Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

What Bernie’s debt plan means for California + Unions rally for health care bills + A fur ban

Top of the Tuesday morning, California! Tips, comments, feedback, favorite summer fruit salad recipe? You know where to find me:


Presidential hopefuls are rolling out policy proposals at a more rapid rate these days, and so far they’ve got a lot of big ideas.

Like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ promise to cancel $1.6 trillion in student debt for 45 million borrowers in the United States. As part of the College for All and Cancel All Student Debt plan announced on Monday, Sanders would make public institutions free, invest in historically black colleges and universities, increase funding for low-income students and tax Wall Street to help finance the sweeping proposal.

Graduates in every state would feel the effects of the plan a bit differently, according to the average student debt burden and costs of public institutions across the country.

California numbers.

  • Half of California graduates leave school burdened by an average $22,785 in debt, according to The Institute for College Access and Success.

  • Nearly 4 million California borrowers owe $134 billion in student loans.

  • A year at UC today costs $14,400, up from an inflation-adjusted $2,200 in 1979.

  • California State University charges students $7,300 a year, up from an inflation-adjusted $500 from 40 years ago.

  • Students pay $14,000 in ancillary costs per year, with the bulk going toward food and housing.

Woah — According to the campaign, two-thirds of all U.S. student debt is held by women, 35 percent of Latino students who enrolled in 2003 defaulted on their loans and black students are burdened by loans at a greater disparity than their white peers. Sanders’ team also said 3 million older Americans are using their Social Security checks to chip away at their debt.

“The American people deserve freedom — true freedom,” Sanders said. “You are not truly free when you graduate college with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt hanging around your neck.”


A group of lawmakers touting health care reform bills are joining members of the Service Employees International Union to urge support for their legislation..

Using a “giant map” to showcase how much health care costs throughout the state, members are expected to share their personal stories of how the prices are “crushing their California dreams.”

Assemblymen Ash Kalra, Miguel Santiago and Jim Wood will join state Sens. Connie Leyva and Richard Pan for the event to urge support for:

  • Assembly Bill 731 ⁠— Kalra’s bill would require large group health plan contracts or health insurance policies to file rate information to the Department of Manged Health Care or the California Department of Insurance. The union said the bill “demands greater transparency from health insurers so workers and employers know where their money is going and why premiums are soaring.”

  • Senate Bill 343 ⁠— Kaiser Permanente hospitals would have to report data as individual entities, rather than as a group, if Pan’s proposal passes.
  • Assembly Bill 1611 ⁠— Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco introduced this legislation to protect patients against surprise costs after a trip to the emergency room.
  • Assembly Bill 824 ⁠— Wood, the Assembly Health Committee chair, said his measure is necessary because it would stop the “pay-for-delay” tactic that brand-name drug companies use to stymie the introduction of cheaper generic drugs.
  • Senate Bill 227 ⁠— California hospitals are ignoring nurse-to-patient ratio requirements, according to Leyva, which is what this legislation aims to remedy by enforcing staffing requirements.

The coalition of legislators and union organizes are scheduled to gather on the North Steps at 10 a.m., ahead of the Assembly Health Committee hearing at 1:30 p.m.


Today the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee is scheduled to hear Assembly Bill 44, a proposal to prohibit selling and manufacturing fur products in California.

The bill’s author, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, said California should have no part in an industry that “puts animals through such suffering for nonessential ends.”

“As a state always on the cutting edge of technology and innovation, we should encourage this shift,” she wrote in the bill analysis. “Fur will always require the cruel and archaic confining, trapping and killing of animals solely for their fur, which must then be preserved with toxic chemicals.”

But the Fur Information Council of America is holding a press conference at 8:30 a.m. to detail its opposition to AB 44.

Among the group’s complaints is that the fur industry is already highly regulated, and members would rather see an independently monitored certification program they’re calling FURMARK that would heighten animal welfare standards. The group said it would rescind its opposition if the amendment is considered.

The briefing will be at 1127 11th St., Suite 523 in Sacramento, and the call-in number is 916-620-9710.

For your radar Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao, Claire and Frank Underwood (House of Cards, anyone?)...Brian and Megan Dahle?

Mrs. Dahle is running to fill her husband’s vacant Assembly 1 seat, and announced on Monday a handful of endorsements from sheriffs supporting her bid.

Mr. Dahle now serves as a state senator for the district, after he won his race against Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, in a special election early this month. The special election for Dahle’s former gig is scheduled for Nov. 5, 2019.


June 25 ⁠— Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson


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.