Good morning, California.
“I feel awful about this” — U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writing about her failure as state attorney general to seek new DNA testing for a California man who is on San Quentin’s Death Row for a quadruple murder in Chino Hills in 1983

California Democrats’ answer to Texas shooting

Assemblyman Phil Ting urges Assembly members to support his gun control bill on Monday.

Reacting to Friday’s massacre at a Texas high school, the California Assembly on Monday approved a bill that would allow co-workers and school employees to seek judges’ orders to confiscate a threatening person’s guns.

California law already allows confiscation orders at the request of family members or law enforcement. About 200 such orders have been issued since the law took effect in 2016.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat carrying the bill: “Family members, co-workers, employers, and teachers are most likely to see early warning signs if someone is becoming a danger to themselves or others.”

The ACLU: The bill “poses a significant threat to civil liberties” by allowing people to seek to take a person’s gun “without an opportunity for the person to be heard or contest the matter” in court.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, Fresno Republican: “When the NRA and ACLU are both opposed, it is probably something we should take a long look at.”

Prospects: The Assembly passed the bill 46-23. Two Republicans, Catherine Baker of Dublin and Brian Maienschein of San Diego, sided with Democrats voting for it. The Senate almost surely will pass it, too. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation two years ago.

Partisan divide: In Republican-controlled Texas, politicians are talking about more security at schools, including arming teachers, not stricter gun laws, in the wake of the Santa Fe High School shooting that left 10 people dead.


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Labor demands Cristina Garcia quit

A few dozen members of the State Building and Construction Trades Council marched through the Capitol Monday demanding that Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia quit. She won’t.

Remind me: The labor organization, part of the Democrats’ base, seeks to unseat Garcia, a Bell Gardens Democrat, for multiple reasons: legislation that threatens workers’ jobs, and she purported to be #MeToo movement leader but allegedly groped a male consultant, and is accused of making lewd, homophobic and anti-Asian comments.

An internal Assembly report last week failed to substantiate the most serious charge, groping. Garcia has been on unpaid leave, and is expected to return to work this week.

Perilous politics: Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon stripped Garcia of committee assignments and ordered her to get counseling, but intends to defend her reelection. Assembly Democrats expect that Republicans to call for her to quit. However, Republicans may restrain themselves, and instead watch as the building trades and Assembly Democrats fight one another.

Jones makes play for attention

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, in an uphill fight to unseat Attorney General Xavier Becerra, sought to drum up attention Monday by accusing his fellow Democrat of breaking the law when he filmed campaign commercials inside the state courthouse in Sacramento.

CALmatters’ Laurel Rosenhall explains that Jones claims the spot violates a law that bars officials from using public property for campaigns. Becerra’s campaign shrugged; his aides obtained the proper permit to use the courthouse.

The point: Jones, a Harvard-educated lawyer, has been an active attorney. Becerra, a Stanford-educated lawyer, spent two decades in Congress and reactivated his law license after Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him to fill Kamala Harris’ term in 2017 after she was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Bigger issue: Jones is struggling to undermine Becerra in a race that is getting too little public attention, despite the importance of the office.

Morning coffee

A mere 3.1 percent of Latinos, the largest ethnic plurality in California, registered to vote as Republicans out of the 2.6 new registrants since Donald Trump’s election in November 2016, GOP political consultant Mike Madrid told me over coffee Monday.

Madrid is working to elect former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, as governor, though not because he has forsaken Republican ideals. Rather, Madrid cannot support Trump’s version of the GOP, with its anti-immigrant, anti-free trade and nationalist positions and rhetoric. Many other Republicans, particularly those who are wealthier and well-educated, feel the same, he finds.

Madrid: “It’s not that people don’t like Republican ideas. They don’t like Republicans.”

Walters: Congressional Republicans may survive

In his latest commentary, CALmatters’ Dan Walters assesses California’s congressional races. Democrats have shot themselves in their feet in some races. Two vulnerable Republicans, David Valadao of Hanford and Jeff Denham of Turlock, have a knack for overcoming heavy Democratic registration pluralities in their districts. That leaves one, Steve Knight in the Antelope Valley.

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