statute or regulation is constitutional. This, of course, is the most critical role of the judicial branch in the state lawmaking process.

Occasionally, the California Legislature passes a law that does not comport with the state or federal constitutions. Despite claims by judges that they leave lawmaking to the elected branches of government, when judges modify statutes or issue a determination of how a statute or regulation is to be interpreted and applied, then judges do, to some degree, become a critical part of the state policy making process.

Hence, from my perspective, all three branches of state government do, in fact, play a role in the development of state public policy.




The Role of State Agencies in Policy Making (transcript)

Today’s podcast is about state agencies and their role in public policy development. California’s agencies – including departments, board, and commissions – engage in a fair amount of public policy making through both their rule making authority, as well as their interpretation and enforcement of existing statutes and regulations.

These state agencies are the ones who generally run the day-to-day operations of state government, and they’re charged with implementing the statutes adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. With over 200 of these agencies in California state government, there are many state agencies that do policy development by adopting regulations and implementing statutes. They can also engage in policy making when issuing guidelines, legal opinions, management memos, and other sorts of written documents wherein they interpret and implement laws and regulations.

Generally speaking, the authority of state agencies to adopt policy through their rule making process is defined and often restricted by state statute. These statutes usually prescribe each agency’s authority to adopt policy. And of course, it’s an established principle of administrative law that an agency cannot go beyond its legally prescribed authority to regulate. On the other hand, many statutes confer broad powers to some state agencies regarding matters that directly affect the public generally. The regulations and administrative practices of these agencies often affect millions of Californians in their daily lives.

It’s important to understand the rule making process and the role of state agencies in conducting rule making. One interesting phenomenon is that businesses cannot rely in good faith upon the written determinations issued by state agencies. State agencies’ written interpretation is often not given significant legal weight by a reviewing court. In other words, despite being charged with interpreting, implementing, and enforcing California statutes and regulations, individuals and businesses that obtain written guidelines from state agencies have little to no protection from legal liability if they follow that written guidance.




Last week, a ballot initiative to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act qualified for the November ballot. Yesterday, the Assembly Committee on Housing & Community Development and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a joint initiative hearing on the measure.

Costa-Hawkins was passed in 1995 and was most recently amended in 2004. The law limits the ability of local governments to enact rent control measures. Specifically, it exempted single family units and condominiums from rent control, as well as exempted apartment units built after February 1, 1995 from local rent control ordinances. The legislation also bans vacancy control, also known as strict rent control, which is described by Elijah Chiland at Curbed LA as “which is when a unit’s rent is capped even after a tenant moves out.”

Costa-Hawkins is now back in the conversation as part of the overall conversation around California’s housing affordability crisis. In the analysis the LAO presented at yesterday’s hearing, it was pointed out that the typical renter in California pays more than 50% more than the typical renter nationwide. There are also areas in California where rent is at twice the national average, per LAO’s analysis.

Those factors, among numerous others, are what drive the supporters of the initiative to repeal Costa-Hawkins. Repealing the initiative would mean that single-family homes, condominiums, and apartment units built after February 1, 1995 could become subject to rent control should local governments choose to enact rent control measures on those units. A repeal would also allow local governments to enact limits on how much a landlord could increase rent on a unit as it changes from one tenant to the next.

Proponents of the repeal argue that rising rents are forcing people out apartments and into their cars or on to the streets, with Dr. Peter Dreier of Occidental College pointing out that a five percent rent increase in Los Angeles led to 2,000 people losing their homes. The argument in favor of repealing Costa-Hawkins can be easily summed up – as it was said by many of the almost 150 supporters who spoke in favor of the repeal at yesterday’s hearing – by internet famous former New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan:

Opponents of the repeal argue that repealing the rent control restrictions in Costa-Hawkins will not only not help California’s housing crisis, but could potentially make the crisis worse. Karim Drissi, with the California Association of Realtors, argued that the real issue driving the housing crisis is the lack of supply of housing noting that California needs to build 180,000 housing units annually just to keep pace with population growth. The current pace is half that. Rather than enact rent control, he pointed out that streamlining the permitting process and fixing parts of CEQA would be more effective ways to address the crisis.

Debra Carlton, with the California Apartment Association, pointed out that the LAO’s analysis showed that repealing Costa-Hawkins would reduce the existing stock of rental housing – as property owners would convert their rental homes to personal living spaces. She also noted that builders continue construction of apartment units because Costa-Hawkins exempts the apartments they build from rent control.

