California is now a sanctuary state. Is non-citizen voting next?

Protesters chant during a May Day demonstration outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco on Monday. Thousands are expected to take to the streets across the United States to participate in May Day demonstrations.

With Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on Senate Bill 54, California now calls itself a sanctuary state. There is strong symbolism in the move, although California governments’ actions relative to individuals in the country illegally will change little in many parts of the state.

Brown’s demand that some 700 additional crimes be added to the list that federal agents could use in examining immigrants changed the bill author Sen. Kevin de León’s original intent to offer sanctuary to most immigrants except those who committed the most heinous crimes.

Brown went out of his way to write in his message accompanying his signature that the bill “strikes a balance that will protect public safety.”

Opponents of Brown’s action disagree. State senator Ted Gaines predicted that California would become “a giant magnet pulling every illegal alien criminal in the country to our state.”

For many supporters of the sanctuary state bill, SB 54 did not go far enough. They accepted the final version for the message it sent, the symbolism. But they want more. Where does the push for gaining more protections for illegal immigrants go now and how far will California voters allow it to go?

It is doubtful that the list of crimes that Brown insisted be added before he signed the bill would be reduced. Even a new governor will not do that. The public safety community still remains split over the effects of the bill.

Likely there will be a push for more empowerment for immigrants. Already illegal immigrants have been granted drivers licenses. Some local governments have set up taxpayer-funded legal aid to immigrants in the country without legal documents. San Francisco voters approved a measure last November to allow parents of children in the school system, whether the parents are legal citizens or not, to vote in school board elections. Now, California declares itself a sanctuary state.

Don’t be surprised if the next push is to grow the voting franchise for non-citizen immigrants.

Symbolic measures do matter in moving public affairs debates.

Joel Fox is editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily.

This article originally appeared on Fox and Hounds Daily.

Why California Senate leader’s 100% renewable energy bill failed

kevin de leon 2From pioneering air-pollution control programs in Los Angeles County in the 1940s to setting nationally copied standards on fuel efficiency and emissions to the 2006 passage of AB32, the state’s landmark anti-global warming law, California has long been proud of its role as a global leader in environmentalism.

So when Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León introduced Senate Bill 100 in January, the expectations were high. The measure committed California to generating 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2026 – four years earlier than the present goal – and to 60 percent by 2030 and to 100 percent by 2045. No government remotely as large as California’s had made such a commitment.

In spring interviews with a reporters at an energy conference in Orange County, the Los Angeles Democrat depicted his bill as a common-sense measure to goad investor-owned utilities into making long-term shifts in their infrastructure to prepare for an all-renewable future. He said progress had been so quick that he expected the state to meet the 50 percent renewable standard “in the early 2020s without breaking a sweat.” But he also depicted SB100 as setting up “the most ambitious program in the world.”

When it passed the California Senate on a mostly party-line vote in May, the world took notice. The New York Times set the tone: In a 2,100-word analysis headlined “Fighting Trump on Climate, California Becomes a Global Force,” it depicted the bill as a key part of California’s determination to take over the global lead in environmentalism from Washington.

But earlier this month, SB100 failed to even get a floor vote in the Assembly as lawmakers wrapped up business for the year. A Desert Sun report depicted the decision as “unexpected.”

That’s not how it looked to some insiders. Business groups spent months hammering home the argument that it was risky to commit to 100 percent renewable energy use when it was not clear that was either feasible or safe for a modern economy. In a June interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gary Ackerman, executive director of the Western Power Trading Forum, depicted SB100 as “reckless” and with a huge downside. The arguments echoed those made by Pacific Gas & Electric, Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, the state’s three giant investor-owner utilities, which quietly have established strong ties with Democratic lawmakers in poor districts buffeted by high energy costs.

