The 2018-2019 legislative session wrapped on Monday, with Governor Gavin Newsom ultimately signing 870 bills and vetoing 172. The overall numbers, per Scott Lay at The Nooner, “1,833 bills [were] introduced in the State Senate and 792 in the State Senate, for a total of 2,625. Of these, 1,042 were sent to Newsom. Of those, he signed 870 and vetoed 172, for a veto rate of 16.5% — the same as Jerry Brown’s final year in office.” Some of the new laws: allowing voters to register on election day, combating poverty through expanded benefits and protections, capping annual rent increases, and much, much more.
With the conclusion of the legislative session, many took the time to reflect on how Newsom is working with the legislature and how he is delivering on his campaign promises.
Californians & Equity
While wage inequality in coastal California cities is well understood and documented, the LA Times looks at how it also extends to other areas of the state, especially in Bakersfield.
“Cal State Bakersfield economist Richard Gearhart said inequality is pronounced in the city of 380,000 people because it has ‘a highly segmented labor market — either really well paying or really poorly paying. We don’t have a flourishing ‘middle-class’ economy for IT, managers, and finance. With robust oil and agriculture industries, the city has six-figure engineering and science jobs. But it also has some 40,000 local farmworkers, many of whom are paid on a piece rate, earning below the legal minimum wage,’ Gearhart added.”
A new national homeless census found that Black people are disproportionately homeless in California and nationwide, which the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority attributes to institutional racism in education, criminal justice, housing, employment, health care and other access to opportunities.
The UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies — led by CDT ally Lisa Garcia-Bedolla — polled over 4,500 people across the state and political spectrum and found that the majority of people agree that immigrants make the U.S. a better place to live. They also found that differences about how immigrants are treated ran along generational and political lines.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and four other attorneys general secured a preliminary injunction against the federal administration’s “public charge rule,” which has already affected how immigrants are accessing public benefits.
Schools and Communities First
CDT ally UFCW Western States Council — which represents 200,000 workers in California — has endorsed the Schools and Communities First ballot initiative. They join a long list of CDT partners, endorsed elected officials and allies supporting the initiative.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed appointed Suzy Loftus as the interim District Attorney until a permanent one is elected November 5, 2019. Loftus, who most recently served as legal counsel to the San Francisco sheriff, is a candidate for the permanent District Attorney seat, and her appointment so close to the election has generated both controversy and greater attention to the whole field of candidates. California Donor Table has endorsed progressive reformer Chesa Boudin, currently a public defender, for San Francisco District Attorney. CDT partner Bay Area Rising Action is mobilizing in support of his candidacy.
The LA Times found that the Los Angeles Police Department searches Black and Latinx people more during traffic stops, but find more contraband when searching white people. “To some community activists and academics, the numbers heighten concerns that the LAPD could be singling out blacks and Latinos for invasive searches, damaging relationships with minority residents that the department has worked to strengthen since the dark days after the 1992 riots.”
California is behind on meeting its 2030 and 2050 climate change goals. A study found that, despite progress on clean technology, greenhouse gas emissions are up from transportation, wildfires and landfills. California “needs a range of policy tools in every sector in order to meet its 2030 and 2050 goals,” with special attention to the connection between housing and transportation.
Greta Thurnberg has received a lot of media attention for her climate activism, but she’s just one of the young voices advocating for urgent action. Vox profiles seven young environmental justice advocates of color — who range from 12- to 18-years-old — from across the U.S. who are leading the movement.
A panel of local pundits dives into the Central Valley congressional races, looking at how Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria (a priority candidate for CDT partner Communities for a New California, CNC) is gaining ground on moderate Democrat incumbent Jim Costa in CD16 and how progressives will need to mobilize voters to unseat Devin Nunes in CD22.
Duncan Hunter’s trial has been pushed back until January 22. Hunter is trying to get the case thrown out on constitutional grounds, but early polling has already shown his legal troubles translating into less support in CD50. CDT continues to support Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar in his second bid to challenge Hunter and defeat the growing field of strong Republican challengers.