AB 1407

Today I’m following up on the conversation I had last week with Beth Hassett. Last week, Beth and I talked about the work her organization, WEAVE – Women Escaping A Violent Environment – does with coalitions like the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence – CPEDV. Feel free to go back and listen to that great conversation we had.

This week, Beth and I talked about a bill that WEAVE worked on a few years back and the impact that it’s had since becoming law. The bill was 2015’s AB 1407. You can find all the details on the legislation online courtesy of California Legislative Information – which is a fantastic resource.

We started by talking about the difficulties of getting the bill off the ground. That is not to say that the bill was a heavy lift for an author – WEAVE actually had multiple potential sponsors reach out to them. Rather, interesting and unforeseeable circumstances arose that forced WEAVE to delay going forward with the bill. You’ll just have to listen to the podcast to learn why the bill had a temporary case of failure to launch.

In addition to talking about that getting over that hurdle, we talked about some of the other behind the scenes work that went in to the process if AB 1407 going from bill to law. That includes the ins and outs of finding the right author for the bill and building a coalition of supporters.

Again, if you want to learn more about WEAVE and the work that WEAVE does, please visit their website – www.weaveinc.org. You can also find WEAVE on Facebook and Twitter @WEAVEinc.

And if you have thoughts, questions, or comments about this interview or any of our other posts and podcasts feel free to let us know in the comments, or on Twitter @CAPimpactCA. Or you can tweet at me directly @jon_wainwright.

As always, thanks for reading and listening. Keep checking back for more In Depth conversations about California legislation.

 

 

 

California Cannabis Coalition v City of Upland

I recently sat down with Matt Read, the Policy Director for Sacramento City Council Member Steve Hansen, to discuss a very interesting California Supreme Court case – California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland. As Matt points out in the interview, the case itself was kind of boring. The implications of the decision however, are much more interesting.

Very quickly, the California Supreme Court’s decision in the case essentially ruled that parts of California’s Proposition 218 – specifically, parts related to procedures – did not apply to some initiatives that were ran in the City of Upland by marijuana dispensaries seeking clarification on rules ahead of impending state regulations. This led to other, potentially bigger questions.

Backtracking just a little bit, the most notable impact of Proposition 218 is that it instituted vote thresholds for different types of taxes levied by local governments. General taxes, those used to fund government functions generally, are subject to a 50% + 1 threshold. That’s the same threshold any political candidate needs to win office. Special taxes – taxes directed to a specific project like building new schools or road repairs – which are more commonly used by local governments, are subject to a 2/3 majority vote.

While those thresholds remain the same if a local government were to put a tax measure on the ballot, the decision in Upland potentially allows for citizen-led tax initiatives to be subject to the 50% + 1 threshold, regardless of whether the tax is a general tax or a special tax. What exactly is a citizen-led initiative? That much is unclear, or as Matt put it, “The Court punts on that … question.” You’ll have to listen to our conversation to get a better sense of why that is, and to get a better sense of the numerous other questions that this particular California Supreme Court ruling invites.

2018 was already shaping up to be a very interesting election year, and it appears that the decision in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland will only make this upcoming cycle more interesting.

By: Dylan de Wit

California currently faces a major public education crisis. Similar to the housing crisis, California’s teacher supply has failed to meet demand, resulting in severe teacher shortages throughout the state. Seventy-five percent of school districts are understaffed, particularly with regard to fully-credentialed teachers. Compounding this problem is California’s affordable housing crisis. Housing supply has stagnated, rental prices have skyrocketed, and many Californians have been priced out of their homes and cities. These two crises seemed to intersect in late 2016, when the San Francisco Chronicle reported Etoria Cheeks, a local math teacher, fell into homelessness after being priced out of affordable housing in the city. Many viewed Ms. Cheeks’ story as a part of a larger problem, and began calling for action to better secure affordable housing for the state’s teachers.

Accordingly, Assembly Member Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) authored AB 45, which sought to create a development grant program for school districts to offer district-owned affordable rental housing to teachers. The program was framed not as an affordable housing project, however, but a recruitment and retention tool for school districts struggling to staff highly-qualified teachers. Under the program, school districts partnering with developers could secure pre-development funding and development loans to build on-site housing. The goal was to establish affordable rental options, incentivizing new highly-qualified teachers to work in districts they would otherwise avoid due to high rental costs.

AB 45 laid out specific criteria for school districts vying for development funding. Namely, prospective districts had to be in high-rent, hard-to-staff regions. Further, districts needed to have high rates of teachers employed under “emergency credentials,” teachers instructing courses outside their competency, and students on free and reduced lunch program. The bill also sets out development criteria for developers partnering with school districts. For instance, projects must be near public transportation, and must be subject to a project labor agreement (PLA).

Although AB 45 represented a creative approach by the state to staff school districts with high-quality teachers, several provisions suggest its effect may have been minimal. First, the program would have started at $25 million, which was likely enough for only a few projects. Further, AB 45’s PLA provision seemed misplaced given their tendency of PLA’s raise costs on development. Additionally, the program’s criteria suggested it would predominantly benefit urban areas over rural, even though California’s teacher shortage affects both urban and rural school districts equally.