IBEW adopted, modified utilities’ argument

Meanwhile, de León didn’t enjoy unified support on the Democratic front. An argument the utilities had been making – that SB100 was potentially a hugely disruptive force – was adopted and modified by some labor leaders. They worried what a 100 percent commitment to renewable energy might mean for thousands of union members. According to an NBC News report, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245, began opposing the bill in late summer because the local union alleged de León had gone back on his promise to protect union jobs.

But a third factor may also have been at play. De León has never enjoyed the broad goodwill accorded his predecessor, Darrell Steinberg, now the mayor of Sacramento. Soon after taking over as Senate leader in late 2014, de León was the target of a scathing column by then-Sacramento Bee pundit Dan Walters for mistakes, power plays and a lack of humility. He faced similar criticism from the Sacramento Bee’s editorial board.

De León has since emerged as a legislative powerhouse, at least according to the conventional wisdom that holds that the 2017 session was one of the most productive in recent history. But his clout couldn’t overcome the late-emerging opposition to SB100.

The lobbying will begin all over again for the measure in January, the Greentech website reported.

“We’re going to be back next year,” said Peter Miller, Western energy project director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the website. “I don’t want to underestimate the challenges to moving to a fully zero-carbon grid, but we can get there, and we will.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Unions Stop CA Democrats from Requiring 100% Renewable Energy by 2036

Solar panelsCalifornia unions killed the Democrats’ last-minute push to force the state to adopt 100 percent renewable electricity production by 2046, over worries the nation’s highest utility costs are killing jobs.

Governor Jerry Brown and Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León were pushing hard to pass Senate Bill 100 in the final hours of the legislative session. The bill would require 44 percent of all retail electricity sold in the state to come from renewable energy and zero-carbon sources by 2024; 52 percent by 2027; 60 percent by 2030; and then 100 percent by 2046.

The Democrat party-line legislation would have accelerated the requirements of SB 350. That legislation, passed in 2015, requires 50 percent of all retail electricity sold in the state to come from renewable energy and zero-carbon sources by renewables by 2030.

But it appears that the state’s powerful union sector is feeling the heat from its members and employers, angered that energy-rich California now has the “lower 48’s” highest average electric utility rates for residential, commercial, industrial and transportation at 17.55 cents per kilowatt hour. They quietly killed the legislation, which had already passed the State Senate, by making sure it did not come to an Assembly floor vote.

To put a perspective on the current comparative cost burdens that the state’s families and businesses suffered last year, Californians paid 62 percent higher electrical costs than the national average for electricity. But even worse on a regional basis, Californians paid 124 percent more for electricity than residents of Washington State, and 98 percent more than residents of Oregon.

Because energy-rich California used to have electricity costs that were below the 1960 national average of 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour, the state was a large electricity exporter.

But under a government-mismanaged deregulation of utilities in the 1990s, the Democrat-controlled legislature demanded the public utilities commission implement a “Long Term Procurement Process.” Rather than encouraging the building of more efficient power plants, the California regulatory scheme prevented building new efficient power plants by forcing utilities to rely on the unreliable availability and predatory prices for imported electricity.

After California suffered a 2000-era energy crisis, the state forced utilities to comply with a Renewables Portfolio Standard in 2002. The movement to renewables started slowly, but since 2010 about 80 percent of new electrical production has come from highly subsidized renewables, according to the Hass Energy Institute at the UC Berkeley Business School.

Proponents of strong renewable standards claim new purchase contracts for renewable energy are only priced “modestly above those for a new conventional natural gas power plant.” But renewables such as solar and wind have intermittent availability. For evenings and whenever the skies are overcast or the wind is calmed, California utilities must pay to have an equivalent percentage of natural gas electrical generation available to offset 100 percent renewable sources.

Breitbart News reported extensively about Governor Brown’s hopscotching around the world to sign climate change agreements with some of the world’s worst polluters, such as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and China’s General Secretary of the Communist Party Xi Jinping.

With only 16 months left before he is termed out of running for governor for a second time, Brown is running out of time to drive up California electrical prices.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

California on the verge of ‘sanctuary state’ status after legislative deal

Protesters chant during a May Day demonstration outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco on Monday. Thousands are expected to take to the streets across the United States to participate in May Day demonstrations.

Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, reached a compromise on the state’s “sanctuary state” bill this week, in a deal that amends the legislation to expand the ability of law enforcement to cooperate with federal authorities.

The amended Senate Bill 54 “prevents our state and local law enforcement resources from being diverted to tear families apart. California will protect our communities from the Trump administration’s radical and hateful immigration policy agenda,” de León said in a statement.

As part of the compromise, under the revised SB54, police can share information with federal authorities about inmates convicted of hundreds of crimes that were not part of the original language. These crimes include serious or violent felonies, felony drunk driving, unlawful possession of a deadly weapon and felony drug crimes.

But the bill still prohibits law enforcement from inquiring as to a person’s immigration status, detaining suspected illegal immigrants for ICE, and from acting as federal immigration agents.

“This bill protects public safety and people who come to California to work hard and make this state a better place,” Gov. Brown’s statement read.

Under the amendment, federal agents will be permitted to interview suspected illegal aliens in jails and to access state databases – actions that were previously prohibited.

The California Sheriffs Association still opposes the bill, despite the changes, believing it puts too great of a barrier between local enforcement and federal authorities.

Activists on the left largely praised the agreement. Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, called the deal a “victory for migrants,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

The bill must still be passed by the state Assembly.

SB54 comes amid a larger national debate about “sanctuary” policies, with conservatives and many law enforcement groups maintaining that they provide a safe haven for violate criminal aliens, while liberals and immigration activists argue the so-called “sanctuaries” encourage undocumented aliens to cooperate with police without fear of deportation.

The bill could also be a model for other states eager to push back against the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown.

For California, it’s just the latest act of defiance against the Trump agenda in Washington, as Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday sued the administration over its decision to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, arguing that doing away with the order violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, citing fears that the administration may use “Dreamer” data to find and deport them.

However, President Trump has said there will be “no action” to that effect for six months as Congress attempts to craft a legislative fix.

“I think everyone recognizes the scope and breadth of the Trump decision to terminate DACA hits hardest here,” Becerra said.

About one quarter of the 800,000 recipients of DACA live in the Golden State.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Democrats seek $4 billion bond for water, flood control, parks

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

As torrential rains and dangerous flood waters pummel large swaths of Texas and parts of Louisiana, California lawmakers are eying legislation to prevent similar damage from from the state’s own disasters.

Senate Bill 5 from state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León would ask voters this upcoming June to approve a $4 billion bond to fund water, flood and parks projects across California.

To make it to the governor’s desk, it would need to clear the Assembly, where another water and open space bond from from Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, is under debate.

De León has characterized the bond as critical following the state’s historic five-year drought, and the 2017 winter storms that marked the wettest water year for California in more than a century.

If passed, bond proceeds would fund flood and water infrastructure projects, and expand and improve local parks and open space. It would allocate $550 million for water projects, $750 million for flood control projects such as levee repair and $2.6 billion for local and regional parks – including $800 million to build new parks in lower income communities. It would also fund deferred maintenance and other projects at California’s state parks system, including construction of new trails, plant and wildlife habitat restoration and coastal climate change adaptation projects. …

Click here to read the full article

Political Water Scams Back on the California Ballot

RB DroughtMy 2016 article, Why Can’t California Farmers Get the Water They Need?, exposed Gov. Brown’s shadow government appointees at the State Water Resources Control Board that ordered the release of massive amounts of water from the New Melones Reservoir and Lake Tulloch, to save a dozen fish, and how Gov. Brown systematically booted a number of qualified people off of the California Water Commission, the body that is deciding how to spend $2.7 billion in public funds for Prop. 1 Water Bond water storage projects.

Also revealed was Gerald Meral – a shadowy figure continuously involved in a series of dubious parks, natural resource and water bond ballot initiatives. Meral is also the highly controversial Natural Resources deputy secretary who famously claimed, “BDCP [Bay Delta Conservation Plan ] is not about, and has never been about saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved,” as, in April 2013, he directed the BCDP for Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to build the peripheral Delta tunnels.

