It’s Thursday, California! We have today and tomorrow until lawmakers take a break from Sacramento and head home to their districts until January.
The Senate kicks off session at 10 a.m. The Assembly gavels in at 1:30 p.m.
Bryan Anderson writes...
California party leaders predictably argued on Wednesday over a new state law forcing President Donald Trump to release the last five years of his tax returns in order to get on the state’s 2020 primary ballot. California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Patterson blasted the law, accusing Democrats of trying to lower Republican participation.
“The intent was to depress turnout,” Patterson said. “They want to keep Trump off the 2020 ballot. If we have depressed Republican turnout, there’s a huge surge (for Democrats). You can see in some of these areas two Democrats going into November. I certainly think that was the intent. I believe it will be struck down in court. Democrats continue to bring it back to petty politics.”
Rusty Hicks, leader of the California Democratic Party, replied, ““I don’t believe it’s petty politics to ask for the president to follow his word.”
The outstanding legal battle over Trump’s tax returns emerged as the biggest talking point throughout the event. Also of note from the discussion:
- Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, whose relationship with the industry he regulates is facing scrutiny was criticized by Hicks at the event. “I believe he has apologized and put forward a series of corrections and remedies and systems and changes in place to correct his sloppiness, and I believe that he will do so,” Hicks said.
- Patterson said she’s targeting Assembly District 74 in Orange County and Senate District 5 centered on San Joaquin County in an effort to narrow the party’s deficit in the Legislature. These are key pickup opportunities. Asked if she’s worried the congressional race with Rep. Duncan Hunter could be a sign of disarray, she responded, “I think it’s fine.”
UBER SAYS ‘NOPE’
Immediately after the California Assembly approved Assembly Bill 5, Uber’s chief legal officer Tony West said the company would not comply with the measure’s provisions to reclassify independent contractors as employees.
“Just because the test is hard doesn’t mean that we won’t be able to pass it,” West told reporters on a call Wednesday afternoon,’ per The Bee’s Sophia Bollag.
Uber and Lyft have campaigned throughout session to carve an exemption for the “gig economy.” Without such a pass, the companies will have to provide benefits like workers compensation and minimum wage.
AB 5 author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, has championed the bill throughout the year as a way to ensure workers are paid and treated fairly by their employees.
“It makes sure that the one million independent contractors in California get the wages and benefits they deserve,” Gonzalez said on Wednesday during her chamber’s floor vote.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is likely to sign the bill after indicating his support for the legislation.
Uber and Lyft have vowed to pour millions into a ballot measure that would exempt them from the new employee test and continue letting their workers operate as independent contractors.
Until then, West said the company is prepared to battle it out in court.
“If we go through a process where these cases are litigated… and we lost and drivers then become employees, then there would be costs that go along with that,” West said.
Newsom’s desk is getting crowded.
Another closely watched measure is awaiting his stamp of approval following the Legislature’s approval of a bill to ban the sale and manufacture of fur products.
The bill exempts products used for religious purposes, as well as those used for “traditional tribal, cultural or spiritual purposes,” per the bill analysis. It also excludes leather and animals killed by a licensed hunter for taxidermy purposes.
The Fur Information Council of America called Assembly Bill 44 “an unnecessary intrusion into a centuries-old legal enterprise that will do nothing for animal care.”
Bill author and Glendale Democrat Laura Friedman said the bill ensures there’s “no place for fur in a humane and sustainable future.”
“Thanks to the painstaking work of animal welfare advocates and the conviction of my colleagues in the legislature, California has continued our legacy as a world leader on animal welfare issues,” she said.
Newsom has until Oct. 13 to sign the approved bills.
Best of The Bee:
- California’s Trump-blocking environmental bill may be delayed in fight over water by Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow
- California seeks to make Uber, Lyft drivers employees with passage of new California labor rules by Sophia Bollag
- California voters could get a chance to overturn new vaccine law by Adam Ashton