The Take: As session wanes, legislative antics will be missed

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The legislators’ session is winding down, and, truthfully, we will miss them when they’re gone. They’re so much fun to watch. We turn to asset forfeiture, a fascinating bill by Sen. Ricardo Lara that raises First Amendment issues, and Jerry Brown’s call to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret (Hey, Margaret!) Mims.

Take that

Sen. Ricardo Lara stirred Christian conservatives with his SB 1146, which started out as broad attempt to restrict how Christian colleges treat gay students.

The colleges, which had never been engaged in politics before, responded by placing $350,000 in a political action committee. They also tried to hire a lobbyist.

Lara, who is gay and a Catholic, concluded the issue is complicated and altered the bill to require greater disclosure by the colleges about their policies and to report to the state about any expulsions. Now, the colleges support it. But more is coming.

“I heard many folks in the ‘Third House’ who didn’t take them as a client because they don’t agree with them,” Lara told me Thursday. “They couldn’t find representation. … It’s kind of fascinating to see the moral high ground in the Third House.”

Maybe lobbyists were taking moral high ground by declining to represent the Christian colleges, although seemingly anyone can find a lobbyist in Sacramento, from the Church of Scientology to porn producers. Maybe lobbyists understand that Lara, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, arguably is the second most powerful member of the upper house. Why antagonize him?

Take a number: $26.6 million

Students at seven religious schools that might be affected by Sen. Ricardo Lara’s anti-discrimination legislation have received $26.6 million in Cal Grants. The schools include Biola University, Fresno Pacific University, Loma Linda University, Pacific Union College, The Master’s College, Simpson University and William Jessup University in Rocklin. Assemblyman Evan Low carried legislation challenging their right to receive Cal Grants. Look for a version of his bill in 2017.

Our take

Editorial: Hey, Margaret! Sorry to hear about the scolding Gov. Jerry Brown gave you for trying to undercut his Proposition 57. But it got us to thinking.

Editorial: Of all the wrongs meted out by the criminal justice system, few are more unfair to poor, mostly minority Americans than the way police abuse civil asset forfeiture laws. Sen. Holly Mitchell’s bill will help fix it.

Amanda L. Tyler writes that Mitsuye Endo of Sacramento should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her choice to sacrifice her personal freedom in order to pursue her case on behalf of Japanese Americans interned at World War II relocation camps.

Paul G. Mattiuzzi, an expert in diagnosing disturbances of mind, emotion and character, says Donald Trump does not have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but ...

Ben Boychuk: Courts stymie school reform efforts.

Harlan Seymour: Don’t suspend California’s new aid-in-dying law.

Ian Adams: Self-driving cars could cut parking revenue.

Their take

Orange County Register: The most significant question facing Republicans coming out of the presidential election is how much influence Donald Trump will have on their party’s national character. The answer may come in the unlikeliest of forms: a primary challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Mercury News: The Brock Turner-inspired rape penalty bills need to be passed and signed.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Sacramento remains something of a black hole when it comes to lawmaking. Proposition 54 will help by shedding light on the process.

Raleigh News & Observer: You may recall Duke Energy from the bad old energy crisis days. Here’s a update on what it’s doing now – trying to get a reporter’s source for an unflattering story about coal ash ponds.

Charlie Cook, National Journal: It’s doubtful that Donald Trump will alienate many of his core supporters with his attempted rhetorical and substantive walk-back, but he won’t win over many new backers with this maneuver.

Syndicates’ take

Charles Krauthammer: The bribery standard.

Michael Gerson: Donald Trump’s repellent inner circle.

Eugene Robinson: Donald Trump’s con on immigration is up.

Dana Milbank: Donald Trump’s new loose cannon.

Nicholas Kristof: Today, Anne Frank would be a Syrian refugee.

So long to a gentleman

Greg Schmidt, the classy, funny, intelligent, thoughtful gentleman who loved the Senate and our state, died Wednesday night. Those of us who were lucky enough to have known the Senate’s chief administrator know what a loss his passing is.