Immediately following Meral’s statement, five Congressional members called for Meral’s immediate resignation. They warned “that the Administration’s plan, if unchanged, will devastate the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the communities that rely on it, a concern that Northern California Lawmakers and other stakeholders have voiced throughout the process.”

In 2016 I wrote:

Gerald Meral, director of the Natural Heritage Instituteformer top water official for Jerry Brown, author of a controversial plan to build water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, also authored eight competing water bond ballot initiatives submitted this election cycle. He notably has a long record of Fair Political Practices Commission violations for past ballot measure “logrolling,” the unethical practice of soliciting money to support and fund ballot measure campaigns based for political favors.

Meral found himself in hot water in 2014 when Restore the Delta, opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels project to drain the California Delta, filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission charging former Brown Administration Bay Delta Conservation Plan point man, Gerald Meral, with “illegal lobbying.”

Meral’s Back …With a New Ballot Initiative … and a New Associate

Gerald (Jerry) Meral and Joseph Caves (Tom Steyer’s Proposition 65 money man) both submitted proposition language for water bond ballot initiatives a couple of weeks apart, in July 2017. The two initiatives are remarkably similar — even have the same wording in numerous places — and suggest coordination to ensure passage. Meral’s ballot initiative would raise $8.4 billion, while Cave’s is for $7.5 billion.

Remarkably, in California’s Legislature, there’s also Assembly Bill 18, by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D- Coachella), a Parks and Water Bond bill, and Senate Bill 5, by Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles). AB18 is a more “modest” $3.1 billion bond measure and SB5 is for $3.8 billion. Like the Meral and Caves citizen initiative proposals, they share supporters, sponsors and some language.

All four measures broadly benefit a shared group of non-profit and quasi-governmental green conservation organizations.

Shadow Government = No Transparency, No Accountability

This important to remember: The non-profit groups behind Meral’s, Caves’, Garcia’s and de Leon’s ballot initiatives have been feeding at the government money trough, doing little or nothing to actually help improve water storage or delivery issues, while the water deficit in California only got worse during the drought.

Droughts are naturally occurring; water deficits are government-created and political. UC Davis water experts estimate California’s annual structural water supply deficit at 4.5-5.0 million acre-feet annually, in years of drought and those with plenty of precipitation. California lacks a more developed water supply to serve the needs of its 40 million citizens, its farms and the environment.

One additional note that might explain the four ballot measure proposals’ similarities is the cluster of coordinated groups surrounding their authors, a group relationship deeply entwined in state water politics.

The Water Education Foundation, California Waterfowl Association, Natural Heritage Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Audubon California, Ducks Unlimited, Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the River and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance … all have financial and personnel connections to a trio of shadowy organizations, the Resources Legacy Fund, its related tax-exempt foundation Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, and for-profit legal services firm Resources Law Group, founded by Michael Mantell, President of the Resources Legacy Fund and Resources Law Group.

Michael Mantell was Undersecretary for the Natural Resources agency for the State of California, 1991 – 1997, and is a close associate of Jerry Meral. Numerous attorneys from the for-profit Resources Law Group also are staff members of the non-profit Resources Legacy Fund, its foundation and the Resources Law Group.

Making Your Head Explode

Resources Legacy Fund also runs the California Water Foundation as an internal project under the direction of former California Natural Resources Secretary Lester Snow (2010 – 2011), another Jerry Brown appointee with close ties to Gerald Meral, who served as his deputy secretary from 2011 to 2013. Meral now leads the Natural Heritage Institute, a benefactor of theResources Legacy Fund’s grants that, in turn, makes grants to the other green groups listed as supporters of one or both of the legislature’s bond bills.

