Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Planned Parenthood’s stand for health care + Dynamex debate heats up + Redistricting deadline

Good morning, California! It’s Thursday, and it’s hot. So send recipes that don’t require an oven, suggestions, comments, tips and feedback my way:

Both the Senate and Assembly are in session this morning at 9:00.


Planned Parenthood says it will be forced to withdraw from a federal family planning program Monday unless the courts intervene to block a rule that would ban clinics from referring patients for abortions if they receive federal funds.

In California, hundreds of health clinics including Planned Parenthood locations use so-called Title X funds. If it loses the money, Planned Parenthood won’t shut down and will use reserve funds to keep clinics open.

Clinics use Title X money to fund a range of health services from cancer screening to birth control. Federal law already prohibits Title X funds from being used for abortions.

But President Donald Trump’s administration announced a rule earlier this year that would also deny the funds to health clinics that provide abortion referrals. Supporters of the new rule argue it will ensure federal funds aren’t used to promote abortion.

More than 20 states including California and various organizations are suing to block the rule. Planned Parenthood is asking the courts to suspend it while those challenges proceed.

In 2017, over 1 million California patients went to health centers that receive Title X funding, according to the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. About two-thirds of those California patients access Title X services through Planned Parenthood clinics.

“The Trump administration’s Title X rule, if not blocked by the courts, would shatter the long-standing provider network and leave vulnerable patients without essential care,” said Clare Coleman, CEO and President of the association. “As grantees grapple with the August 19 deadline set by HHS, we anticipate further withdrawals to come.”

Via Sophia Bollag


In case you haven’t heard the honking trucks circling the Capitol in protest this week, ride-hailing drivers and community activists are flocking to Sacramento today to join the battle cries against Assembly Bill 5.

The legislative attempt to reclassify independent contractors as employees has divided the ride sharing and small business community. Uber and Lyft executives have argued they can’t afford to make every driver an employee, and some of their gig workers said they don’t want the status foisted on them.

But other drivers and contractors said the proposal is the first step toward a union, and that Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s measure to extend workers’ compensation, benefits and fair wages to workers is overdue.

The San Diego Democrat wrote the legislation following a 2018 California Supreme Court ruling known as the “Dynamex” decision, which established a three-pronged rule that employers must prove to exempt workers from employment status.

Since then, protests, rallies and lengthy testimony have consumed the Capitol’s attention.

“There’s something about the ‘gig economy,’ the ‘disruption economy,’” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, following a committee hearing on the proposal. “They use a lot of really cute words to basically describe the same old s--t that they’ve been doing for a really long time.”

“People keep acting like they’ve invented new things. It’s the same old thing,” he continued. “It’s about corporations trying to oppress workers. When you hear about folks talking about the new economy, the gig economy, the innovation economy, it’s f-----g feudalism all over again.”

This morning, drivers and activists are congregating against the measure, ahead of its consideration by Senate Appropriations.

“They do not want their elected officials to take away their ability to control their own schedule and keep independence,” the press statement for the event read. “They plan on delivering posters representing the over 47,000 drivers who have written emails or signed petitions to keep their flexibility and ask for a modern fix to Dynamex.”

The rally is scheduled to begin at 11:30 on the South Steps of the Capitol.


The application for the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission is closing in five short days, and California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle wants you to apply.

More than 15,000 people among nearly 18,000 applicants are tentatively eligible for one of the 14 seats on the commission, which oversees drawing new district lines every 10 years according to census data.

Citizens took control over redistricting from politicians in 2008, in attempts to reduce gerrymandering.

Advocacy groups warned this summer that not enough women and people of color were applying, however, and called for an extended deadline into September.

In July, two-thirds of the applicants were white and 39 percent were women. Those numbers have increased slightly. Nearly 40 percent of applicants do not identify as white, and 42 percent are women.

Democrats made up half of the applications, while Republicans contributed 27 percent to the applicant pile.

The commission’s application closes Aug. 19 at 5 p.m.

Members will include five Democrats and five Republicans, and another four who are “no party preference,” according to a press statement announcing the deadline.

“Now is the time to apply,” Howle said. “I urge you to take up this once in a decade opportunity to be part of one of California’s most important processes – redrawing the lines of California’s congressional and state electoral districts.”

You can access the application here, and see more applicant statistics here.

For your radar — Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is sitting down with Public Policy Institute of California’s CEO Mark Baldassare today to talk about the state’s key challenges and opportunities.

On the agenda? The 2020 election, fiscal and governance reform and California’s political landscape.

You can sign up for a live stream of the event here.


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