Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Lawmakers want to talk guns with Nevada + Sac Bee deadly force event + Redistricting commission stats

3 killed in Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting; suspect also killed

“This is one of those press conferences that you never want to give in your community,” said Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee, while giving an update on the killing of at least three people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, 2019.
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“This is one of those press conferences that you never want to give in your community,” said Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee, while giving an update on the killing of at least three people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, 2019.

Happy Thursday, California! About three weeks before the end of session. Rest up this weekend, because there’s work to be done!

Both the Senate and Assembly are in at 9 a.m.


Following a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival last month, California legislators called on neighboring Nevada to close legal loopholes and “advance common sense gun safety measures.”

In a joint letter sent on Wednesday addressed to the Nevada Assembly, 27 California lawmakers asked for a legislative summit “to discuss avenues for interstate cooperation on gun safety.”

The shooter who opened fire and killed three people at the tail end of the annual festival on Sunday, July 28 had legally purchased an “AK-47-style” SKS rifle in Nevada less than three weeks before his attack.

Since then, lawmakers have had to grapple with the fact that no matter how strict California’s gun control laws are, thousands of weapons have crossed state lines.

We’re having a lot of conversations as we’re working on gun laws in California. What are we doing about lax gun laws in neighboring states?” said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, who led members of the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group in sending the letter. “It just seemed like a good opportunity to touch base and have a candid conversation about how we might want to work together.”

Though Nevada recently passed a gun control law that requires certain background checks, California’s legislative leaders said in the letter that “more can be done.”

The letter invites Nevada lawmakers to consider a meeting during the 2019 fall recess.

“This summit would be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate groundbreaking, state-level coordination that could serve as a model for other states across the United States,” the letter reads.

Gabriel said that states are increasingly responsible for tightening gun laws, given “inaction on the federal level.” He also said a regional-level effort to loop in Oregon and Arizona isn’t off the table.

“Thoughts and prayers in D.C. are not going to keep us safe,” he said. “There’s a special obligation now for states to step up to the plate and were certainly doing that in California.”

“I’m proud that we passed common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm,” Gov. Steve Sisolak responded, as reported by The Los Angeles Times. “I will continue working with law enforcement, elected and community leaders, and subject matter experts to explore different ways we can keep Nevadans safe.”


Gov. Gavin Newsom just signed one of the country’s toughest laws to restrict when law enforcement officers can use deadly force.

The law, Assembly Bill 392, was propelled by the death of Stephon Clark in March 2018, following a slew of other deadly shootings by California police in recent years.

What does the law mean for cops? What does it mean for people of color? What does it mean for California?

I plan to ask those questions to Assemblyman Kevin McCarty tonight during a Sacramento Bee community event. McCarty, a Sacramento Democrat who had a seat at the table in crafting AB 392, will also talk about his sheriff oversight proposal, Assembly Bill 1185.

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We’d love to have you join the conversation to learn more about police reform laws in California, and the long road it took for AB 392 to earn Newsom’s signature.

You can watch the live stream starting at 6:30 p.m. at or

Do you have questions about the new law? We want to hear from you. Please email me at


More than 20,000 people have applied for 14 positions that will redraw California congressional districts next year, the state auditor’s office announced Wednesday.

Those who are selected will join the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, an independent panel that draws the lines for congressional and legislative districts every 10 years based on census data.

The applicant pool is mostly white, male and Democratic. About 44 percent of applicants are women. Roughly 16 percent are Hispanic or Latino, although Latinos make up 39 percent of the total population and are the state’s largest ethnic group. About 8 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, although those groups make up about 16 percent of the population.

It’s still a bigger and more diverse pool than last month, when some organizations asked the state auditor to push back the deadline. Around this time last month, just over 7,500 had applied and women, Latinos and Asian Americans were further underrepresented.

In response, the state auditor pushed the deadline back several weeks. The application period closed Friday, and tentatively eligible applicants are being encouraged to fill out the supplemental application at

Supplemental applications are due Sept. 20.

Via Sophia Bollag


August 22 — Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens


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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.