The revolving doors at the Natural Resources Agency, Resources Legacy Fund and its Foundation show its employees move in and out of the government, knowing that when they are inside, they will grant favors to those outside in exchange for secure positions and comfy salaries when they are back outside again. All of them dance to the tune of Packard Foundation, the Rockefeller Bros. Fund, Tides Center, Pisces Foundation and S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, which shower them with millions of dollars.

Gerald Meral retired his state position at theNatural Resources Agency to assume a leadership role the following day at the Natural Heritage Institute, as director of NHI’s California Water Program. Meral’s fingerprints also are all over the language of Proposition 1, the water bond measure passed in 2014.

Also implicated is The Nature Conservancy, a named supporter of the De Leon bill. Jay Ziegler, the Conservancy’s California Water Program Director for Policy & External Affairs issued a joint press announcement with Meral in February 2016 to withdraw his eight ballot measures submissions, saying “The Legislative leadership has expressed an interest in natural resources bonds, and we are committed to working with them to place a measure on the 2016 ballot through the Legislative process. If this effort is not successful, we plan to place a water bond initiative on the November 2018 ballot. …We plan to refile our water bond initiative early next year depending on what is accomplished in the legislative arena this year.”

Meral conceived and was a long time cheerleader for the peripheral canal when he served as a Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources during the 1970’s for then-Governor Brown, who hired Meral, a former Environmental Defense Fund leader whom Brown had met when Meral was running an anti-dam campaign… And Brown did this despite voters resounding rejection of Brown’s 1982 plan to build the Canal through the Delta. “The Peripheral Canal has always been a project for the next century,”William Kahr wrote in the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “The fact that the issue came up at all in the late 1970s had more to do with then-Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr.’s political ambitions than any actual water shortages.” Kahr was the editor of “The California Water Atlas.

Brown now supports an updated version of the peripheral canal, euphemistically renamed “WaterFix.” The twin tunnels would be 40 feet in diameter, located 15 stories beneath the Delta to move water from the Sacramento River 35 miles around the eastern edge of the delta.

The anti-WaterFix group, Restore the Delta, filed a complaint against Meral with the Fair Political Practices Commission in 2014 noting his coordination with groups that would receive direct and indirect funding from Meral’s earlier proposed bond initiatives. Restore the Delta submitted evidence of sharing of Meral’s initiative drafts between various members of the participating groups. In one case, the California Waterfowl Association published on its website that its legal counsel had participated in drafting language for the initiative that would benefit the Association’s goals.

Gerald Meral’s checkered past may explain in part his relationship with all these players. He was found guilty of “logrolling” by the FPPC on Prop 50 some years ago — the unethical practice of soliciting money to support and fund ballot measure campaigns based for political favors.

But Meral is back. His fingerprints are all over every one of the water bonds passed since 2000, in addition to the eight measures in 2016, and the latest. And he’s working in the shadows to control California’s water future, with a lot of groups licking their lips at another big payoff, perhaps to permanently fund a “green wall” that would blunt any counter-conservation efforts here and now, or in the future.

This article was originally published by the Flash Report.

California’s Attempt At “Massive Resistance” as Sanctuary State

Maria Ortiz, at left, a Mexican immigrant has been living in the United States for 23 years. "I am single. I work so hard to stay. I never needed support from the government," Ortiz said. She is not a citizen and works as a janitor, she said during an immigration protest outside Rep. Ed Royce's office in Brea. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: – MINDY SCHAUER, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER – Shot 111713 – immig.fast.11.19 Advocates for immigration reform will camp our near the office of Rep. Ed Royce for five days, where they will stage a fast. They are asking OC's Republican leaders in Congress to publicly support an overhaul to the nation's immigration laws, including the so-called pathway to citizenship that would create a process for some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally the right to become citizens.

California’s decision to become a “Sanctuary State” and defy the federal government on immigration, likely to become law later this month, places California in the company of state’s rights extremists that once tried to stop public school integration by much the same means.

