What’s next for aid-in-dying law?

Good morning, California.
“It has simply become too difficult and too costly to run a manufacturing business in Sonoma Valley,” Price Pump President Bob Piazza said, explaining why he’s moving his company founded in 1932 in Emeryville to Boise, Idaho — North Bay Business Journal.

Death-with-dignity law in jeopardy

Brittany Maynard, who spent her final days advocating for death-with-dignity laws, moved from California to Oregon where she could receive aid-in-dying drugs. She died in 2014.

A Riverside County Superior Court judge Tuesday threw out California’s landmark law allowing physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients, just shy of its two-year anniversary.

Judge Daniel A. Ottolia, an appointee of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said his order would take effect in five days. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra intends to appeal.

The history: The Legislature approved the End of Life Options Act in 2015. It took effect in June 2016. Although the California Medical Association was neutral, some physicians sued, contending the Legislature failed to follow proper procedure. Ottolia agreed, and didn’t decide the broader question of whether the law violates the constitutional rights of terminally ill patients.

Los Angeles attorney Stephen G. Larson, who filed the suit: “This legislation was rushed through, so a lot of protective measures were not included. … We think there are any number of instances where people have been pressured into suicide.”

Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, a Stockton Democrat who authored the bill and is a former hospice worker: “There are people who are looking at that last sacred journey, thinking this is an option. Now someone is telling them that it’s not.”

Numbers: Since 2016, the latest report says 173 physicians have prescribed aid-in-dying drugs to 191 patients, 111 of whom died from the drugs. Some died without taking the medication.

Politics: A 2015 poll showed 65 percent of Californians supported aid-in-dying legislation. The bill passed the Senate 23-15 and the Assembly 44-35. If courts of appeal don’t overturn the Riverside decision, the Legislature almost surely would pass the bill again.

UC classrooms: Leaky, sweltering and crowded

Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing an infusion of $100 million each for the University of California and California State University to make campus repairs. But CALMatters’ Felicia Mello reports the money will cover a fraction of the backlog. How bad is the problem? UC is preparing to spend $15 million to find out. That assessment will be done 2021, about when this year’s entering freshmen will graduate, assuming they can get all their classes.

Dems bash Republicans for voting with Dems

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez gets a hug after voting for a Democrat-backed bill to extend the cap-and-trade law. Now, Democrats are attacking him over the vote.

Democratic lawmakers praised and hugged Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez last year when he voted for Gov. Jerry Brown’s highest legislative priority: an extension of the cap-and-trade law that imposes costs on polluters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Chavez, a retired Marine colonel from Oceanside, also broke from Republicans by voting for last year’s budget, pushed by Brown and other Democrats. Now that Chavez is running for a congressional seat in San Diego and Orange counties, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is airing television ads aimed at Republican voters that mock Chavez for siding with Democrats on the two issues.

The script: “On spending your money and costing you even more, Rocky Chavez’s broken promises will knock you out.”

Chavez said he would do it again, believing he helped improve the cap-and-trade program and education policy in the budget: “You get in this position to do the right thing. … If you get thrown out of office, so be it. I’ll go golf. I can look myself in the mirror.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using a similar tactic against another Republican, former state Sen. Bob Huff, running to replace Congressman Ed Royce, a Fullerton Republican. In the Legislature, Huff voted with Democrats to impose a fee at ports to help offset pollution.

A question: Why would a California Republican vote for a Democrat’s bill now, knowing Democratic operatives will use it in an attack ad?

Speaking of cynical manipulation

In his latest commentary, CALmatters’ Dan Walters compares Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Gavin Newsom’s unusual effort to elevate Republican John Cox in the June 5 primary with a successful tactic used by Gov. Gray Davis in 2002. “Cynical manipulation?” he asks. You can well imagine the answer.

GOP tries to seize an opportunity

Former state Sen. Tony Mendoza resigned in February rather than face expulsion for having harassed several young women. But he’s running for re-election and, despite the Democratic Party’s refusal to endorse him, his campaign has $446,000, far more than the $10,000 for his leading Republican rival, Rita Topalian.

On Monday, the California Republican Party in a special board meeting voted to endorse Topalian, raising the promise of campaign support and some more money as well as a chance to grab a seat from Democrats.

In 2004, Topalian lost to Ron Calderon, Mendoza’s predecessor, who is now serving a federal prison term on corruption charges. In 2014, she lost a race for a state Assembly seat by 1,887 votes to Calderon’s nephew, Ian, who is now serving in the Legislature.

Topalian, a pro-abortion rights attorney who voted for President Trump, referred to Ron Calderon and Mendoza, and told me: “Our district has been left with bad choices.”

Donation of the day

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York mayor, disclosed Tuesday that he donated $1.3 million to pass a San Francisco ballot measure to ban flavored cigarettes and another $1 million to help former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa win one of two top spots for governor in the June 5 primary.

Please email or call with tips, suggestions and insights, [email protected], 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

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