‘Time for the individual mandate.’ How Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to expand health care
Good morning, California! Another hot week ahead of us. Let’s get to it.
The Assembly gavels in at 1 p.m., the Senate an hour later.
Gov. Gavin Newsom will get to sign his first budget on time.
His administration and the Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee late Sunday released details of their 2019-20 spending plan. That sets the Legislature up for a final vote on the $213 billion package before the state’s June 15 deadline.
Newsom got a lot of what he wanted, but with some adjustments.
For instance, the deal does not include a monthly fee on California water bills to pay for upgrades in communities with unhealthy drinking water sources. But, the spending pact includes $130 million to start the work next year and it commits to a decade of drinking water projects.
That lets lawmakers avoid voting on a new tax on drinking water, while still addressing the needs of 1 million Californians who have to buy bottled water because they have contaminated water sources.
The money will come in part from the state’s cap-and-trade fund, which is money meant to fight man-made climate change by paying for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, asked Newsom’s budget writer how the administration could justify taking global warming money to pay for drinking water.
Answer: “In these communities where there isn’t access to safe drinking water, you’re often bringing in bottled water, you’re trucking in water that’s safe to drink and all of these have emissions impacts,” said Vivek Viswanathan, Newsom’s budget director. “We believe these investments not only help those communities by giving them safe drinking water but also fulfill the goals of the Cap and Trade program.”
Early headlines from the budget deal focused on the state’s expansion of Medi-Cal to young undocumented immigrants, which will cost about $98 million a year. The pact also reinstates a penalty for Californians who don’t buy health insuranes, and uses money raised from this fines to pay for health insurance subsidies.
Some deals are still forthcoming. The budget includes a placeholder indicating lawmakers are on board with Newsom’s plan to triple spending on the earned income tax credit to $1.2 billion, but it’s contingent on the Legislature passing other bills to authorize the expansion.
CALLING ALL APPLICANTS
The U.S. Census is around the corner, and California is busy preparing for the official count, which the federal government uses to dish out money and Congressional seats.
State Auditor Elaine M. Howle’s office is opening applications today for its 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission and is holding a press conference this morning at 9:30 to announce the launch.
The application is open until August 9, and is a “once-in-a-decade opportunity that gives citizens a chance to create fair, non-partisan districts based on the 2020 Census.”
Fourteen members will be selected to redraw district lines for Congress, state Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization seats.
The application process considers demographic data, such as region, political affiliation, ethnicity and gender. Learn more about or apply for the commission here.
June 10 — State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa
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