In 1956, in response to the Supreme Court’s 1954 school integration decision, the state of Virginia devised a theory that it had the right to defy a federal law it did not like and could retain its racially segregated public schools. This became known as Massive Resistance, state sponsored resistance to federal law. California now seems set to go down the same path with its Sanctuary State bill that tries to prevent federal immigration law enforcement.

Drawing from pre-Civil War ideas that states could nullify a federal law they did not like, Virginia determined to stop integration of its public schools by “interposing” itself between its segregated schools and the federal government that told them to desegregate.  Virginia passed a statute refusing to cooperate with federal directives to integrate its schools by every means the state had, including closing public schools rather than desegregate them.

This is essentially what Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon is doing with his Senate Bill 54. It would prohibit state and local law enforcement from using their resources to “investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes” (legislative analysis). Constitutionally this is little different than what Virginia tried to do to stop integration 60 years ago.

Before the Civil War, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina devised the idea that states could nullify federal laws and find them unconstitutional. The Civil War ended efforts at nullification of federal laws. Interposition was a 20th Century variation on this, and it was no more successful. Virginia claimed state power to declare federal actions to force school integration invalid as de Leon wants to declare federal immigration practices invalid.

Many California communities have agreements with federal immigration officials that they detain illegal immigrates they have arrested for other offenses. SB 54 would make this illegal, but what’s really going on is the desire of de Leon that California to interpose itself between the Trump Administration and its enforcement of existing immigration laws, even at the cost of endangering innocent Californians.

“There’s a lot of bills in Sacramento right now that are tying our hands and keeping us from doing the jobs we’re elected to do, which is to protect the citizens in our county,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. “It’s very political. It’s anti-Trump.”

Massive Resistance was the same thing. As one congressman put it at the time, the objective was to stop the federal government from forcing “the mixing of the races” on the people of Virginia. In 1959, the school board of Price Edward County closed all its public schools and used the funds to set up private all white academies for the county’s white students, leaving black students with no schools to go to.

Eventually, federal courts did intervene in the 1960s and brought Massive Resistance to an end. The U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that school desegregation was the law of the land, and while it took nearly a decade, Virginia did finally integrate its public schools.

Eventually de Leon and the legislature will lose its Sanctuary State crusade. There are jurisdictions within California that want to cooperate in the deportation of illegal immigrant criminals they are holding. Federal courts will not uphold a law that prevents a county sheriff from doing his or her job.

Sen. de Leon may also want to read the opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2012 ruling striking down an Arizona law that tried to set up its own immigration law. “The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law,” Kennedy wrote.

In 2010, Arizona was involved in its own version of Massive Resistance, trying to enact a law that it allowed it to enforce immigration law as it saw fit regardless of the preferences of the federal government. The Obama administration took Arizona to court and won.

It will not take long for the Trump administration to apply the same legal test to California’s State Sanctuary law.  Given Justice Kennedy’s opinion, California’s attempt to interpose itself between illegal immigrants and the enforcement of federal law will be no more successful than have been other forms of Massive Resistance throughout our history.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily.

Jerry Brown, California Legislature, Reach Cap-and-Trade Extension Deal

carbon-tax-1California Governor Jerry Brown announced Tuesday evening that he had reached a deal with both chambers of the state legislature to extend the Golden State’s “cap-and-trade” program beyond its original expiration date in 2020.

Brown, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) announced “a legislative package that will launch a landmark program to measure and combat air pollution at the neighborhood level – in communities most impacted – and extend and improve the state’s world-leading cap-and-trade program to ensure California continues to meet its ambitious climate change goals,” according to a statement released on the governor’s website.

The statement adds that the deal “includes AB 617 by Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and AB 398 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and is the product of weeks of discussions between the administration and legislative leaders with Republican and Democratic legislators, environmental justice advocates, environmental groups, utilities, industry and labor representatives, economists, agricultural and business organizations, faith leaders and local government officials.”

The cap-and-trade system sets an upper limit for carbon dioxide emissions, and then issues emissions permits that can be bought and sold by producers. The system applies an effective tax on emissions (one that some businesses would prefer to leave the state to avoid). Companies that are more energy-efficient can sell their permits for profit — a model that Tesla, for example, has used to pad its bottom line.

The legislation will have to proceed in the absence of former Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, who will be sworn into Congress on Tuesday — more than a month after winning a special election to replace Attorney General Xavier Becerra in the 34th congressional district. Gomez had delayed the ceremony partly to make his vote available for a cap-and-trade extension deal.

The deal, as noted by Bay Area public radio station KQED, will include provisions to allow local communities to monitor air quality and industrial air pollution, without allowing them to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Climate change activists often confuse the two phenomena, though one has little to do with the other: carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is not harmful.

KQED adds that the deal also ends “a fire prevention fee largely paid by residents living in rural, Republican areas of the state.” That could indicate that Democrats struck an agreement with Republicans to vote for the bills.

Without Gomez, the Democrats will not have the two-thirds majority required to renew cap-and-trade without facing a state referendum. But with Republican votes, that obstacle will disappear.

Following last year’s passage of Proposition 54, which requires bills to be on public display for 72 hours before a vote, that could mean a vote on cap-and-trade could come as early as Thursday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California 

Legislature’s scary precedent: Giving unions private workers’ cell numbers, home addresses

Even those Capitol observers who are aware of the degree to which the Democratic-controlled Legislature is in the tank for public-sector unions might be shocked by the latest bill that’s making its way to the governor’s office.

Legislators are about to require that private-sector workers in the home-care industry provide a wide range of personal information – home address, email contact, cellphone number – to any labor organization that wants it. Those unions would then be free, at their discretion, to pester these workers into joining the union.

seiu unionThe bill only affects one industry, but the precedent is clear. How long before an ever-expanding list of private workers in California are subject to union organizers showing up at their doorstep and contacting them on their private emails and cell phones? The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has already been able to unionize home healthcare workers receiving government payments to care for a loved one. Clearly, SEIU is expanding its horizons.

In fact, the bill apparently is such a priority to the Democratic leadership that Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, recently stacked the Human Services Committee with three new Democratic members to assure its passage. It’s a highly unusual move to expand the size of a committee to assure passage of particular legislation.

Assembly Bill 1513 ostensibly is designed to improve the licensure and regulation of home-care organizations – companies that provide aides to the homes of sick, disabled or elderly people to help them with laundry, cooking, showers and other basic needs.

The state already requires aides to pass background checks, receive necessary training and register with the California Department of Social Services to help combat abuse. The aides must already provide their personal information to the state government. Clients can search an existing database to double-check the backgrounds of those who provide such work in their homes.

This new Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act claims to improve home health services by allowing “home care aides the opportunity to benefit from information, resources and more,” according to Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose. But the real purpose is to let the bill’s sponsor, SEIU, gain personal information for organizing purposes.

There’s no need to speculate about the goal here. The previous version of the bill required employees to provide their personal information to the state, which would then provide the information “to a governmental or non-profit entity that provides training, educational classes, and other specified services …” upon that entity’s request.

The newly amended bill requires “a copy of a registered home care aide’s name, mailing address, cellular telephone number, and email address on file with the department to be made available, upon request, to a labor organization.” The labor unions would be free to use the information for “employee organizing, representation and assistance activities.” That provides wide latitude with few restrictions.

The bill includes an “opt out” mechanism, but that doesn’t offer much protection. A home-care worker would need to go through the trouble of trying to keep personal information out of the union’s grasp. And we’ve seen the problems with such a system in the current union dues-paying system.

A 1977 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows public employees to opt out of paying those portions of their dues that are used for direct political purposes. But employees who want to opt out often complain about the difficult and convoluted process of doing so. Obviously, unions – and the state government – have no reason to make such a process easy.

This bill is nothing more than a union-organizing ploy. Again, the state government already has all the requisite personal information of those who provide home-care services. The public can search that information using an employee number. We’re talking about private employees of private companies working for private people. This is different from the Medicaid-funded In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) system.