Money will be an interesting factor to watch in this ballot fight. Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is behind the proponents of the repeal, and he is no stranger to pouring money into high profile campaigns. In 2016 his organization, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), “spent $4.6 million on Proposition 60, which mandates that performers in all pornographic videos wear condoms, and $17.7 million on Proposition 61, which forbids California to pay any more for the prescription drugs is purchases than does the federal Veterans Administration” according to LA Weekly.  AHF’s spending was in support of both of those ballot measures, and in both cases, they lost. It is worth noting that the Prop. 61 battle was “one of the priciest ballot measures in California history.” In addition to the aforementioned Realtors and Apartment Associations, opposition to the repeal includes the California Chamber of Commerce. All of these groups are well heeled and won’t be afraid to spend large sums of money, potentially into the high tens of millions of dollars, on a campaign to defeat the repeal.

This week’s episode of The CAP·impact Podcast features a case study in one of Ray LeBov’s Rules for Effective Lobbying: not letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. Today we are talking with folks from two organizations that regular readers and podcast listeners will be familiar with – the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Specifically, we talk with the Partnership’s Jacquie Marroquin and CALCASA’s John Finley about their organizations’ joint effort to secure a $50 million allocation in the General Fund of California’s state budget for sexual assault and domestic violence prevention programs. It’s an effort that we talked with John Finley about previously.

Since the California Legislature passed the state budget last week, what better time than now to check in with Jacquie and John about how the effort panned out. You can likely figure out, in rough terms, what the outcome was, just based on the title of today’s show alone. But don’t tune out because while the title gives away the overall outcome, it doesn’t spoil any of the details.

Today’s show also features an explanation of the lobbying process for California’s state budget from McGeorge Capital Lawyering adjunct professor Chris Micheli.

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. Or you hit me up directly on Twitter @jon_wainwright.

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

Thanks for listening to today’s show.




Yesterday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined twenty other state Attorneys General in signing a letter demanding that the U.S. Department of Justice, led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “end its new ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy which separates children from their parents.”

This action comes short of Attorney General Becerra’s more common course of action, which has been to sue the Trump administration over policies that California does not agree with. Under Attorney General Becerra, California has initiated or joined a lawsuit against the Trump administration nearly three dozen times, according to CALmatters. Seven of those lawsuits relate to immigration policy.

A facility called Casa San Diego, operated by Southwest Key Programs, in El Cajon, California houses children who were separated from their parents at the border. The San Diego Union Tribune reports that, “According to staff there, about 10 percent of the children held in Casa San Diego were separated from their parents at the border.”

So it is a little surprising that Becerra has only signed on to a strongly worded letter rather than sue, especially given the reporting by Ginger Johnson with ProPublica and by Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kumar with McClatchy. ProPublica has some of the first audio to come out of a government facility in Texas housing children who were separated from their parents at the border. McClatchy reported that “the Trump administration has likely lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied migrant children.”

It is possible that a lawsuit to change the policy won’t be necessary, per this tweet from Politico’s Christopher Cadelago.

Legislation would certainly be helpful on this front, especially given that what is in Trump’s executive order is yet to be seen. Dara Lind with Vox points out that “There is no law that requires immigrant families to be separated.” Vicki Gonzalez with KCRA reports that Congress is working to reach a solution this week. One bill addressing the issue is Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D – California) Keep Families Together Act currently has the support of 49 U.S. Senators, including Feinstein’s fellow California Senator, Kamala Harris.




It’s been three months since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to Sacramento to announce his lawsuit against the State of California challenging various provisions of the new sanctuary state law.  I posted about my initial evaluation of the claims when Sessions announced the lawsuit.  Tomorrow is a big hearing in federal district court, so it’s time to check in again.

What’s been going on during the last three months?  Lots of papers have been filed.  California tried to move the case to San Francisco, but the judge said no so it will remain in Sacramento.  The United States and California have filed papers, and lots of groups and individuals have filed their own amicus curae briefs supporting one or the other side.

What’s going on to tomorrow?  Judge Mendez will hear oral argument on two motions.  The U.S. seeks a court order to block California’s sanctuary state laws and California is asking the judge to dismiss all of the United States’ claims.  The motions are flip sides of each other, each taking extreme positions about how good their claims are.  The U.S. argues that its claims are so good that the judge should grant a court order (preliminary injunction) before trial happens.  California argues that the claims are so weak that the judge should dismiss them all without having a trial at all.

