Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

DACA heads to the Supreme Court + Redistricting commissions + A final budget review

Good Monday morning, California! Thanks for kicking off your day with the Capitol Alert newsletter.

The Assembly gavels in at 1 p.m., the Senate an hour later.


The Supreme Court of the United States needs some time off after delivering two major decisions last week — one that stymies President Donald Trump’s efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, and one that allows political parties to draw congressional maps more or less as they please.

But once back in session this October, the court announced on Friday that it will consider a long-time-coming case against the federal government’s move to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

It’s been two years since Trump announced he’d end the program, a safety net for undocumented immigrants who arrived as children to the United States unlawfully.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit to challenge Trump’s plan for DACA in September 2017, and obtained a preliminary injunction to delay any action.

Since then, Becerra’s office reported that the federal government has approved nearly 375,000 renewal applications.

As of August 2018, there were 200,150 DACA recipients in California, according to Migration Policy Institute.

The president has tried to leverage DACA deals with Democrats in exchange for border wall funding, which led to the longest government shutdown in history that ended earlier this year.

Becerra told reporters during a Friday press call that the program participants are “integral to our communities and indispensable to our future economic success.”

“This administration tried to break the law to change the law, and that doesn’t fly,” Becerra said. “These recipients have not only demonstrated that they’re American through and through, but they’ve proven it by becoming doctors and lawyers and professors and teachers.”

Meanwhile — State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, announced legislation on Friday to allow Dreamers and immigrants to run for California Democratic Party Central Committees and state delegate positions.


Speaking of the nation’s highest court, state Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, was not happy with the judges’ decision not to regulate partisan gerrymandering in cases that originated from conflicts in Maryland and North Carolina.

Everyone’s excited about the rather tentative citizenship decision but the other big #SCOTUS decision of the day—rubber-stamping partisan gerrymandering—was arguably a bigger deal, and really bad news,” Allen tweeted on Friday.

Catch up In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 11 to establish redistricting commissions. Since then, 37 local governments have used established citizen commissions to redraw voting districts, according to the California Local Redistricting Project.

But Allen said counties have been too slow to adopt the practice, and redistricting power remains squarely in the hands of county supervisors instead of an independent citizen body.

Therefore, Senate Bill 139.

Allen’s proposal would force counties with 250,000 people to establish an independent commission, which with “allow a broader range of perspectives and voices to determine the boundaries’ shape,” he wrote in a bill analysis.

The bill passed the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee on a 6-0 vote and now heads to the Local Government Committee on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there’s still time to apply to join the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission, which will set boundaries for California’s congressional and legislative districts. The deadline is Aug. 9.


Finally, it’s signed. But if you’re still confused, here’s what we’ve got in California’s new $215 billion budget.

  • New taxes for some and less taxes for others though a sweeping set of new policies ranging from suspending sales taxes on diapers and tampons to fining people who don’t buy insurance.

  • Surplus money will help fill the state’s reserve counts with more than $19 billion.

  • Nearly a million Californians will get help paying their insurance premiums if they make less than 600 percent of the federal poverty level. The state will fine people who don’t buy insurance to pay for that aid.

  • The state will also charge up to 80 cents per month per phone line to upgrade the 911 system.

  • Newsom agreed to a $1 billion deal to help communities that are working toward building more housing. It includes penalties for cities that don’t plan for affordable housing.

  • Paid family leave was extended from six to eight weeks and nearly 3 million families will be eligible for up to $2,559 from an expansion of the the state’s earned income tax credit. Low-income families will also get $1,000 in credits if they have children under 6.

Reporting via Sophia Bollag


Namaste, California.

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