AB 45 passed in September. Governor Brown vetoed the bill, however, citing existing legislation that served a similar purpose.  It should also be noted that because AB 45 did not make building housing easier for California developers, Governor Brown was  not likely to support the bill from the start.

Nonetheless, similar developments and programs showed significant success in attracting teachers, with most developments being either completely full or waitlisted. This suggests that AB 45 may have been effective for at least a few districts that met the restrictive criteria, and could afford the projects given the program’s limited funds. With some adjustment and perhaps additional funding, a program similar to AB 45 may eventually prove a valuable tool for school districts looking to recruit and retain highly-qualified teachers.

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

AB 1217 In Depth with Tristan Brown – Part 2

Today’s In Depth conversation picks up where we left off last week with Tristan Brown. As a refresher, you can refer back to Part 1 of our interview where we discussed the lay of the land for public education in California and about some of the details in AB 1217. This week’s conversation dives in to how Tristan, and CFT, went about killing AB 1217. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Under Prop 64, city and county governments will be able to ban almost all cannabis activity except for personal cultivation of up to six plants in an enclosed structure and consumption, both by an adult at least 21 years old. Otherwise,  local governments in California are free to restrict cannabis businesses from operating within its jurisdiction, levy restrictions it determines to be appropriate on what cannabis businesses it does allow, and prohibit outdoor personal cannabis cultivation. For example, a county may allow dispensaries, but prohibit on-site consumption, so that customers may not ingest the cannabis at the dispensary. Should a city or county opt to ban all cannabis businesses it will, however, forego the tax revenue from Prop 64.

In anticipation of cannabis sales going live in January 2018, most counties and other local governments in California have established ordinances determining how much cannabis activity will be allowed within their jurisdictions. For example, Placer County allows indoor and outdoor cultivation of up to six plants, but with some specific requirements. All outdoor cultivation must have fencing to make it not visible to the public or neighbors, and must be set back at least 100 feet from all property lines. Further, Placer County prohibits all commercial sale, manufacturing, delivery, and dispensaries of cannabis, allowing only delivery of medicinal products by a “primary caregiver” to a “qualified patient.” Similarly, Sacramento County does not allow cannabis businesses, including dispensaries, in its unincorporated areas. As another example, the City of Folsom prohibits all outdoor cultivation of cannabis plants. If a city within a county adopts a cannabis ordinance that embodies more restrictive policies than the county requires, the city’s more restrictive laws control within its boundaries.

It probably comes as no great surprise then that conflicts can arise between different cities and counties, since they are given such great leeway within the state to customize their cannabis restrictions. One issue that arises is the legality of cannabis delivery services that necessitate travel through a city or county that bans cannabis delivery, to get to and from areas that do not prohibit such activity. Local governments are able to regulate delivery services as part of their normal business restrictions of cannabis activities under Proposition 64. It has not yet been officially resolved whether local governments can entirely prohibit the presence of cannabis delivery vehicles within their jurisdictions, even if those vehicles are not delivering or picking up cannabis within the city or county at issue. Delivery services already exist for medical cannabis, and these businesses are ready to deliver recreational cannabis as well beginning in January 2018. Other issues are bound to arise as local governments build regulatory schemes.

Kendall Fisher is Editor in Chief of the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

By: Megan McCauley

SB 54, which has been referred to as the “highest-profile act of defiance to Trump’s nascent presidency,” is indicative of the many ways in which opposition parties have declared war against President Trump’s immigration policies. It is a targeted response to the overlap between federal immigration enforcement and state and local law enforcement. SB 54, also known as the California Values Act, was introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León in an attempt to build a “wall of justice” that would “protect the safety, well-being, and constitutional rights of the people of California, and … direct the state’s limited resources to matters of greatest concern to state and local governments.”

SB 54 prohibits California law enforcement agencies (LEAs) from using agency resources, including money and personnel, to “investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.” State and local LEAs may not, for example, inquire into a person’s immigration status, detain an individual based on an ICE hold request, arrest individuals based on civil immigration warrants, or perform the functions of an immigration officer. Furthermore, SB 54 creates “safe zones” by requiring all public schools, public libraries, state-operated health facilities, courthouses, and shelters to adopt policies that limit collaboration with immigration enforcement “to the fullest extent possible.” By creating these “safe zones,” SB 54 guarantees immigrants the ability to access these vital services without having to fear deportation.

Several important considerations surround the adoption of SB 54, including: whether the bill will be enough to strengthen the relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement, and how it will shift local and state resources away from immigration enforcement and towards protecting communities. SB 54 also invites preemption issues along with state sovereignty and Tenth Amendment concerns. Finally, SB 54 may have a significant fiscal impact in light of federal threats to withhold funding from sanctuary jurisdictions because California expects to receive $105 billion from the federal government next year.

Proponents of SB 54 emphasize that the new law will help protect the safety of all Californians by building trust in the community. They emphasize that sanctuary cities usually correlate with lower crime rates. In support of that position, the Center for American Progress reported that there are 33.5 fewer crimes committed per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties compared to non-sanctuary counties. In response to concerns over preemption, supporters emphasize that SB 54 is merely an exercise of state sovereignty and falls squarely within the state’s police power.

