Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Voters’ voice on death penalty + Sac teachers strike + Newsom’s El Salvador trip takeaways

Hannah Wiley here. I’m back! I didn’t miss much did I? Catch me up:

Senate and Assembly sessions begins at 9 a.m.


Californians are divided on the answer. According to a Quinnipiac University Poll released this morning, 41 percent of likely voters in the state prefer the death penalty for people convicted of murder to 48 percent who’d rather see a prisoner serve a life sentence without parole.

In an almost mirror image of each other, 68 percent of Republicans prefer the death penalty, while 69 percent of Democrats oppose it.

And to throw some more divided numbers at you, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to end the death penalty in March hasn’t landed on solid ground with voters yet. Fewer than half of voters support his decision, and a similar share of voters opposes it.

“The governor has spoken, but California voters are closely divided on whether to put the lights back on in San Quentin’s death chamber 13 years after the last execution,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of Quinnipiac.

Overall, Newsom’s earned a lukewarm 40 percent nod of approval at this point from voters. Thirty-three percent remain undecided.

Some final numbers — and then I’ve met my math quota for the day.

  • U.S. Sens. Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris — each received a 47 percent approval rate.

  • Sanctuary cities — 46 percent stand behind California’s immigrant protections, while 47 percent support working with immigration authorities.

  • Hose racing — 55 percent of voters said they’d support creating a panel to investigate a slew of racing horse deaths in California in recent months


A majority of Sacramento City Unified School District’s 2,500 teachers are poised to strike today after union members approved the one-day walkout last month.

It takes Sacramento teachers 26 years to touch the top of the pay scale, and union members want to speed up the timeline. Meanwhile, the school district is strapped for cash, operating under a $35 million budget gap and facing bankruptcy.

Sacramento is the latest city to join a wave of strikes throughout the state, where teachers up and down California have demanded raises and better working conditions by walking out of their classrooms and taking to protesting this year.

Los Angeles teachers led a week-long strike in January and Oakland educators similarly walked out for seven days at the end of February. Both protests resulted in salary increases and district promises to better support teachers and their needs in the classrooms.


Newsom landed back in California yesterday following his three-day “fact-checking” excursion in El Salvador.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump purged top officials in the Department of Homeland Security following a frustrating month for the anti-immigration administration. Border apprehensions are high, Trump faces court battles over securing funding for his wall and cabinet officials are falling short of the president’s tough-on-immigration expectations.

So what’d Newsom learn?

In his own words:

“While the Trump Administration abdicates its responsibility in the region, California punches above its weight class,” he said. “We will be part of a multi-lateral solution.”

Pray tell, Newsom.

“In response, the governor announced action to bolster immigration relief, through family reunification services and holistic legal representation for immigrants and asylum seekers in California,” a press statement read. “The governor also announced his support for H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, which provides an opportunity for permanent status and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Permanent Status (TPS) holders and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients.”


April 12 — Sen. Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park


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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.