Capitol Alert

Legislature gets suspenseful + Eleni goes to Mexico + Steyer falls short of debate

Hannah Wiley is out on vacation for the rest of the week. We’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday. Until then, here’s what you need to know.


Hundreds of bills will be up for consideration on Friday, as key budget committees determine whether 651 proposals should be lifted off of the suspense file. Lawmakers would then have until Sept. 13 to pass the bills. Here’s a few we’re watching:

  • AB 5: Codifies the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision from 2018 and aims to reclassify “independent contractors” as full-time workers with employment benefit
  • AB 302: Allows community college students to sleep in their cars on campus
  • AB 1482: Caps annual rent increases
  • SB 61: Bars people from buying more than one gun each month

  • SB 276: Require public health officials to approve exceptions to vaccination requirements

You might have noticed the gig economy drivers at the Capitol on Wednesday. Here’s a story by The Bee’s Sophia Bollag and Hannah Wiley on where things stand with AB 5 as industries ranging from health care to construction and newspapers seek exemptions from the proposed law that would define who’s an employee in California.


Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis will soon travel to Mexico on a business meeting. On the trip, she plans to ratify agreements between California and Mexico related to immigration, trade and climate change.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that he has reached an agreement with top Democratic leaders about a key charter school bill that he says “ensures that the fiscal and community impacts of charter schools on school districts are carefully considered.”


Billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer fell just shy of qualifying for the third Democratic presidential debate. His campaign reported getting the necessary 130,000 individual donors needed to make the debate stage, but he only polled at 2 percent in three qualifying surveys. The Democratic National Committee required candidates to get 2 percent in four eligible polls. Still, it’s possible Steyer can make his way onto the fourth debate if he crosses the polling threshold. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard fell two polls shy.

In a news release, Heather Hargreaves, Steyer’s campaign manager, expressed Steyer’s disappointment in the outcome and urged the DNC to expand their polling criteria to include more results from early states. Steyer did not reach 2 percent in a single national poll. Rather, he performed will in early-voting states.

Who didn’t make the debate? Ten candidates were left off the debate stage, including Steyer and Gabbard. On Wednesday, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, formally withdrew from the race.

What it means for you: You’ll likely see a full stack of 10 Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage. But instead of two nights of debates, all the candidates will appear on stage in a single night. If Steyer had qualified, the debates would’ve been broken up into two nights. So get ready for me interrupting and fighting for time! ABC News is hosting the debate on Thursday, Sept. 12.


One candidate who will be on the debate stage is Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar is running on a more moderate policy agenda and is hoping her sense of pragmatism will resonate with progressive California voters. She sat down with me for our “California Nation” podcast, which you can subscribe to wherever you get your podcasts. The show is out, and these are the five things you need to know about her as she campaigns in the Golden State.


Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego

“I guess @lyft wants you to oppose workers. Cute.”

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Bryan Anderson is a political reporter for The Bee. He covers the California Legislature and reports on wildfires and transportation. He also hosts The Bee’s “California Nation” podcast.