California Republican Wants Warning Labels on Guns

evan p. cordes / Flickr / C

evan p. cordes / Flickr / C

California State Assemblywoman Catherine Baker, R-Dublin, is pushing legislation to require that warning labels accompany all firearms sold in the state.

Baker’s bill, AB1525, would also raise the passing grade “for the issuance of a firearm safety certificate” from 75 percent to 85 percent.

The text of Baker’s bill says that firearms packaging and “any descriptive materials” that accompany firearms sold in California shall contain the following warning:

The presence of a firearm in the home can significantly increase the risk of suicide, homicide, and unintentional shootings for household members. Firearms must be handled responsibly and securely stored to prevent access by children and other unauthorized users. California has strict laws pertaining to firearms and you can be fined or imprisoned for failure to comply with them. Visit the web site of the California Attorney General…for information on firearms laws applicable to you and how you can comply.
The warning also states:
Children are attracted to and can operate firearms that can cause severe injuries or death. Prevent child access by always keeping guns locked away and unloaded when not in use. If you keep a loaded firearm where a child obtains and improperly uses it, you may be fined or sent to prison.

The Firearms Policy Coalition reports that the warning label push is the result of Baker and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence working together for more gun control in California.

Baker is the only Republican representing the San Francisco Bay Area, and serves in a highly contested East Bay seat.

The “warning label” push was anticipated well in advance by gun rights advocates. On May 8, 2013 — less than a month after Senator Joe Manchin’s, D-WV, post-Sandy Hook gun control bill went down in flames — Breitbart News asked, “Is Gun Ownership the New Smoking?” The point of the question was to examine whether desperate gun control groups were about to go after guns using the same tactics that anti-tobacco forces had employed to go after cigarettes.

During a Sep. 10, 2015 appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Moms Demand Action’s Shannon Watts confirmed that her gun control group planned on defeating the NRA by going around Congress to put “policies in place” at various businesses “just like they did with tighter [laws for] smoking.”

Assemblywoman Baker and the Brady Campaign are now calling for warning labels similar to those printed on the outside of cigarette packs and cartons.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on Breitbart.com/California

Lowest-Paid Legislators Wear Distinction As Badge of Honor

Richard RothOnly in public office could the distinction of lowest paid be worn as a badge of honor.

But Richard Roth, a Riverside Democrat, has refused every pay increase since being elected to the state Senate in 2012, making $90,526 per year in base salary.

Most members of the California Legislature make $100,113 per year, with leadership drawing checks for as much as $115,129. In fact, Roth is the only senator currently paid below the going rate, although there are several like-minded members of the Assembly.

Roth spokesperson Shrujal Joseph told CalWatchdog that Roth believes he has an obligation to perform his duties at the pay rate voters agreed to when he was elected.

“If fortunate enough to be re-elected, Senator Roth will accept the pay that is in effect then, whether it be higher or lower,” said Joseph.

Members of the Assembly

Fullerton Republican Young Kim is the lowest paid member of the Assembly, earning $95,291 annually. Like Roth, she’s refused every pay increase since being elected in 2014 — including one that passed right before she was elected but came into effect afterwards.

Six other members of the Assembly refused one pay increase, earning $97,197. Four are Republicans: Catharine Baker of San Ramon, Shannon Grove of Bakersfield, David Hadley of Torrance and Tom Lackey of Palmdale. Two are Democrats: Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova and Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks.

California Citizens Compensation Commission

Pay for legislators, and constitutional officers like governor and attorney general, is determined annually by the California Citizens Compensation Commission, which will meet again on April 27. The CCCC also determines benefits.

The CCCC is a seven-member panel, appointed by the governor, which is supposed to represent different segments of the community and different areas of expertise, including one member with expertise in compensation (like an economist); one representing the general public (like a homemaker/retiree/person of median income); one representing the nonprofit world; one who is an executive at a large CA employer; one who represents small business; and two labor representatives.

