Good morning, California.

“We are preparing for a very different climate, and we’ve never been more prepared as a state for entering into that climate.”—Gov. Gavin Newsom, releasing his revised $213 billion budget proposal and assuring Californians that the state is preparing for a downturn that could cut revenue by $70 billion over three years.

The many winners in Newsom's budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom released his revised budget proposal on Thursday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom sent state lawmakers a revised budget on Thursday that boosts his already-hefty January proposal to $213.6 billion.

The biggest winner: Public schools, CALmatters’ Judy Lin writes.

  • California will send $81.1 billion to K-12 schools and community colleges for the new fiscal year that starts in July.
  • School funding will account for 45 percent of the state’s general fund, much higher than the 40 percent minimum guaranteed under Proposition 98, the state’s education funding formula.

For other winners and take-aways, click here.

Other takes:

  • Sacramento Bee: The budget would place $16.5 billion in the rainy day fund. The state has more money socked away in other reserves to help it manage a downturn when it comes.
  • San Francisco Chronicle: Newsom’s revised proposal includes a $700 million increase for special education funding, and $150 million for teacher training and to pay off student loans for newly credentialed teachers.
  • Associated Press: Newsom is scaling back projections of cannabis tax revenue through June 2020 by $223 million from projections just four months ago.
  • The Recorder: Newsom adds $30 million to the judiciary to pay for 25 new trial court judgeships.
  • Mercury News: California would expand Medi-Cal coverage eligibility to undocumented immigrants ages 19 through 25, and subsidize middle-income earners buying health care on the state’s Covered California “Obamacare” exchanges.
  • LA Times: He triples funding—to $27 million—for the Violence Intervention and Prevention Program.

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Newsom's homeless plan

A homeless man slept on Eighth Street in downtown Sacramento on Thursday afternoon.

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes to set aside $1 billion to address homelessness, up from $625 million in his January proposal.

Newsom: “This homeless issue is, rightfully, top of mind for people all across the state that are outraged by it. They’re disgusted by it, and they’re wondering what the hell is going on in Sacramento. And they should.”

Money aside, Newsom said Thursday he is “open” to revisiting the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, the 1967 landmark law signed by Gov. Ronald Reagan that restricts the authority of health officials and others to care for severely mentally ill people, including homeless people, who refuse treatment.

Newsom: “There are people that, no fault of their own, are a danger to themselves and don’t have the tools and the capacity to save themselves.”

  • The 1967 law requires that a person be adjudged a danger to him or herself or others before they can be held for care and treatment.
  • A legislator who helped write that act, Nicholas Petris, who represented Oakland and Berkeley, said in an oral history that he came to regret aspects of it.

Petris’ goal was to end the “tyrannical and oppressive system of incarcerating people so easily.” But the new system “went overboard the other way,” leading to homelessness.

Newsom said he has no desire to return to “the bad old days of forced institutionalization.”

Newsom: “We need to be much more open to providing tools to municipalities and others, family members, to provide the ability to help people who can’t help themselves. So, yes, I am open.”


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One water deal, not two

Can Gov. Gavin Newsom find a pathway to safe drinking water?

Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed Thursday to reach an accord with legislators to raise fees to ensure all Californians have clean water, something he called a “fundamental right.”

Newsom: “We’re going to solve the problem with ongoing revenue not one-time. … It is an ongoing issue, and we are going to solve it with ongoing money.”

The plan: a fee of 95 cents to $10 a month on water users to upgrade systems for about 1 million people whose tap water is contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic and various pollutants, including remnants of fertilizer used by farmers.

  • Farm groups are backing Newsom’s proposal.
  • Water districts are fighting it.

Less clear: His proposal to build one tunnel to transport water from the Sacramento River 30 miles south under the Delta to the massive pumps near Tracy, and onto users in the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

“Getting a safe drinking water deal with this Legislature, I’m confident we will find a pathway to do that.

“Dealing with generational challenges associated with a huge infrastructure project? That is a more challenging question.”

Newsom made no commitment that he would get a tunnel deal done by the end of his term.

Take a number: 5.3 percent

Californians' wages and salaries grew by 5.3 percent in 2018.

Despite unemployment that fell to 4.1 percent, Californians’ wages and salaries grew by 5.3 percent in 2018, compared with 12.9 percent in 2000 when unemployment was 4.9 percent, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest budget numbers show. Given inflation of 3.7 percent, “many workers likely earned less in real terms” last year, the budget says.

Limiting police use of facial recognition

The Assembly approved a bill that bans police body cams from collecting facial images.

Lawmakers and advocates have pushed police to wear body cameras to protect against police abuse. Now, civil libertarians are concerned that police body cameras will be used to collect facial-recognition data.

  • On Thursday, California’s Assembly approved what would be the nation’s first ban on the use of body cams to collect facial images.
  • San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting’s Assembly Bill 1215 declares that the use of body cameras for facial recognition “is the functional equivalent of requiring every person to show a personal photo identification card at all times,” the staff analysis says.

Ting: “Body cameras are paid for by taxpayers. It’s like a taxpayer-funded invasion of privacy.”

Police chiefs oppose the bill, contending body cameras can be used to quickly scan crowds to find wanted criminals and missing persons.

The Assembly approved the measure 45-17. One Republican, Assemblyman Tyler Diep of Orange County, voted for it. Four Democrats voted against it.

  • Facial recognition is no doubt a lucrative product line for tech companies.
  • Civil libertarians are alarmed by its potential for invading citizens’ privacy.
  • It regularly misidentifies women, children and people of color, Ting says.

Context: Ting’s bill passed as NBC reported that the photo storage app Ever has amassed photos shared by its users “to train the company’s facial-recognition system” and sells its technology to police and the military.

What’s next: The measure heads to the Senate. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a similar ban.

A Capitol crime

Matthew Sievert

Then-Gov. Jerry Brown’ grant of clemency to the brother-in-law of Speaker Anthony Rendon underscores Brown’s thinking on redemption, and California’s evolution on crime and punishment.

  • For months off and on, I reported the story behind the murder of 19-year-old Matthew Sievert, who died on Christmas Day, 2003, and the clemency granted by Brown last November.
  • Matthew was the son of a since-retired Assembly Republican caucus staffer, Stepheny Milo. One of his convicted killers is Speaker Rendon’s brother-in-law.

Please read the report by clicking here.

Commentary at CALmatters

Caitrin Chappelle and Henry McCann, Public Policy Institute of California: Climate change is worsening water scarcity and flood risks. Advancements in engineering and technology can help prepare wastewater agencies for a changing climate. But significant shifts in policy and planning are needed to address these challenges.

 

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See you Monday.