California has a tough row to hoe on the motion to dismiss.  It has to prove that no set of facts could allow the U.S. to state claims.  It’s unlikely that Judge Mendez will dismiss any of the claims at this early stage.

So, the focus tomorrow will be on the U.S. motion for a preliminary injunction.  Unlike a trial, where the party just has to win, the U.S. has to show more to convince a judge to act early, and enter an order against the other side, before the judge has been able to hear all the arguments and see the evidence that would be presented at a trial.

Judge Mendez will come into the hearing very prepared.  He will have looked carefully at all the writings, researched the arguments, and will likely have pin-pointed questions to flesh out particular parts of the claims.  He likely knows how he is inclined to rule on each claim.   What?  Isn’t that pre-judging the case?  Yes, but that’s ok.  In fact, it is responsible judging.

This is not like a trial, where the jury is supposed to keep an open mind before it hears the evidence.  There may be some testimony tomorrow, and the judge should keep an open mind on that.  But most of tomorrow’s claims depend upon reading U.S. law and California law and deciding how they inter-relate.  These are complex legal questions and it is entirely appropriate that the judge would study them, think hard about them, and form initial opinions before oral argument.

The lawyers will be very prepared as well.  They wrote the pleadings and, during the last week, have undoubtedly been doing “moot court” preparations where they argue and take questions, trying to anticipate what the other side and the judge will say.

What is the standard of proof?

The U.S. needs to show (1) that it is likely to win at trial; (2) that it will suffer extraordinary harm if it must wait until trial for a court order; (3) that it will suffer more harm than California if it must wait until trial; and (4) that the public interest is on its side.

Both the U.S. and California have strong claims that they will suffer “irreparable” harm that cannot be repaired later if the court rules against them.  So, the focus of the case will be on whether the U.S. can meet its burden of showing a “likelihood of success” at trial on its claims.

What are the claims?

The basis for all three of the U.S. claims is that the California sanctuary state provisions violate the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the Constitution.  The U.S. also claims that each provision violates what is called “inter-governmental immunities.”  This is a more difficult claim for the U.S., and so I’ll focus on the Supremacy Clause (preemption) claims as they relate to each California law.

The Supremacy Clause says that when state law conflicts with valid federal law, the federal law prevails.  No one disputes that this part of the Constitution exists, or what it says.  So what’s the big question with all three claims?  Is there a conflict or is this just another of many situations where the two different governments may regulate the same activities, but for different reasons?

California’s “Immigrant Worker Protection Act” (IWPA).  This law prohibits private employers from voluntarily complying with federal immigration enforcement requests for information. This means that the federal agents need to get a court order to obtain the information.  There is nothing explicit in the federal law that says California cannot do this. So, the question is whether the state law “frustrates the purpose” or “stands as an obstacle to enforcement” of federal law.  Maybe … or even, quite likely it does.  California has very good reasons for its law, but that is not the right question when the federal government claims preemption.  The focus is on what the federal government validly wants to achieve and whether the state law makes it systematically more difficult no matter the state’s strong interests.  Private California employers are citizens of the state and of the United States.  Expect to see the U.S. make the point that it should be able to seek voluntary compliance from its citizens on the same terms as the state, and the state effort to shift that balance unconstitutionally obstructs its lawful exercise of its powers.

California Assembly Bill (AB) 103.  This law allows California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to inspect immigration detention facilities to make sure they are being operated lawfully.  California has the power to do this and has a strong interest in making sure confinement conditions and other aspects of detention meet state and federal standards.  The U.S. claim that California is targeting it specifically is not particularly strong.  California can reasonably claim that its interest is in immigration facilities and what occurs in them, which pose particular issues that make them different from other types of facilities, and so it is targeting the type of facility not the federal government that operates them.  California does not obstruct federal law enforcement if it only imposes reasonable ministerial requirements that are similar to what it imposes on other entities that rent and operate other types of facilities.  It is not clear from the papers how the inspections work in practice.  Expect to see questions that go to the burden of the inspections on immigration enforcement officials, and that compare these burdens with inspection burdens imposed on other types of facilities.

California Senate Bill (SB) 54.  This law limits state and local law enforcements’ abilities to give certain types of information about current and former state prisoners to immigration enforcement officials.  The U.S. preemption claim is the weakest here, because, unlike with private employers, California has the superior power to direct the activities of state and local law enforcement.  The U.S. cannot constitutionally require state and local officials to assist with its immigration enforcement efforts.  Expect questions to the U.S. about what valid law entitles it to the information it seeks.  If the judge were to dismiss a claim tomorrow (which, as I said is unlikely), this would be it.