According to Tom Dalzell, the CCCC chairman, it’s unclear if another raise will be in order as he hasn’t “begun to think about it,” but noted the sacrifice many legislators make by leaving lucrative careers for public office. And in general, pay is considered one of the biggest lures of top talent.

Dalzell, who is a business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245 and occupies one of the CCCC’s labor seats, said that in determining whether to increase, freeze or reduce pay, the CCCC considers the state budget, the consumer price index and survey data on local elected officials.

Pay Scale History

California has the highest paid state legislators in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. They are also paid well above the state’s median income of around $61,084.

On the whole, base salary for legislators has increased since 2005. To be more precise, legislators have received six increases, three freezes and two reductions since 2005. To be even more precise, base salary went from $99,000 in 2005 to the $100,113 base salary it is today — after salaries had been frozen between 1999 to 2005.

The two reductions were largely orchestrated by the former chairman Charles Murray, a holdover appointee from the Schwarzenegger administration. Murray stepped down almost a year ago to the day.

The six increases: 2005 – 12 percent increase; 2006 – 2 percent increase; 2007 – 2.75 percent increase; 2013 – 5 percent increase; 2014 – 2 percent increase; 2015 – 3 percent increase.

The two decreases: 2009 – 18 percent reduction; 2012 – 5 percent reduction.

And the three freezes were in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

As readers can probably imagine, the decreases were unpopular in Sacramento. In fact, one former legislator fought a cut — the 18 percent reduction in 2009 that slashed salaries from $116,208 to $95,291 — by appealing to both Brown and the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.

Neither appeal was successful.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Legislature Votes to Mandate Vaccinations for CA Kids

The mandatory vaccine bill, SB277, passed the state Assembly on a 46-30 vote during a Thursday hearing.

sb277 vote

Proponents of the bill say the passage is a victory for science and public health, while opponents decry the bill’s infringement upon parental rights.

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said in a prepared statement that the issue at hand with SB277 was not “whether or not you support vaccines” but “about the freedom to make our own choices as citizens”:

“I am concerned this legislation is yet another overreach of the state trying to dictate how we live our lives. As a mother, I made the choice to have my children vaccinated because I believe that was right for my family. By denying the ability for parents to choose what is right for their children, we are robbing Californians from one of their most essential liberties. This is not about vaccines; it is about whether or not the government should be telling us how to raise our children.”

vaccineBut during the Assembly hearing, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said, “As a mother, I understand that the decisions we make about our children’s health care are deeply personal. While I respect the fundamental right to make medical decisions as a family, we must balance out with the fact that none of us has a right to endanger others. SB277 strikes a balance.”

“This isn’t just about Disneyland,” said Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon, referring to the measles outbreak that occurred last year. “And this isn’t just about the need to make sure we wait for a crisis.”

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, voiced his opposition to the bill, calling it a “slippery slope” and said it sets a precedent where the state could mandate nearly anything “in the name of the common good, protecting others and stopping an outbreak.” He emphasized that the Legislature is “tasked with drawing lines” and said SB277 does not demonstrate where the line for medical necessity “reasonably ends to justify a law.”

A statewide poll from the Public Policy Institute of California released earlier this year revealed that more than two-thirds of California adults support barring unvaccinated children from attending public schools.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

Assembly GOP Leader Kristin Olsen Introduces New Stars

 

Ling and Young2014 was a solid year for California Republicans. In the state Senate, the GOP prevented Democrats from regaining a two-thirds supermajority.

And in the Assembly, Republicans defeated three Democratic incumbents, which also reversed a Democratic supermajority.

“We unseated sitting Democrats for the first time in 20 years because Californians want positive change and because we had great, hard-working candidates on the ballot this year, candidates who are connected with their communities and know the challenges facing people in their districts,” newly elected Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen told CalWatchdog.com. “They were more diverse than ever – in gender, ethnicity, culture, socio-economic upbringing and background.”

Is the GOP changing? In the Assembly, women make up a greater share of the Republican caucus than the Democratic caucus. Although Democrats hold nearly a two-thirds majority in the lower house, there are nearly as many Republican women (seven) as there are Democratic women (currently 10; or 11 if Patty Lopez defeats Raul Bocanegra in AD 39 in a tight race — Lopez currently leads by seven votes; both are Democrats).