On the other hand, opponents argue that the law might actually make the situation more dangerous because it will force ICE onto the streets. While the likelihood of this consequence was mitigated by last-minute amendments that eliminated serious restrictions on ICE’s ability to access prisons and jails, SB 54 will likely result in an uptick of ICE raids because of the new hurdles to collaborating with state and local law enforcement.

SB 54 was signed into law by the Governor on October 5, 2017.

To learn more about SB 54, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

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

AB 1217 In Depth with Tristan Brown Part 1

In today’s In Depth conversation, I talked with Tristan Brown – Legislative Advocate for the California Federation of Teachers – about AB 1217. Our conversation ran long, so today’s podcast is just the first part of our conversation. In this portion, we talked about the change AB 1217 underwent, what the new AB 1217 would do, and how a little bit lay of the land as far public education in California is concerned.

We’ll post the rest of the conversation next week. Stay tuned for that. For now, enjoy the first part of our conversation with Tristan.

Is the Legislature complying with Prop 25 when they pass budget trailer bills after the fact?

In this podcast, I take an in depth look at an interesting situation that played itself out this past legislative session. In September of this past session, legislators passed two “junior” budget bills and a few dozen accompanying trailer bills. But was doing so proper, or even legal? We’ll explore that, and the Constitutional issues at play in that question, in my podcast.

For more on this subject, you can read an article I’ve previously written in Capitol Weekly.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the podcast and transcript, in one section, implied that appropriations in the budget bill were not subject to a 2/3 vote requirement prior to the passage of Prop. 25.

 

 

 

AB 10 In Depth with Erinn Ryberg

Welcome to California Lawmaking In Depth. In this series, we examine individual pieces of legislation with the people who were directly involved in crafting, supporting, or killing the bill. The conversations focus in on the process of passing – or killing – the particular bill.

In this inaugural In Depth conversation, I chatted with Erinn Ryberg – Legislative Director for Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) – about AB 10. We discuss how the idea for the bill came to Asm. Garcia and the changes it went through on its way to the Governor’s desk.

At the time this was recorded, Governor Jerry Brown had not yet acted on the bill. On October 12, Gov. Brown signed AB 10 into law as part of a legislative package of bills to help “women, children, and families across the state.” That package of bills also included AB 480, by Asm. Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego).

By: Emily Malhiot

Before 2017, Nevada was a member of a minority of states that lacked an anti-bestiality law. The rationale behind anti-bestiality laws is two-pronged: (1) protect animals and (2) prevent future violence to humans. Bestiality is considered animal abuse because the act could physically harm or even kill the animal. Additionally, it is often a precursor to other crimes, including sex-related offenses, crimes against children, and domestic violence. Despite growing concerns about animal cruelty and the connection between animal and human violence, bestiality remains a troublesome topic. Legislators are hesitant to sponsor such bills, and research and resources for bestiality investigations remain limited. However, law enforcement agencies and the public are paying more attention because of increased awareness and increased media attention.

Nevada Assembly Member Richard Carrillo (D-Las Vegas) introduced AB 391, which creates the crime of bestiality. Under AB 391, the crime of bestiality occurs when a person knowingly and intentionally (1) “engages in sexual conduct with an animal;” (2) “causes another person to engage in sexual conduct with an animal;” (3) “permits any sexual conduct” with an animal on any premises owned by that person; (4) aids or abets in any way; or (5) “photographs or films” the act. If the abused animal does not die or suffer serious bodily injury during the commission of the offense, and the offender does not have a previous felony conviction for cruelty to animals, the penalty is a gross misdemeanor. If, however, the abused animal dies or suffers serious bodily injury during the commission of the offense, or if the offender has a previous felony conviction for cruelty to animals, the penalty increases to a felony. Additionally, for a period of time determined by the court, the offender cannot own or have an animal in his or her household and cannot volunteer or work where there is access to animals. Lastly, the judge may require the offender to undergo psychological counseling.

AB 391 follows the majority of states in using the traditional term of “bestiality” in its language. States like California and Oregon classify bestiality as animal sexual abuse, reflecting the idea that animals cannot consent to such acts. Naturally, because bestiality is a sexual crime, the question of whether offenders should be placed on sex offender registries remains open; AB 391, however, does not to include this. AB 391 also moves away from the modern trend of classifying bestiality as animal cruelty, instead classifying it as a crime against morals and indecency. The reason for this is that sexual abuse does not always reveal a physical injury to the animal. A general concern regarding anti-bestiality laws is whether they invade an individual’s privacy. However, similar to child abuse cases, because animals cannot consent or speak up about their abuse, the animal’s safety and the potential future safety of humans trumps over privacy.

One problem is determining whether this bill will prove effective in protecting both animals and humans. Bestiality research and statistics remain limited for law enforcement agencies, which are now starting to pay attention. Another concern is whether law enforcement agencies will enforce the law and investigate cases.

Despite the uncertainty around the bill’s effectiveness, abused animals have greater protections and there is now recourse for these animals and for people who report these crimes to the police.

To learn more about Nevada AB 391, check out my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

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