What happens after the hearing?

The judge can grant an order stopping enforcement of all, or single parts of the sanctuary law.  That is, the judge can accept all, some, or none of the U.S.’s claims.  Also, the judge can rule from the bench, meaning a court order goes into effect right away.  Or, more likely, the judge can take the claims “under submission,” and issue a ruling, along with a written opinion explaining his reasoning, later, in a few days or weeks.

After a ruling, we can expect the losing side to file an appeal.  The losing side will likely seek another court order, this time from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, either granting an order stopping the California laws or stopping an order by the judge stopping California laws, whichever way the ruling goes.  A three-judge panel of the court of appeals will schedule argument.  We have already waited three months for this oral argument, so it is unlikely that the court of appeals would hear the appeal as an emergency.  More likely, argument would be within a few months.  After that, the losing party will likely try to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the case and issue a ruling.  If the Court agrees, that ruling would likely not be issued until June 2019, at the earliest.

For more details, see Dean Vik Amar’s analysis in Verdict.




What Makes California lawmaking difficult (transcript)

Today’s podcast is on what makes lawmaking in California difficult. There are a number of factors that influence the lawmaking process generally and make it particularly an arduous process in the state of California.

I think that the difficulty in the lawmaking process in California starts with the bicameral legislature. That is, we have two houses of the legislature, as well as separate branches of government, each of which play a critical role in California’s lawmaking process. There’s naturally going to be tension in the lawmaking process as these three branches of government and two houses of the Legislature have an equal say in adopting legislation.

There are also a number of institutional issues that can affect and cause gridlock and other difficulties in the lawmaking process such as term limits and the lack of bipartisan cooperation. Those are often the two most cited examples.

For term limits, there are newly‑elected officials versus those who are in their final terms of office. Undoubtedly, these individuals have a different role and a different view that they bring. Do they view themselves as equals? Is there a difference between a freshman legislator and one that’s on his or her way out?

Sometimes legislators, in the early stages of their career, are on a steep learning curve, not just about the issues, but also about the institutions and the legislative process itself.

There are times where political extremes from both sides of the political aisle impact the legislative process. Is there a lack of bipartisan cooperation? What about between the two houses and the legislators themselves?

Without collegial working relationships, coming to consensus is harder in the legislative process, and laws enacted along party lines are less stable. If everyone does not agree to what is the best answer to addressing a public policy issue, then that often causes concern.

In addition to some of these institutional factors, there are also a number of political reasons that make the legislative process in the state of California difficult. Constituents, the public generally, and the media expect quick action by the Legislature on public policy issues facing the state of California.

One is the electoral process. Assembly members have to run for office every two years while Senators run for office every four years. Some of these legislators, particularly those in the state Assembly, have to continually be in campaign mode and raise funds throughout the legislative process.

This means soliciting interest groups for campaign contributions, including those who regularly appear before them in the California State Legislature. Some legislators find it difficult to vote against their friends, especially those who are helpful in their re‑election campaign efforts.

Also the initiative process and a number of voter‑approved ballot measures that constrain state spending, limiting the ability of legislators to address public policy issues. Moreover, competing funding priorities that have been set forth by the electorate create difficulties for lawmakers as well as hurdles to enact budget priorities.

In the end, there isn’t a single factor that makes lawmaking in California difficult. Instead, it’s a combination of political and institutional factors that impact resolution of public policy issues facing the legislature. These often result in gridlock and a lack of success, or on occasion, one‑sided results that leave others with the process unhappy.

On today’s episode of The CAP⋅impact Podcast we are diving in to California’s primary election. If you listen to news and politics podcasts, it’s very likely that you’ve already heard about California’s Top Two primary system – likely within the context of how the system could have led to Democratic candidates being  shut out of congressional races across southern California and California’s Central Valley or how it could shut out Republicans from the race for Governor.

Ultimately, neither of those scenarios came to fruition. Democrats got their candidates through in the Congressional contests and Republican businessman John Cox advanced to the general election to face off against Democrat and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

That’s enough horse race coverage for this post. If you want a recap of the primary, you can check out last week’s post from Jon Wainwright on the implications of the primary results.

This week’s podcast focuses more on the Top Two primary itself – the structure of it and how it came to be in California – and how the Top Two Primary affects how campaigns talk to voters. For the explainer on Top Two primary, we’re talking with McGeorge professor and elections expert Mary-Beth Moylan, and to discuss how the Top Two primary has changed campaigns, we brought in Democratic consultant Brian Brokaw – no relation to Tom Brokaw.