The Friday following the election, Olsen introduced to the Sacramento press the three most talked about new members of her caucus — each of whom has a major achievement by virtue of her election. Catharine Baker is the first Republican to win a Bay Area legislative seat in years. Ling-Ling Chang is the first Taiwanese-American Republican woman to join the Assembly. And Young Kim is the first Korean-American Republican elected to the lower house.

Young Kim: First Korean American GOP woman elected to State Assembly

Kim’s election was significant for the Korean-American community and Republicans’ efforts to court Asian-American voters. Kim’s victory, which was front page news in Korean-language newspapers, resonated in Orange County’s  Koreatown and the much larger Koreatown in Los Angeles.
“In particular, the election of Young Kim is being evaluated as a political upset by even the mainstream community,” the Korea Times noted. “In politics, there is a huge advantage of being an incumbent. The probability of a first-time candidate to win over an incumbent is almost impossible. However, Young Kim was able to overcome difficult obstacles and disadvantages and win.”

For the next two years, you can expect Kim to be an almost daily fixture in the Korean-language newspapers, where she’ll be talking about lowering taxes and improving California’s business climate.

“Now that we’ve broken the Democrats’ supermajority in both houses, taxpayers can sleep a little better at night knowing that Proposition 13 is safe, at least for the next two years,” Kim told CalWatchdog.com, referencing the 1978 tax-limitation initiative.

She says she’ll focus on creating a business-friendly environment to help spur job creation in California as well as keeping our communities safe by putting a focus on public safety.

Fast-track to GOP leadership: Ling-Ling Chang

If there’s one freshman Republican on the fast-track to leadership, it’s Chang. She’s a smart, articulate assemblywoman-elect with impressive fundraising at a time when Republicans are serious about re-branding the party.

It’d be a no-brainer for Chang to land a spot on the Assembly Health Committee, one of the most coveted assignments in the lower house. An expert on public health, Chang has experience in both the non-profit and for-profit side of health care. She’s worked in the corporate sector training physicians and medical staff at various hospitals across Southern California.

jay obernolteWith a spot on a juice committee, Chang would boost her already robust fundraising, which aided GOP targets in November. In the final two months of the campaign, Chang contributed more than $60,000 to party committees and legislative targets, including colleagues Kim, David Hadley, Tom Lackey, Marc Steinorth, Catharine Baker and Eric Linder.

When CalWatchdog.com asked her about the incoming GOP class, she quickly focused the spotlight on her colleagues. One colleague, who is getting buzz as an expert in technology, is Jay Obernolte, a fellow Southern California Republican freshman.

“Jay is one of the smartest, most technologically savvy individuals I know,” Chang told us when we asked about the new freshmen class. “His experience as a software and video game developer and business owner will bring a cutting edge perspective for Republicans to the issues facing California.”

Obernolte, the mayor of Big Bear Lake, founded FarSight Studios, a successful video game company that makes “family videogames for the PlayStation3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Apple iPhone, and the PC.” For a caucus looking to make inroads with Silicon Valley, who better than a video-gaming geek who graduated from UCLA and CalTech?

Catharine Baker: Lone GOP voice in Bay Area

Republicans also benefit from Baker’s representation of the Bay Area. For years, Republicans have been without any state or federal elected officials in the region. An attorney from Pleasanton, Baker becomes the most prominent Republican official for hundreds of miles in the Bay Area.

In practical terms, that’s a very big deal. It means she’ll be sending out field representatives to PTA meetings, distributing certificates at chamber breakfasts and fielding constituent calls to help with the DMV– all the boring things that win elections.

“Voters sent a message on Election Day that the culture of corruption and one-party rule in the Legislature is unacceptable and not healthy for our state,” Olsen said.

She added, “Now, our Assembly Republican Caucus will take the responsibility voters have given us and work hard together to put California on a better path for ALL Californians in each and every neighborhood.”

This article was originally published on CalWatchdog.com