Capitol Alert

Abortion rights group wants California to offer a ‘trust women’ license plate

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Proponents call it pro-choice. Opponents say it’s pro-abortion.

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, is pushing a bill to create a special license plate bearing the words “California Trusts Women.” Senate Bill 309 directs proceeds from the optional plate, which would initially cost $50, to an existing state program that offers family planning services to low-income men and women. The program does not pay for abortions, but provides funding for providers including Planned Parenthood who offer pre-natal care, contraceptives, cancer screenings and other reproductive health services.

Jackson cast the bill, sponsored by the abortion rights advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice California, as a response to the Trump administration’s cuts to Planned Parenthood and threats to “continue to erode critical federal funding for reproductive health care services.”

Defenders of the organization have long pointed out that federal dollars do not pay for abortions and Republicans in Washington are instead reducing access to cancer screenings, birth control, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and other health care options.

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and more than two dozen other organizations support the bill, which is currently on the Senate Appropriations suspense file. Jackson’s office unveiled three potential designs this week, asking Californians to vote on their favorite.

“SB 309 will provide a way for Californians who are deeply troubled by the federal attack on women’s rights and health care to take their values ‘to the street’ while providing a vital funding mechanism for California’s network of reproductive health care providers,” Jackson said in a statement.

Anti-abortion activists don’t see it that way. They say it’s only fair to offer an anti-abortion plate, too.

In a statement condemning the proposal, a group that goes by said the license plate would generate money to “kill pre-born babies.”

The California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic community, and the California ProLife Council also oppose the bill.

WORTH REPEATING: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, according to a report by The Washington Post

SECURE CHOICE: Despite setbacks in Washington, D.C., California is moving ahead with efforts to set up Secure Choice, a state-sponsored program that supporters say will offer a way for private-sector workers without employer-sponsored retirement plans to save. Republican-backed legislation repealing an Obama-era Department of Labor regulation meant to assist Secure Choice and similar programs became law Thursday without President Donald Trump’s signature. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who authored Senate Bill 1234 last year to create Secure Choice, and State Treasurer John Chiang are holding a press conference to explain their take on how the program will remain on track. The event begins at 10 a.m. in room 205 at the Capitol.

UC AUDIT: The University of California’s Board of Regents is expected to discuss the blistering state audit that criticized the university system’s leadership during the final day of its meeting in San Francisco Thursday. The audit singled out UC President Janet Napolitano’s office for excessive spending, overcharging campuses to fund operations and secretly stashing millions away in reserves, while raising tuition. Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva last week called on Napolitano to resign. The conversation is slated to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday at the UC San Francisco campus in Mission Bay.

CHRONIC CALIFORNIA: The latest player in the marijuana game? Capitol Weekly. The publication, led by editor John Howard, is hosting a day-long event Thursday focused on the state’s burgeoning legal marijuana market. Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, is the keynote speaker. Representatives from the United Food and Commercial Workers, Harborside Dispensary, California Cannabis Industry Association, California Police Chiefs Association and other groups will participate in panel discussions on a range of topics from taxation to the future of the industry. The conference begins at 9:15 a.m. at the Sacramento Historic Masonic Temple on J Street.

MUST READ: A Caltrans employee in Nevada County is one example of the upside of allergies. He’s getting a $3 million payout after claiming his supervisors harassed him by ignoring his documented allergies.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna