California lawmakers will push ahead on gun bills
Once again, gun control is on the agenda in Sacramento. Debate on the Senate floor today will center on a raft of bills that would regulate ammo sales, create a UC gun violence research center, prohibit “bullet buttons,” ban large-capacity magazines and require serial numbers for home-made “ghost guns.”
Given the liberal bent of the Senate, there shouldn’t be much suspense around whether the measures advance today. More interesting are the dynamics with other elected officials.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León, D-Los Angeles, has urged Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to back off with his ammo control ballot initiative, arguing it would discourage gun control bills. Senators will need to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown, who in recent years has vetoed a ban on some semi-automatic weapons and a “ghost guns” registration bill that was fairly similar to the current iteration, writing that “I can’t see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun would significantly advance public safety.” The Assembly has its own set of bills.
DEATH SENTENCE: Emotional death penalty hearings at the Capitol this week previewed the issue again illuminating the political firmament. Today proponents of a proposed November ballot measure to speed up death penalty cases – among them Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones – will hold a 10 a.m. press conference outside the Sacramento registrar’s office to announce they’ve got enough signatures to make the ballot. Advocates of ending capital punishment are still gathering signatures for their initiative.
CHANGE OF PLANS: Were you excited to see UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi speak to the Sacramento Press Club and explain that contract to bury bad Davis news? Sorry. Katehi, who’s on investigatory leave, has canceled. In lieu we’ll get a panel on presidential politics featuring Donald Trump’s California director Tim Clark, Bernie Sanders pollster Ben Tulchin, Hillary Clinton’s California director Buffy Wicks and #NeverTrump promoter Rob Stutzman. From 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Capital Plaza Ballroom.
ROADS AGE: Local governments have been imploring Sacramento to do something about transportation funding for some time now, though the political obstacles to Brown’s call to increase gas taxes or vehicle fees have so far proved too heavy. California State Association of Counties members, in town for their lobby day, will make the case for more money during a 10 a.m. press conference on the south steps.
CLIMATIZED: Even stripped of a mandate to reduce gas consumption, last year’s climate legislation was a big deal. Consider the vast cast of characters attending a two-day energy policy summit in Napa covering topics like how utilities will generate 50 percent of electricity from renewables and whether California should bind itself to other states in a shared regional market starting today. Expected speakers include Brown adviser Cliff Rechtschaffen, California Public Utilities Commission member Liane Randolph, California Energy Commission members Andrew McAllister and Rob Oglesby, and representatives of various industry organizations. The event is put on by the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, a nonprofit you may know better for sponsoring travel for legislators – most recently to Australia.
CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, who turns 66 today, and to Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, who marks his 46th.