Good morning, California.

“This will put us on the pathway to clean renewable energy and economic growth” — Sen. Kevin de León, Los Angeles Democrat, speaking of his bill to require that 100 percent of California electricity come from renewable sources by 2045.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, Fresno Republican: “This is a leap of faith and a gamble.”

What’s missing from sweeping privacy legislation

Data privacy, Thinkstock

Legislation signed into law last week expanding Californians’ privacy protections would allow consumers to sue over data breaches by businesses but not by government.

The reason: Money. More about that in a minute.

Background: The 9,900-word bill offers an expansive definition of private information, including a person’s physical description, address, phone number and driver’s license number, and details from passports, bank accounts, insurance policies and more. The bill says consumers can sue businesses if they fail to properly protect their information against breaches.

San Francisco developer and privacy advocate Alastair Mactaggart proposed the privacy initiative for the November ballot that led to last week’s compromise. Like the legislation, his initiative, now withdrawn, omitted government data breaches:

Mactaggart: “We wanted to do one thing” by focusing on business data breaches. “Most data breaches are by companies.”

Some history: In 2013, Steve Peace, a former legislator from San Diego County and a privacy advocate, proposed an initiative that would have allowed people to sue over data breaches by business or government.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office concluded that the measure would result in “potentially significant costs to state and local governments.” That would have opened the initiative to attack because of its cost to taxpayers. Peace dropped it.

Bottom line: Legislators often exempt themselves and government from rules that apply to the rest of us. Gov. Jerry Brown probably would not have signed a bill that would have raised state costs by allowing more suits. Peace called Mactaggart a hero and lauded the compromise legislation, but predicted new legislation to fill the gap next time there’s a government data breach.


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Death row inmate Kevin Cooper’s clemency claim

Death chamber at San Quentin state prison.

Gov. Jerry Brown opened the door late Tuesday to a deeper review of death row inmate Kevin Cooper’s claim that he is innocent of the 1983 murder of four people in Chino Hills.

Remind me: New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof elevated questions of Cooper’s guilt in a piercing column in May, challenging Brown to authorize new DNA testing that could show whether Cooper was the killer.

Kristof: “Brown leaves office in January, and I think he is running out the clock.”

Brown opposes the death penalty, but was attorney general for four years before becoming governor in 2010 and oversaw death penalty cases.

Although Brown clearly is not prepared to accede to the defense’s claim, his legal affairs secretary responded Tuesday to Cooper’s clemency request by sending a six-page letter to his attorney, Norman Hile of Sacramento:

“Your allegations clearly deserve the serious consideration they have received .…”

The governor wants Hile to answer 19 questions by Aug. 17, including whether the DNA exists for others he believes committed the murders. Prosecutors will be able to respond.

Hile, who filed the clemency petition on Feb. 17, 2016, told me: “We are pleased that the governor has responded.”

Bottom line: Brown’s policies have reduced California’s prison population by more than 25,000 inmates, and he has pardoned more prisoners than any past governor. But he remains unconvinced of Cooper’s claims. Cooper, 60, arrived on death row in 1985, and is one of 743 condemned inmates in California. Courts long ago upheld his conviction and sentence. No one has been executed in the state since 2006.

Seeking ways to contain health care costs

In the opening installment of a series delving into how California is tackling ever-escalating health care costs, CALmatters’ David Gorn lays out some of the cost drivers:

Diabetes costs California employers, families and the government $13 billion a year. Heart disease costs $30 billion more. Health conditions related to obesity cost the state $21 billion.

Diana Dooley, Gov. Jerry Brown’s chief aide, who until recently was his health and human services secretary: “One of the biggest problems in health care is we pay for treatment of illness but we don’t pay for the advancement of health.”

California Dream: Life on the 405

The state’s housing crisis forces many Californians to live far from where they work and spend hours of their lives crawling along crowded freeways.

Jenny Gov lives in a modest tract home in Lakewood and spends an hour and half driving 30 miles on the 405 Freeway to her job in Santa Monica. That’s on a good day.

“It’s literally like a part-time job,” Gov said of her commute, as told to KPCC’s Meghan McCarty Carino. It’s the latest installment of CALmatters’ California Dream collaboration; see all the California Dream pieces here.

Many communities oppose denser housing for fear it will lead to loss of neighborhood character and greater traffic congestion.

Brian Taylor, who directs UCLA’s Institute of Transportation Studies: “And so now we don’t build the housing we need, then we have huge a ramp-ups in housing costs, which has big economic impacts and means people often live much farther from where they would like to, which makes the traffic worse.”

And Gov and people like her who want to own a single-family piece of California must spend a good part of their lives crawling along California freeways.

Walters: How a ‘reform’ led to a form of extortion

CALmatters commentator Dan Walters analyzes the result of a supposed reform by the Legislature to avert initiative wars, and finds that it has opened the way for “genteel extortion” by interests that can use it to get something they want.

Walters: This new template will “be especially useful to business interests as they confront a very liberal Legislature and Gavin Newsom, the likely next governor, who has laid out a very liberal agenda.”

 

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