Good morning, California.
“I had this very nice new wool pantsuit. Put it on. Went to the floor of the Senate Monday afternoon.” – former Sen. Rebecca Morgan. Speaking to the Public Policy Institute of California in Sacramento Monday, Morgan recalled that cold day in 1989 when she became the first woman to wear pants on the state Senate floor. The California State Library will display that pantsuit and other items next month when it commemorates the 100th anniversary of the first four women elected to the Legislature.
Don't bet on sports wagering anytime soon
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can allow sports betting. But don’t expect to legally wager in California on the next Super Bowl, or the one after that.
Anticipating the ruling, Assemblyman Adam Gray, a Democrat from Modesto, has proposed a state constitutional amendment that would authorize sports wagering. But that amendment faces many hurdles in the Legislature and voters would have to approve it. The soonest that could happen is 2020.
Gray: “It is more important to do it right.” And: “The biggest way we could screw it up is by not moving forward. It is incredibly popular and there is a huge black market.”
Players: Indian tribes that own casinos have clout in the Capitol and don’t welcome gambling operations that compete with their operations. They probably will want to get involved in a new commercial gambling venture. Cardrooms will fight for a share as will horse tracks, and perhaps the California Lottery.
Numbers: California is the first or second largest gambling state in America, with $11 billion in revenue. Gray estimates the state could collect $150 million a year in tax revenue from sports wagering. Local government would want a cut too.
Questions: Would sports wagering be confined to existing casinos or could people place bets on their phones or laptops? If online wagering is allowed, how would sports books stop minors from emptying their parents’ bank accounts?
Bottom line: Legislators failed to approve online poker in 2014. Legalized sports betting will be at least as complicated.
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An alternative to Cristina Garcia
California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski on Monday denounced Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, the former #MeToo leader who’s under investigation for sexually harassing her staff, after Garcia implied that the labor federation endorsed her candidacy.
Garcia, of Bell Gardens: “I am very proud to have received a 100 percent rating by the California Labor Federation for the 4th year in a row.”
Pulaski: “The allegations against Garcia are serious and deeply troubling. At the Federation’s pre-primary convention last month, delegates made it clear that they would not endorse someone who is under investigation for such numerous, credible alleged offenses that are the antithesis of our values.”
The investigation into Garcia’s conduct is complete, though I’ve spoken to witnesses who were not interviewed. The final report remains incomplete.
“Innocent until proven guilty,” consultant Bill Wong, who represents Assembly Democrats in campaigns, said of Garcia.
P.S. The labor federation won’t decide who to endorse until its July convention. On Monday, California state Sen. Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat running for U.S. Senate, offered an alternative to Garcia by endorsing Frine Medrano, a de Leon staffer.
Teachers seek a tax break
Hoping to maintain the quality of their public schools, voters in the college town of Davis regularly approve property tax increases of as much $620 per year to help fund smaller class sizes, libraries, sports, music, and employee training.
Now, Sen. Bill Dodd, a Democrat who represents Davis, is carrying legislation to exempt Davis school employees from having to pay those additional taxes.
But why? The California Teachers Association and the Davis Unified School District support it “to provide an additional incentive for public sector educators and staff to live in the community in which they work, despite the growing challenge of affordable housing.”
Jon Coupal, of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association: “This is just a dead bang give-away.”
Why it matters: Dodd’s measure is a district bill, meaning it affects one legislator’s district. Other lawmakers support such measures, hoping they will get support for their district bills. If Dodd’s bill passes, expect other districts to seek similar exemptions.
Crime and campaigns
In this campaign season, you’ll hear about Michael Christopher Mejia, a Los Angeles gang member who goes by the name Stomper and is charged with murdering a Whittier police officer and wounding a second officer. Backers of a tough-on-crime initiative heading for the November ballot say Mejia would have been in jail, but for recent laws that ease penalties. The Los Angeles Times and the nonprofit Marshall Project found Mejia’s case is not as clear as consultants might claim. But campaigns are not known for attention to nuance.
Dan Walters on Brown’s last budget
CALmatters’ Dan Walters, who has reported on all 16 Jerry Brown budgets, writes in a commentary that Brown has been a cautious steward of state finances. But his unwillingness to reform of an unbalanced tax system could become a stain on his legacy.
Donation of the day
San Francisco investor William Oberndorf: $2 million to the independent campaign by charter school advocates to help Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa get into the run-off in the race for governor, presumably against Democratic front-runner Gavin Newsom. Oberndorf has given to Democrats, but is best known for donating to Republicans, including $200,000 to the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 2002 and $825,000 to the California Republican Party in 2005-06, plus $1 million to defeat an income tax initiative on the 2012 ballot. It passed. California politics have changed.
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