Good morning, California.
The median price of an existing single-family home hit an all-time high in Orange County, $838,000. Prices were even higher in seven other California counties. In San Francisco, it was $1.03 million. — Orange County Register, quoting a California Association of Realtors report.
A net neutrality showdown
Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, Los Angeles Democrat, in his Capitol office.
Amid intense lobbying by Internet providers and consumer advocates, Senate Democrats’ legislation to establish a state-only version of net neutrality faces a showdown in an Assembly committee today.
Background: Sens. Scott Wiener of San Francisco and Kevin de León of Los Angeles proposed separate bills, since merged, to require that Internet service providers give equal access to content producers, without throttling back on content based on payment or other factors.
Wiener and de León were responding to a decision by the Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission to scrap the Obama administration’s proposed net neutrality regulations.
Wiener: “This has national implications. If California can’t pass a strong net neutrality bill, then who can?”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the highly unusual step of writing to Assembly Communications Committee Chairman Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat who will preside over today’s hearing, urging he support Wiener’s bill:
“California can set a standard for net neutrality at this crucial moment in history.”
Santiago told me he intends to offer amendments he believes would keep the Internet open. Wiener is skeptical.
Santiago: “We’re not going to win the messaging war. It is too easy to say, ‘We’re doing net neutrality and he is supporting big industry.’”
Money matters: AT&T, the biggest player in the fight, has contributed no less than $7.5 million to California state races since 2013, including $65,000 on Monday to the California Democratic Party, and $40,000 three weeks ago to the California GOP.
P.S. Backers of the net neutrality bill jammed Santiago’s Capitol office phone lines. As I was leaving Santiago’s office on Tuesday, two telecommunications lobbyists were waiting for a minute of his time.
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Brown is keeping National Guard troops at the border
State Sen. Kevin de León, running for U.S. senate, called on Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday to withdraw 400 National Guard troops from duty at the Mexico border, in protest of the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from parents who cross the border illegally.
De León: “This is a shameful chapter in American history and California should have no part in — directly or indirectly — imposing irreparable trauma on thousands of vulnerable young children.”
Brown deployed the troops in April at President Trump’s request, but strictly limited their role. That annoyed the president. Brown showed no signs Tuesday of complying with de León’s request. That serves to keep the focus on Trump’s highly controversial policy.
When should cops use lethal force?
Legislation to raise the standard for when police can use of deadly force cleared its first hurdle Tuesday, despite lobbying by unions representing law enforcement.
As it is, cops’ use of force is justified whenever a “reasonable officer” in the same circumstance would do the same. The bill by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a San Diego Democrat, and Sacramento Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty would permit the use of lethal force only when it’s necessary to prevent injury or death.
CALmatters’ Byrhonda Lyons illustrated the issue in this video.
What next: Police unions generally get their way in the Legislature. Although the Senate Public Safety Committee approved it on a 5-1 vote, the bill faces many more hearings. It’s not clear that Gov. Jerry Brown would sign the measure into law.
A bipartisan fight against obesity
California legislators are intensifying their fight against childhood obesity with a bill that would require restaurants to offer milk or water with meals marketed to kids.
CALmatters’ Elizabeth Castillo reports that sugary drinks still would be available but only upon request. Sen. Bill Monning, a Carmel Democrat who has been fighting the soda industry for years, is carrying the bill.
In the past, Republicans opposed such measures, deriding them as “nanny” legislation, but several Republicans have voted for Monning’s measure, an indication of the seriousness of the obesity problem. The soda industry is neutral. California would be the first state in the nation with such a requirement.
Evan Low wasn’t being petty
Sutter Brown, in the Capitol Park, 2012.
As one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s top aides, Steve Glazer formed a special bond with Brown’s dearly departed Corgi, Sutter Brown. As a state senator, Glazer wanted to memorialize the pooch in law.
Glazer’s Sutter Brown Act seeks to authorize emergency medical technicians to resuscitate dogs and cats at accidents and fires without fear of facing liability suits.
On Tuesday, the Assembly Business & Professions Committee, chaired by Evan Low, a Democrat from Campbell, approved the measure, but with an amendment that stripped Sutter’s name from the bill.
There was nothing, ah, petty about it. Glazer and Low get along fine. Rather, Sutter succumbed to cancer, not an accident. The Assembly committee analysis said the use of his name in the emergency medical bill was inappropriate.
No matter: Glazer, an Orinda Democrat, made clear he can call the bill what he wants, tweeting after its pared-down passage:
“I call it the @SutterBrown Act, after the late 1st dog, an active and steadfast supporter of pet health and safety. He is dearly missed & this bill honors him.”
Walters: What’s wrong with ‘trailer’ bills
CALmatters’ commentator Dan Walters digs into budget “trailer” bills, the measures that impose significant policy, often with little public hearing. One would make it easier to divert children into mental health treatment. Another would give public employee unions access to the private information of state workers.
Walters: Trailer bills “have become legislative Christmas trees, festooned with ornamental goodies for those with political pull.” Such measures “should be aired fully and publicly, not drafted in the dead of night and enacted with minimal notice.”
See you tomorrow.