Capitol Alert

Abortion access on campus + Capitol immigration protest + Republicans ask Becerra to fight Big Tech

Pro-choice activists hold placards during a rally at the Supreme Court in reaction to the passage of bills in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and other states that restrict access to abortion on May 21, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Pro-choice activists hold placards during a rally at the Supreme Court in reaction to the passage of bills in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and other states that restrict access to abortion on May 21, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS) Abaca Press/TNS

Happy Wednesday, California! Hannah Wiley here, back in your inboxes and excited to bring you end-of-session madness updates.

Senate kicks off its floor session at 10 a.m.

‘TRUST STUDENTS’

A coalition of student activists gathered in support of a bill to increase access to abortion care on college campuses yesterday at the Capitol.

“Trust students, and pass SB 24,” they called out, as music pumped across the West lawn and pink balloons decorated their signs. Joining them were pro-choice advocacy groups like NARAL and university alumni who shared personal stories to support the bill.

“I was forced to go to an off-campus provider for care because my student health center did not provide medication abortion on campus. That’s not how it should be. That’s not reproductive equity and that’s certainly not reproductive justice,” said Zoe Murray, a 23-year-old University of California Santa Barbara alum who said she had an abortion her sophomore year.

Joining Murray and the activists was Senate Bill 24 author Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

The bill would by January 2023 require the University of California and California State University systems to offer medication abortion at on-campus clinics and would establish the College Student Health Center Sexual and Reproductive Health Preparation Fund.

Advocates for the measure say it’s important college women have close access to care so they don’t miss work or class, or risk facing criticism and stigma while in an unfamiliar community.

“We know that right now, access to having an abortion is under attack across this country. We know that California is always a leader on things that matter. We will continue to lead,” Leyva said.

SB 24 is Leyva’s third attempt to get the bill passed, after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation.

“According to a study sponsored by supporters of this legislation, the average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles, not an unreasonable distance,” he wrote in his veto message, included in the bill analysis. “Because the services required by this bill are widely available off campus, this bill is not necessary.”

But the trio of powerful lawmakers on Tuesday said the legislation would empower California students who might need help affording and having access to reproductive services.

“In my life, I was a businesswoman, I was a United States ambassador, and I’m the first woman ever elected lieutenant governor of California,” Kounalakis said. “I am keenly aware that in my life, I would not have been able to do these things had I not had control over my own reproductive choices. This is the key element of liberating women.”

MARCH FIRST, LEGISLATE LATER

On the heels of California’s 13th lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, Capitol lawmakers are marching this morning to protest White House decisions that affect immigrants.

Remind me — Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued to block Trump’s “public charge” rule, which would make it harder for immigrants seeking a green card to get one if they’re likely to use public benefits.

The duo announced days later that they’d take the administration to court over its decision to circumvent a 1997 law that prohibits the detention of migrant children for longer than 20 days.

Previously, California sued the federal government in order to protect its sanctuary state policies, block Trump’s so-called Muslim travel ban, halt border wall construction and kill the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The group of legislators, including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, David Chiu, Mike Gipson, Lorena Gonzalez, Shirley Weber and state Sens. Ben Allen and Marie Elena Durazo, plan to march near the Capitol.

They’re scheduled to start at 9:00 this morning on the North steps and will march to the John Moss Federal Building.

JOIN ‘EM

A group of Republican Assemblymen plan to introduce a joint resolution that urges Attorney General Xavier Becerra to partner with other attorneys general in the fight against the “monopolistic powers of giant tech companies.”

The joint resolution is supported by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit tech advocacy group, and calls on Becerra to enforce federal antitrust laws that regulate big tech, according to a press statement. The resolution targets Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, and asks Becerra to uphold federal action to increase competition, keep prices down and remove barriers to market entry in the tech sector.

“Federal antitrust laws are ill-equipped to take on modern monopolies that quash competition and innovation without increasing prices,” said Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo County, who is behind a package of privacy bills that take aim at large tech companies.

“It is our hope that Congress continues to push forward, but we need action here at the state level as well. We encourage Attorney General Becerra to work with other attorneys general to investigate and collect evidence, and provide that information to the Legislature to inform our next steps to amend California’s antitrust statutes.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Sept. 1 — Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward

Sept. 2 — Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego

Sept. 3 — Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance

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Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
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