Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Housing bill debate gets personal + Enhancing immigration protections + Capitol arts day

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is the author of Senate Bill 35. The bill would create a process for streamlined approval of housing projects.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is the author of Senate Bill 35. The bill would create a process for streamlined approval of housing projects. The Associated Press

Good morning — It’s heating up outside and in the Capitol. Ideas, tips, recipe and book suggestions? Send ‘em my way.


That’s what Reverend Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP, called a recent mailer and TV ad sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation that aims to discredit state Sen. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 50.

The San Francisco Democrat’s proposal allows developers to sidestep zoning restrictions to build multi-family housing in “transit-rich” and “job-rich” areas. Wiener said the bill would create much-needed housing near job centers and public transportation and would not displace community members already living in those areas.

The flyer includes a photo of James Baldwin, an African American author, and a quote — “Urban renewal means Negro removal” — next to his face.

Wiener originally responded with a tweet calling the mailer “baseless, offensive” and the foundation a “fake nonprofit” that “uses HIV healthcare funds for politics and to settle political scores.”

The senator also held a press conference on Monday morning, where NAACP members and San Francisco community leaders denounced the group’s “antics” as “atrocious,” “offensive,” and “irrelevant.”

“We need to put the brakes on and stop this political chicanery,” Brown said, before targeting the foundation’s founder and CEO, Michael Weinstein, who just launched a new rent-control ballot initiative.

“Which is not about the people’s progress but about the petty, private political interests of one person at a certain group,” Brown continued.

“Please take notice that your exploits, that your antics and your offense is something that is truly beyond the pale,” said Andrea Shorter, a commissioner on San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women. “How dare you?”

But all signs point to a continued battle ahead, after the foundation responded to Wiener’s pushback in a Housing is a Human Right article on Monday.

“For years, code words have been used to hide the fact that gentrification and displacement are devastating communities of color,” said former AHF board chair and current Board Vice Chair Cynthia Davis. “Whether it’s ‘urban renewal’ or ‘revitalization,’ it’s all the same. AHF’s mailer uncovers that harmful sleight of hand.”


California has already solidified itself as an immigrant-friendly state. Past legislation, including Senate Bill 54 from 2017, limits how much law enforcement can work with federal immigration authorities. Undocumented minors receive state-funded healthcare and millions in the state budget are allocated to protect undocumented students and families.

But a handful of lawmakers are pushing bills that would strengthen California’s sanctuary status, beginning with Assembly Bill 1332.

The proposal prohibits state, city and county agencies from entering into or creating a new contract with third-party vendors that offer “extreme vetting,” data brokering and detention facility support to immigration agencies.

“This bill is what any consumer does when they decide where they want to spend their money,” Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Alameda and the author of the measure, told The Bee. “Right now we don’t believe as a state in the mission of assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement with detention and removal and deportations of our people.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, is using Assembly Bill 1747 to clarify certain data-sharing elements of the current sanctuary law, with a specific focus on information maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles — like birthdays, addresses and photos.

Fellow Assembly Democrat Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles, wants to make sure that an immigrant seeking legal help is protected from fraudulent or incompetent individuals who are selling their services. Assembly Bill 1753 makes it illegal to provide such aid unless a person is a licensed attorney or paralegal acting under supervision.

All three bills are up in the Assembly Committee on Judiciary at 8 a.m.


This year is the first Arts, Culture and Creativity Month in California, and creative minds are headed to the Capitol today to fight for financial support for art education programs.

More than a dozen speakers — including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Democratic state Senators Bob Hertzberg and Ben Allen, as well as Native American artist Stan Padilla and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg — are scheduled to advocate for arts and culture initiatives.

Group members will also meet with other legislators to push support for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s funding initiatives, to promote the arts as “creative solutions to pressing societal issues,” to ask for early childhood resources, to ensure pending and existing legislation that expands arts programs are promoted and to urge a vote for Assembly Bill 398. Assemblyman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, is sponsoring the proposal, which requires schools to collect and report arts education data.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, on the South Side of the lawn.

Psst, there will be donuts.

Happening today A group of lawmakers is meeting with actresses Evan Rachel Wood and Esmé Bianco to advocate for Senate Bill 273 and Assembly Bill 1029, the Domestic Violence Protection Act. Survivors will share their stories and urge support for the bills, which increase the statute of limitations for domestic violence felonies and also mandate new training for officers who work with survivors.

State Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, and Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, and Blanca Rubio, also of Baldwin Park, are holding a press conference at 9:30 a.m. in Room 1190.

For your radar —A couple of interesting bills are up in committee today.

  • Assembly Bill 161 — Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, wants Californians to skip the slip. The bill requires businesses, by 2022, to make electronic receipts the norm. Customers would have to ask for a hard copy. (Hearing is at 1:30 p.m. in the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee)
  • Senate Bill 230 — Sen. Anna Caballero’s bill came out of failed discussions between lawmakers and law enforcement organizations working to reform use of force guidelines last year. While Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, is retrying her Assembly Bill 392, which raises the deadly force standard from “reasonable” to “necessary,” SB 230 instead focuses on training and consistent policies. (Hearing is at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Public Safety Committee)
  • Assembly Bills 241, 242 and 243 — In efforts to address how implicit bias affects the healthcare, judicial system and law enforcement systems, Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Los Angeles, is sponsoring legislation that requires medical professionals, judges and peace offers to complete training that helps workers unpack how internal beliefs affect their work. (AB 241’s hearing is at 9:30 a.m. in the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions, AB 242 is up at 8 a.m. in the Committee on Judiciary and AB 243 will be heard in the Committee on Public Safety at 9 a.m.)


April 23 — Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley

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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.