Good morning, California.

“The forced separation of families at our borders is not conservative. It is indecent. Protectionism is a great lie that hurts consumers. Undermining law enforcement agencies is misguided. Enacting deep tax cuts, less aimed at economic growth and more to punish political enemies, only limits stimulus options in a future recession. A foreign policy embracing enemies and shunning allies is reckless. This is Trumpism.” — Jim Cunneen, who represented Silicon Valley in the Assembly from 1994-2000, announcing he has quit the Republican Party.

How to treat severely mentally ill homeless people

Los Angeles Skid Row last week.

A Senate committee significantly pared back legislation Tuesday intended to compel treatment for seriously mentally ill people who also suffer from severe physical illness.

The proposal: Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Democrat who represents Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, is carrying legislation to authorize mental health professionals and physicians to seek court orders placing into conservatorship chronically mentally ill homeless people who are in failing physical health.

The ACLU and Disability Rights California protested that the bill would deny individuals their rights and increase the number of individuals who are forced into treatment.

Curtis Child of Disability Rights contends there are inadequate services for mentally ill people: “Why would we bring more people into a broken system?”

The Senate Judiciary Committee narrowed the bill by limiting it only to Los Angeles County and restricting it to individuals deemed to have six months to live.

Dr. Jonathan Sherin, LA County’s mental health director and one of the bill’s backers, said some people are so mentally ill that they do not know they’re sick. The Senate committee’s amendments reflect a lack of understanding of the problem, he said.

“We can’t have people who are unable to make decisions dying in the streets. … If you see someone who is going to die and the reason they are going to die is directly linked to the fact they have a mental illness, … get them off the street.”

Bottom line: The battle is part of the long-standing tension between some civil libertarians who believe mentally ill people have the right to live as they please, and others including mental health care professionals who believe there must be more assertive care for a small number of severely mentally ill people.


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High court’s abortion ruling affects conversion therapy bill

A U.S. Supreme Court decision Tuesday blocking a California abortion rights law could undermine Democratic legislators’ attempt this year to restrict anti-gay teaching known as “conversion therapy.”

Remind me: The legislature passed a law in 2015 requiring that crisis pregnancy centers run by abortion opponents disclose whether they’re licensed medical facilities, and provide women with accurate information about state-funded prenatal care and abortion services.

The decision: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the 5-4 majority, likened California’s law to ones in totalitarian states including Nazi Germany:

“Throughout history, governments have ‘manipulat[ed] the content of doctor-patient discourse’ to increase state power and suppress minorities.”

Connecting the dots: In the abortion case, the court majority interpreted the right to free speech in a way that could apply to so-called conversion therapy, which advocates claim can turn gay people straight.

Assemblyman Evan Low, a Campbell Democrat, and Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, are carrying legislation that would declare the commercial practice of conversion therapy to be “fraudulent.”

Wiener: “We will do everything in our power to protect people from conversion therapy. This ruling certainly makes it harder to do so.”

Dean Broyles, of the conservative National Center for Law and Policy in Escondido, helped argue Tuesday’s case before the Supreme Court, and testified in the Legislature against the Low’s bill. He told CALmatters’ Robbie Short that based on Tuesday’s decision, the conversion therapy bill would be “dead on arrival (in) the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Organized labor braces for the worst

Organized labor is girding for the worst, expecting a U.S. Supreme Court decision likely this morning that could significantly reshape public employee unions nationally and in California.

Remind me: Illinois social worker Mark Janus sued the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, insisting he should not be compelled to pay union dues.

The case mimics one brought earlier by Orange County teacher Rebecca Friedrichs against the California Teachers Association. The justices would have ruled on the Friedrichs case in 2016, but Antonin Scalia died, leaving a 4-4 split.

California, like Illinois, is one of 20-plus states in which public employees need not pay their share of dues that directly fund unions’ political activity. But they must pay their fair share of costs related to contract negotiations and other union business. Janus seeks to get out from under that obligation because he disagrees with positions his union takes.

The implications: Some unions worry they could lose 30 percent of their members if the court rules against labor. That, in turn, would weaken labor’s political clout.

San Diego judge: Trump must return children

A federal judge in San Diego late Tuesday directed the Trump administration to act quickly to reunite children taken from parents who crossed the southern border without documentation.

Acting in a suit brought by the ACLU, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw directed that children younger than five be returned to their parents within 14 days. Older children must be returned to their parents within 30 days, the judge said, describing the administration’s policy and actions as “chaotic.”

CALmatters’ David Gorn reports, meanwhile, that Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined 17 other states Tuesday by suing in Seattle over the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” practice of separating young children from their parents who cross the southern border illegally.

The suit may seem unwarranted since President Trump reversed the policy last week. But Becerra said the order did not require that 2,300 children be returned to their parents. It also does not explicitly state that the practice of separating children from their parents would end.

Walters: The biggest loser in the June primary

CALmatters commentator Dan Walters points out that billionaire George Soros was one of the biggest losers in the June election, failing to unseat district attorneys he viewed as too conservative. But Walters predicts that won’t stop Soros and other like-minded liberals from dabbling in California politics.

Please email or call me with tips, suggestions and insights, dmorain@calmatters.org, 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading, please tell a friend and sign up here.

See you tomorrow.