Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Budget deadline + SCOTUS decision day + CBD infused everything + Becerra’s ‘gag rule’ battle

One of the most popular products for CBD users is tincture, a liquid form of cannabidiol.
One of the most popular products for CBD users is tincture, a liquid form of cannabidiol.

Happy Thursday and end of the legislative week, California! I’m that person who walks into a sports bar and asks the manager to turn on the presidential debate.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Rise and shine, the Assembly kicks off session a half hour earlier at 8:30 a.m. The Senate is sleeping in until a normal 9 a.m. session.


Gov. Gavin Newsom has until 11:59 p.m. tonight to sign his first state budget. The $214.8 billion spending plan lawmakers sent to him reflects a lot of what he asked for, but they’re still working out the fine points of a housing plan.


The U.S. Supreme Court today is expected to hand down some of the biggest decisions of the year before it breaks for summer recess. Newsom and other California leaders will be watching to see whether the court allows the Trump administration to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. California has sued to block the question, and Democrats worry that it could discourage people from participating in the once-a-decade count.


A memorial service for fallen Sacramento police officer Tara O’Sullivan is today and you may notice a procession in her honor on highways around Sacramento. She was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence disturbance call on June 19.

Her memorial procession will span 35 miles from Elk Grove to Roseville and back for her service. Around 500 law enforcement vehicles are expected to join it in paying last respects to the 26-year-old.


California lawmakers say it’s time to make it easier to buy cannabidiol products, now that the hemp-derived oil is in everything these days ⁠— chocolate, gummy bears, lotions, pet food, bath bombs (yes, really).

Assembly Bill 228 unanimously passed the Senate Business and Professions Committee on a bipartisan vote Monday, and carries an urgency clause that would kick start the proposed law if Gov. Newsom decides to sign it.

The bill, written by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, said the legislation would reduce barriers to purchasing CBD food, drink and cosmetic products. If it passes, the proposal could help retailers who say they’ve lost thousands of dollars in sales due to regulations against selling CBD-infused food, supplements and topical ointments.

The measure carries a list of supporters, including local governments, who tout CBD’s benefits that range from aiding inflammation, to alleviating epilepsy, vomiting, nausea and anxiety.

“Many people have been purchasing hemp-derived CBD products at their local natural foods shops, fitness centers, and health stores for some time,” she wrote in the bill analysis. “AB 228 is an opportunity to make it easier for citizens to access these nonintoxicating, alternative products.”


Six days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined the federal government could deny funding to health clinics that offer abortion referrals, Attorney General Xavier Becerra petitioned the court on Wednesday to reconsider the decision.

California is among a coalition of 20 states that originally sued the Trump administration’s so-called “gag rule,” and had won in district courts to temporarily block the rule. California health centers received $20 million to serve 1 million patients in 2017, as The Bee noted.

“If this administration’s unlawful Title X rule goes into effect, women’s access to reproductive care including abortion will be compromised and our state’s public health and fiscal integrity damaged,” Becerra said in a statement on Wednesday.

Jennifer Wonnacott, a spokeswoman with Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said the organization will use emergency funds while California continues its legal battle.


Now that Tuolumne County opted in to the Voter’s Choice Act, more than half of the state’s voters will automatically receive a ballot for next November’s elections in the mail.

The act passed in 2016, and serves as a new model to allow voters more options to fulfill their civic duty. It specifically mails every voter a ballot, expands in-person early voting and lets a voter drop off a ballot at any of their official county voting centers.

Tuolumne joins 13 other counties ⁠— Amador, Butte, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sacramento, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento and San Mateo first used the model in 2018, and reported turnout numbers higher than the statewide rate of 64.5 percent.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said the Voter’s Choice Act offers an “improved elections experience” for voters, and offers the “flexibility working voters need.”


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.