Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Newsom’s deadline + College transparency + CA defends Mississippi abortion clinic

California Governor Gavin Newsom holds up a copy of Assembly Bill 392 after signing it on Monday, Aug.19, 2019 in Sacramento. To his right, Stevante Clark holds a picture of his brother Stephon Clark and his family, as Clark’s grandmother Sequita Thompson smiles holding a photo below. Left of Newsom is Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who authored the bill that limits use of force by police.
California Governor Gavin Newsom holds up a copy of Assembly Bill 392 after signing it on Monday, Aug.19, 2019 in Sacramento. To his right, Stevante Clark holds a picture of his brother Stephon Clark and his family, as Clark’s grandmother Sequita Thompson smiles holding a photo below. Left of Newsom is Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who authored the bill that limits use of force by police. rbyer@sacbee.com

Happy Monday morning, California! Thanks for starting your week with The Sacramento Bee.

TICK TOCK

Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a single-digit countdown to his first bill-signing deadline.

Sure, he’s knocked out some heavy hitters within the last week, including handing school districts more power to deny charter school applications, granting student athletes power to earn money and allowing cities to open their own public banks.

He’d also already signed powerful use-of-force legislation and two bills to tighten vaccine exemptions for California school children before session had concluded.

But there’s much to be done.

Housing:

Health care:

  • The governor also has to decide on legislation former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed, which would require California State University and University of California schools to provide abortion medication through campus clinics.
  • A bill to ban pay-for-delay agreements is still in the stack, too.

Education:

Newsom has until Sunday to decide on the above measures, and many, many more (per CalMatters’ bill tracker).

COLLEGE ACCOUNTABILITY

A month ago, the Legislature sent Newsom a bill to require California colleges to disclose whether they give preferential admissions consideration to applicants with ties to donors. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 697 into law on Friday.

The new law applies to public and private four-year schools, and requires the institutions to release admission rates for applicants with family members who donate to the university.

“We must strive for a level playing field in the college admissions process, so there can be equal opportunity for all,” said bill author and San Francisco Democrat, Assemblyman Phil Ting. “We should know how prevalent donor and alumni-based preferential treatment is in California so we can compare that to the amount of state-funded benefits, like Cal Grants, flowing toward the school.”

The proposal was part of a school accountability package that followed the college admissions scandal called “Operation Varsity Blues.”

Earlier this year, coaches at several prominent universities were found to have taken bribes to admit student athletes, despite their lack of credentials to earn them admission. Renowned Hollywood stars like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were investigated for their role in the scandal.

Newsom also signed on Friday a bill to strengthen CSU and UC admission procedures.

“This package of bills strikes at the forces that keep the doors of opportunity closed to too many people in our state,” Newsom said. “Together, we’re improving affordability, transparency and integrity in higher education.”

CROSS-COUNTRY COALITION

As southern and more conservative states across the country adopt anti-abortion laws, California reiterated on Friday that it would defend from afar any effort to restrict a woman’s access to terminating a pregnancy.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined an amicus brief last week supporting the last standing abortion clinic in Mississippi in its effort to defeat a law that would criminalize terminating a fetus once a heartbeat is detected. The case is being considered in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans.

Becerra alleges in his filing with 20 attorneys general that the law violates a constitutional right for a woman to terminate a pregnancy before viability.

“This law is yet another attempt to trample and undermine women’s reproductive rights,” Becerra said. “As we see more and more states pass these harmful laws, we will continue to fight against these unlawful attempts to restrict a woman’s right to choose.”

In case you missed it — The U.S. Supreme Court also announced that it would consider a challenge against a Louisiana Law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital.

The highest court’s announcement refreshed fears among pro-choice advocates, and gave hope to pro-life proponents, that President Donald Trump’s conservative-stacked court would finally have its chance to chip away at Roe v. Wade.

TWEET OF THE DAY

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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.
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