Legislators also have recently passed two bills, as this writer detailed for the California Policy Center, that provide public-sector unions with unfettered on-the-job access to teachers and other government workers in order to provide seminars about union membership. That legislation is a pre-emptive effort in case the U.S. Supreme Court, as some expect, strikes down mandatory union membership. A.B. 1513 is even more noxious because it gives unions a right to contact employees of private companies outside of the job site.

The bill also undermines a compromise that was hammered out between unions, legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013. That’s when the Legislature passed the previous version of the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act to require the licensing and regulation of the private home-care industry. Unions had pushed for the inclusion of personal employee information back then, but concerns about privacy scuttled that idea.

Now they’re back for the same thing again and are likely to get the bill through because of De Leon’s committee-packing efforts. De Leon removed Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, and added Democratic Sens. Connie Leyva of Chino, Mike McGuire of Healdsburg and Anthony Portantino of La Cañada-Flintridge. Newman is facing a recall, so this takes him off of the hot seat on a controversial union vote in conservative-leaning Orange County.

Ironically, Democratic legislators often have tried to enhance the privacy of public employees with a variety of bills. Yet when it comes to private-sector employees, the Legislature is more than happy to let union organizers know exactly where they live – and even have access to their cell-phone numbers and email addresses.

“A.B. 1513 is clearly just a labor grab, and will do nothing more than boost unions’ membership rolls and bottom line at the expense of home care aides and the frail elderly and disabled individuals they serve,” said Trevor O’Neil, president of Colonial Home Care Services in Orange and co-chairman of the Home Care Association of America, California chapter. “Home care is an out-of-pocket expense, and any mandated increases to employee pay and benefits will result in higher prices for people who depend upon these services to remain in their homes.”

That’s for sure. But even worse – home-care workers could now be subject to unwanted visits from Nick the Union Organizer. And how long will it be before other unions follow this lead and coerce the Legislature to hand over your personal information?

Steven Greenhut is a contributing editor to the California Policy Center. He is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at sgreenhut@rstreet.org.

This article was originally published by the California Policy Center

California Closer to Becoming ‘Sanctuary State’

The California State Assembly Judiciary Committee approved Democrats’ so-called “sanctuary state” bill on Wednesday, over the objections of law enforcement groups and Democrat-leaning sheriffs’ unions.

According to the Courthouse News Service (CNS), State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) claims that his Senate Bill 54, the “California Values Act,” is designed to prohibit all law enforcement in California from any and all cooperation with what he has dubbed the “Trump Deportation Machine.”

Earlier this year, De León told the committee that “half his family is in the country illegally” and that his relatives regularly commit identity theft in order to work in the U.S.

For De León, the new bill is all about Trump. He reportedly said that if another Republican had won the presidency, his bill would not be necessary.

De León insists that his bill “doesn’t safeguard” criminals, but Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, current president of the California Sheriffs Association, disagrees:

“We believe this bill provides sanctuary to criminals and makes our communities less safe,” Brown reportedly said. “SB 54 would result in many dangerous criminal offenders being released to our streets without proper communication and cooperation with immigration authorities.”

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a substantively similar bill (AB 1081) in 2012. In his veto letter, Brown wrote, “I am unable to sign this bill as written,” saying the bill barred cooperation in some instances he believes were serious. “I believe it’s unwise to interfere with a sheriff’s discretion to comply with a detainer issued for people with these kinds of troubling criminal records,” he explained.

In spite of the fact that a many of the criminal alien gang members arrested in recent raids in Los Angeles had gang ties to the notoriously brutal El Salvadoran prison gang known as MS-13, and had committed serious crimes previously, almost all of them would, arguably, have been shielded by SB 54 if it were currently the law.

Tim Donnelly is a former California State Assemblyman and author, currently on a book tour for his new book: Patriot Not Politician: Win or Go Homeless. He ran for governor in 2014.

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/tim.donnelly.12/

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California