The lopsidedly Democratic California Legislature was turned on its head. Probably the most dramatic occasion of this yr’s just-concluded session was a weird, unanimous Republican victory.
The uncommon GOP triumph was led by a tenacious Bakersfield conservative, Sen. Shannon Grove, whose trigger was proper. In the long run, it proved irresistible even for liberal lawmakers whose ideology was antithetical to her invoice.
Grove’s trigger was longer jail sentences for intercourse traffickers of kids. Her invoice, SB 14, categorised the pimping of youngsters beneath 18 as a “critical” crime. Duh! What’s to argue?
Nothing, the Senate figured. It voted 40-0 with out debate simply earlier than the Memorial Day weekend to ship her invoice to the Meeting.
However categorizing intercourse trafficking of kids as a critical felony topics repeat offenders to California’s “three-strikes” regulation that liberals have been on a campaign to scuttle as a result of it may well imply life sentences and overcrowded prisons.
So in July, Grove’s invoice was shelved by the Meeting Public Security Committee chaired by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles). This panel has lengthy been a deathbed for sentence-stiffening payments.
“The media acquired maintain of it,” Grove informed me. “Californians wouldn’t have identified about it for those who guys weren’t engaged. Then the governor positively acquired engaged. And the speaker engaged.”
California lawmakers ship Gov. Newsom little one intercourse trafficking invoice that divided Democrats
California lawmakers despatched Gov. Gavin Newsom a controversial invoice Wednesday to extend penalties for little one intercourse traffickers.
There was public outrage — and intervention by the 2 highly effective Democrats: Gov. Gavin Newsom and new Meeting Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister). Their arm-twisting saved the invoice. The Meeting Public Security Committee briefly reconvened and Democrats meekly resurrected the measure.
SB 14 lastly reached the Meeting flooring Sept. 11 and handed 80-0, however solely after Republicans rubbed the Democrats’ noses in it.
“Folks commit crimes and nothing occurs,” Republican Chief James Gallagher of Yuba Metropolis asserted, echoing a much-repeated GOP line that could be gaining extra public traction. “Lastly we’re taking a stand in the present day.”
Republican Assemblyman Invoice Essayli of Corona contended that stiffer sentences for intercourse traffickers went in opposition to the liberals’ “empty-the-prisons agenda.”
Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Rolling Hills Estates, a former prosecutor, cautioned get together colleagues: “We have to restore steadiness — proceed to put money into packages like psychological well being and schooling, however do extra to maintain our neighborhoods protected … ensuring these committing essentially the most heinous crimes are locked up the place they’re not hurting extra individuals.”
The Senate later agreed to Meeting amendments that protected trafficked victims from being focused by prosecutors, a acknowledged liberal concern. And the measure was despatched to Newsom on a unanimous vote.
It was a significant triumph not just for Grove and Republicans, however for 2 Democrats: the rookie speaker and the nationally formidable governor.
Newsom’s greatest victory, nonetheless, was bipartisan passage simply earlier than legislative adjournment Thursday night time of the governor’s sorely wanted overhaul of psychological well being legal guidelines and funding. It represented his newest try — largely failed — to resolve California’s persistent drawback of homelessness.
The Legislature handed three payments, two whose creator was Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), who grew up watching her aunt Barbara undergo from psychological sickness. Her aunt by no means acquired satisfactory remedy and struggled on and off the road, then was gang-raped and shortly died of AIDs.
A lot of in the present day’s homeless dilemma stems from Gov. Ronald Reagan and the Legislature closing state psychological well being hospitals 56 years in the past. Sacramento turned over sufferers’ care to counties. However little cash was equipped for remedy. Many former sufferers self-medicated with medication and alcohol and wound up on the road.
One Eggman invoice, SB 43, would make it simpler for homeless individuals with extreme substance abuse and psychological issues to be detained in opposition to their will for remedy.
The opposite Eggman invoice, SB 326, would redirect $1 billion yearly from the so-called millionaires’ tax — roughly 30% of the fund — to function new psychological well being housing and remedy services for 10,000 further individuals with critical behavioral well being or substance-abuse issues.
Voters within the March presidential main might want to approve the reconfiguration of millionaires’ tax spending. And so they’ll even be requested to authorize a $6.4-billion bond concern to construct the brand new housing and remedy items.
That Newsom bond proposal — jockeyed by the Legislature by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) — expanded quietly and unexpectedly by $1.7 billion within the ultimate three harried days of the legislative session. A bit bait and swap? What’s one other billion or two?
Information Evaluation: Labor unions win massive in California Legislature as sizzling labor summer season drags into fall
The latest run of wins within the Legislature for organized labor was outstanding. Now Gov. Newsom should resolve if union-backed payments will turn into regulation.
However the session’s grand winner was labor, the state Capitol’s strongest particular curiosity lately.
It achieved laws to extend the variety of workers’ paid sick days, increase the minimal wage for healthcare and fast-food employees and even allow legislative staffers to unionize.
The most important eye-opener, nonetheless, was laws to permit placing employees to gather state unemployment insurance coverage after two weeks.
“When somebody goes on strike, it’s not a romantic factor. It’s exhausting on that household,” declared Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank) throughout heated debate on his invoice, SB 799.
“That is the craziest factor I’ve seen,” countered Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), who runs a seed farming enterprise. “Somebody who has a job? Goes on strike and will get [state] advantages?”
Dahle made sense and so did Sen. Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), who argued: “Occurring strike is a voluntary factor. And that’s not what unemployment insurance coverage is about up for.”
Each homes despatched the invoice to the governor on a party-line vote.
Newsom expressed considerations concerning the measure final week — torn between his loyalty to labor and realization that the state’s unemployment insurance coverage fund is already roughly $20 billion in debt.
“One must be cautious,” the governor mentioned noncommittally when requested whether or not he’d signal the invoice.
Cautious fiscally and politically.
In contrast, the one want for warning relating to the kid sex-trafficking invoice is to ensure the unconscionable dangerous guys are locked up for a really very long time.