Capitol Alert

Gut and amending + Dems rally for housing $ + Free frozen treats

The state Capitol glows in the early evening in Sacramento.
The state Capitol glows in the early evening in Sacramento. AP file


It’s the final week of session and time for a staple of California politics, in which lawmakers replace the whole contents of bills with proposals on entirely new subjects.

As the week begins, here are a couple of “gut and amends” worth highlighting:

Assembly Bill 1184 used to be about increased reporting from the Air Resources Board to the Legislature. But now, with the stroke of a pen (and several erasers) it has magically transformed into a tax on something that has yet to exist: Autonomous vehicle ride sharing.

This bill would authorize the city and county of San Francisco to impose a tax of up to 3.25 percent on each ride provided by an autonomous vehicle, whether it’s facilitated by a transportation company or an individual. San Francisco Assemblymen David Chiu and Phil Ting are listed as the remaining authors of the proposed amendments.

Assembly Bill 2215 stuck with the same general topic, but took on a very new meaning. It originally set out to expand commercial adult-use cannabis activity. Now it authorizes the Veterinary Medical Board to revoke or suspend a veterinarian’s license if they discuss medicinal cannabis with a client while simultaneously working for a licensed organization selling pot.


A group of Democratic elected officials are participating in a regional rally at 11 a.m. today in support of Propositions 1 and 2 .

The first is a $4 billion bond measure for housing; the second gives counties the ability to use money from Proposition 63’s “millionaire’s tax” for permanent homeless housing.

The event is at the Veterans Memorial in Capitol Park and features Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna.


UC Center Sacramento is hosting a panel discussion from 3-5 p.m. on Tuesday, highlighting California’s response to the Trump administration tax cuts approved last year. A pair of professors from UCLA and UC Davis will provide an overview of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and provide analysis on the state’s reaction to capping the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction at $10,000.


Here’s a chilling reminder. At noon today on the north steps of the Capitol, a couple environmental groups will hold a lunch hour gathering to rally support behind Senate Bill 1017 — which would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife DFW to develop a voluntary program for getting rid of drift gill net permits by March 31, 2020. Event organizers will be giving away free samples of Merlino’s Freeze.


State Sen. Kevin de León (@kdeleon) — “When @DianneFeinstein last got on a debate stage, she blamed immigrants for our economic woes, supported the death penalty, and thought a wall on the southern border wasn’t a terrible idea. #CA has changed in the last two decades. It’s time for a new debate, and better choices.”


Is there middle ground on California health care? Influencers have plenty to say.

“Gavin Newsom’s call for a single-payer health care system is a noble goal with significant challenges. First, there is the cost that will strain an already-strained state budget. Second, the state must obtain a waiver from the federal government, which will be extraordinarily difficult during the Trump administration. Third, the state must have the demonstrated administrative capacity to design and carry out an implementation plan. Perhaps an intermediate step would be for Governor Newsom to focus on providing coverage for California’s remaining uninsured population. Closing the insurance gap would assist thousands of Californians while not presupposing a significant effort to achieve single-payer.”

Janet Napolitano, President, University of California

MUST-READ: Republicans kill California bill giving legislative leaders more campaign cash


The Bee’s Editorial Board says California should commit to 100 percent clean energy.

Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution research fellow and former speechwriter for Gov. Pete Wilson, says the successor to Gov. Jerry Brown should have the qualities of former Secretary of State George Shultz.

Charlie Hoppin, former chairman of the State Water Resources Control Board, believes the new clean water bill is a nightmare for local agencies.

Neil McCormick, CEO of the California Special Districts Association, thinks an obscure state commission is responsible for increased utility rates.

David Townsend, founder of Townsend Raimundo Besler, a public affairs firm in Sacramento, says single-payer health care shows Democrats can adopt policies he considers extreme.

Daniel Zingale, vice president of the California Endowment, thinks policies from the Legislature and Washington, D.C. contribute to both random and deliberate causes of poor health.


Jack Ohman highlights struggles with rising DMV wait times.