We hope you enjoy today’s episode. As always, we would greatly appreciate it if you can leave us a five star rating on iTunes or Apple Podcasts. Another great way to help us to subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts.

And lastly, you can always let us know what you think about today’s episode in the comments, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s initiative to split California into three states, being marketed as Cal 3, qualified for this year’s November ballot. The idea is problematic.

What the three proposed California’s would look like. Credit: Los Angeles Times graphics

But before we dive in to the what if’s of what happens after it passes, or the big if that is if it passes, it needs noting that there is a strong chance that this could not be on November’s General Election ballot even though it received the number of signatures necessary to qualify.

That’s because this initiative is ripe for pre-election review by the California courts, according to McGeorge professor and elections expert Mary-Beth Moylan. And not only is it ripe for review by the courts, but she thinks the likelihood of the courts throwing the initiative out – that is, removing from the ballot – is very high. Here’s her reasoning for that, from an interview that she gave to KCRA 3 News in Sacramento:

The California Constitution gives people the initiative power to make laws. This isn’t really enacting a law. This is attempting to alter the boundary lines of the State of California and to create essentially two new states … The California Constitution itself says that the boundary lines for California are those that were set at the time of the 1849 (state) constitution. Any attempt to change that provision, I think, would amount to a revision, which people don’t have power to make revisions. The only way the constitution of California can be revised is if the Legislature sets a constitutional convention or proposes revisions to the people.”

The first question that comes to mind is, if this initiative passes, could California actually split into three states? The short answer is yes, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there is a very wide gulf between could happen and would happen.

Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution reads: “no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State … without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.” So, the constitutional ability to split California exists. There is even precedent for a state to be created by splitting off from another state.

In 1863, West Virginia became a union state after delegates from Union-supporting counties in the northwestern part of the wanted to break off from the Confederate state of Virginia. Should all the necessary hurdles be cleared, splitting California “would be the first division of an existing U.S. state since the creation of West Virginia” according to John Myers at the Los Angeles Times. But the circumstances are worth emphasizing here. The creation of West Virginia happened during the Civil War when a portion of a Confederate state decided to leave and join the Union. These circumstances are not at play today.

That leads to the Congressional hurdle, which appears to be insurmountable given the current Congress, assuming the initiative passes in November. The three proposed states are divided up along existing county lines. When you look at which counties are in each proposed state, it looks like the U.S. Senate would easily add three more Democratic Senators (in addition to current Senators Feinstein and Harris), a proposition that would not go over with Republicans.

But, for the sake of argument, say the initiative passes, Congress approves, it clears every legal hurdle it faces, and California indeed splits into three states. Can Cal 3 deliver on the benefits it says passing the initiative will reap? Let’s take a look at a couple:

  • Lower taxes – The promise is that “Cal 3 would encourage each state set lower tax rates.” For one, taxes are not mentioned at all in the proposed initiative that was submitted. So to claim that the initiative encourages the new states to lower taxes is dubious. Further, there’s no guarantee that elected officials in Northern California (likely to be predominantly from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento) or in California (predominantly from Los Angeles) would set tax rates lower than they are currently.
  • Local Identity, Autonomy, & Diversity – The promise is “Rather than being managed remotely – and ineffectively – from Sacramento, each state will have the autonomy to make choices based on the most pressing needs and opportunities closest to home.” Considering that 56 of the Legislature’s 120 members come from either Los Angeles County or the Bay Area (19 members of the Senate and 37 members of the Assembly) it’s fair to be concerned that other parts of the state aren’t having their voices heard when weighed against the clout of these two dominant urban population centers. But again, the way Cal 3 divides California doesn’t do much to ease that concern. The new California would be dominated by elected officials from Los Angeles over those from the other central coast counties and Northern California would be dominated by Bay Area and Sacramento electeds over those from the rural north of the state.

There will definitely be money on both sides of this fight. Tim Draper, obviously, support is it and Democratic consultant Steve Maviglio is leading the effort to oppose and has been doing so for months. While there is definitely enough sentiment supporting the idea to split up California that Draper thinks it’s a worthwhile use of time and money, I don’t the votes – at the first step of passing the initiative or at the second step of getting the votes in Congress to sign off on this – for the plan to come to fruition.

This post was updated as of 8:45am on 6/14/17 to include a quote from McGeorge Professor Mary-Beth Moylan on the likelihood of the initiative holding up to legal challenges.