Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

No union for Capitol staff + Immigrant day of action + Democratic Party chair candidates

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, has introduced a bill that would allow legislative staff to unionize.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, has introduced a bill that would allow legislative staff to unionize. The Associated Press

Good Monday morning alerters! I hope you enjoyed your weekend. Let’s get to it.

The Assembly gavels in at 1 p.m. today, the Senate at 2 p.m.


Democratic presidential hopefuls Julían Castro and Bernie Sanders both supported their campaign staff’s decision to unionize this year.

“It’s not enough to talk the talk. You have to walk the walk,” Castro tweeted on May 9, saying that he was “proud” of the unionizing.

The Democratic-led California Assembly did not take their lead.

For the second time in two years, a bill that would have let California legislative staff join unions did not get a vote on the Assembly floor.

“Tomorrow our #AB969 to finally give #CAleg staff the right to form a union will be heard in the Asm. #PublicEmployment & Retirement Committee,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted on April 23, linking a Sac Bee editorial from a year prior that explained her first attempt at the legislation. “We expect companies to let workers join a #union. So why not their own staff?”

AB 969 immediately failed, despite the San Diego Democrat’s work to earn 12 coauthors —Assembly members Tasha Boerner Horvath, Todd Gloria, Ash Kalra, Kevin McCarty, Rudy Salas, Mark Stone, Rob Bonta, Wendy Carrillo, Sabrina Cervantes, Christy Smith, Phillip Ting, and Buffy Wicks.

Gonzalez said she’ll renew efforts next year, with the goal to get 15 cosponsors to help Capitol Lege staff who “deserve a voice on the job.”


Two proposals to expand Medi-Cal to undocumented adults passed their respective Appropriations committees last week. As Capital Public Radio reported, Senate Bill 29 would now apply only to young adults and seniors, and Assembly Bill 4 faces potential budget amendments.

To rally support for the expansions, state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblywomen Blanca Rubio of Baldwin Park and Eloise Gomez Reyes of Grand Terrace are promoting SB 29 and AB 4 today as past of the California Immigrant Policy Center’s “day of action.”

The lawmakers will also highlight Assembly Bill 1593, which would expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit to all taxpayers regardless of immigration status.

A coalition of young immigrant advocates in California wrote a letter asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to prioritize undocumented elders.

“As young adults, we feel strongly about the urgency to address the health crisis by addressing the initial need in our community and covering elders first,” the UndocuHealth leaders wrote. “They are our most vulnerable and in need.”

The rally is scheduled for 9 a.m. on the North Steps of the Capitol.


The California Democratic Party announced on Friday the final list of seven candidates competing to lead the party. Elections are scheduled for June 1 during the state party convention in San Francisco. The new chair will be announced on Sunday, according to a press statement listing the final contenders.

And the final seven are:

  • Lenore Albert
  • Kimberly Ellis
  • Rusty Hicks
  • Mike Katz-Lacabe
  • Daraka Larimore-Hall
  • Rita Ramirez
  • Mike Saifie

“We have a solid group of candidates for Chair,” said acting chair Alexandra Gallardo Rooker. “I expect the delegates to be fired up as they hear each candidates’ platform and their plans to right the wrongs of the Trump administration by leading this great party to victories in 2020.”


Duran’s tweet follows the San Francisco County Superior Court’s urging of Attorney General Xavier Becerra to comply with Senate Bill 1421, which requires the Department of Justice to make police misconduct records public. Becerra did not immediately provide records prior to Jan. 1, 2019 and cited ongoing court challenges for the delay.

“Transparency and accountability in policing are fundamental components to building safe and secure communities for all Californians,” Becerra released in a statement. “With this court’s ruling, my office now has much of the clarity we have sought in our efforts to appropriately follow the letter of the law.”

Best of The Bee:

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.