Is this the California Democrats’ way of admitting taxes are too high?

Kevin de LeonIt’s almost like a quiet confession that socialism has been wrong the whole time. In California, the left is fighting to bail out the rich.

Three bills pending in Sacramento would allow the highest-earning Californians to get around the federal tax reform’s new $10,000 limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes.

Two of the bills were authored by state Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, the termed-out Senate leader who is running to the left of Dianne Feinstein for the U.S. Senate this November. The other was introduced by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, whose liberal credentials are in evidence in her legislative scorecard ratings — 93 percent from the California Labor Federation (96 percent for “lifetime floor votes,”) and 30 percent from the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.

If these three bills had been introduced by Republicans, Democrats would be on television every day denouncing the bills, the authors, the party, the president, the rich and capitalism generally.

Instead, you probably haven’t heard a word about them. …

Click here to read the full article from the Orange County Register

The Ninth Circuit Protects Gun Rights and Stops Confiscation

Ammunition1Every now and then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — arguably the nation’s most progressive federal circuit — can offer up a legal surprise. Yesterday, it gave us a legal shock, when a divided panel of its judges affirmed last year’s federal district-court injunction temporarily blocking enforcement of California’s confiscatory ban on so-called large-capacity magazines.

Under California law, any person who possesses a legally purchased magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition must either remove the magazine from the state, sell it to a licensed firearm dealer, or hand it over to law enforcement. Those citizens who retained their magazines after the law went into effect risked a fine or up to one year’s imprisonment in county jail.

The district court’s 66-page opinion was a legal tour-de-force that not only dismantled California’s justifications for the ban, but also reiterated and reinforced the constitutional and historical basis for the right to keep and bear arms. As I wrote last year, this paragraph from the district-court opinion is nearly-perfect:

Violent gun use is a constitutionally-protected means for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals. The phrase “gun violence” may not be invoked as a talismanic incantation to justify any exercise of state power. Implicit in the concept of public safety is the right of law-abiding people to use firearms and the magazines that make them work to protect themselves, their families, their homes, and their state against all armed enemies, foreign and domestic. To borrow a phrase, it would indeed be ironic if, in the name of public safety and reducing gun violence, statutes were permitted to subvert the public’s Second Amendment rights — which may repel criminal gun violence and which ultimately ensure the safety of the Republic.

Lest anyone think that the Ninth Circuit has suddenly discovered the original meaning of the Second Amendment, its ruling upholding the district-court injunction was limited. It merely held that the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion when it temporarily blocked enforcement of the law. But despite the limited holding, there was encouraging rhetoric in the court’s ruling. …

Click here to read the full article from National Review.

California Supreme Court blocks ballot measure to divide state into three

Cal-3 (1)The California Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked a proposal to split the state into three from appearing as a ballot measure in November, according to multiple reports.

The proposal, championed by venture capitalist Tim Draper, had gathered at least 600,000 signatures which was enough to earn a spot on the midterm ballot.

The court said that it decided to remove the measure from the ballot “because significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition’s validity,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We conclude that the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election,” the court wrote.

If passed, the proposal, known as “Cal-3,” would have divided the state into California, Northern California and Southern California, each with similar populations. …

Click here to read the full article from The Hill

Judge temporarily halts deportations of reunified families

ImmigrationA judge on Monday temporarily blocked the federal government from deporting families who have just been reunified, as officials work under court order to match more than 2,500 children with parents they were taken from at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The decision is the latest in a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union to stop the government from separating families at the border and to reunite those who were split apart. In June, Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the federal government to reunite families, putting a deadline of July 10 for children younger than 5 and July 26 for older children.

Attorneys asked Sabraw to temporarily halt deportations while he decides whether to impose a more permanent seven-day waiting period between reunification and removal for cases in which the parents have been ordered deported.

In a court filing, the ACLU argued that giving families a week together would allow them time to decide what’s best for them, whether the children should stay to push ahead with their own immigration cases or go back to their home countries with their parents. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times

California Democratic Party abandons incumbent Feinstein, endorses opponent

Dianne FeinsteinThe California Democratic Party voted to endorse a progressive state senator over incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein for the U.S. Senate in the party’s executive board meeting in Oakland, California, on Saturday.

Though Feinstein beat state Sen. Kevin de León, 51, by nearly 33 points in the jungle primary last month, progressive grassroots activists have largely taken control of the state party apparatus in recent years and have pushed for a more liberal candidate to take on the Trump administration.

This is the second time they have elected to endorse de León over 85-year-old Feinstein, who has served California in the U.S. Senate since 1992.

According to the balloting results, the decision was made by 333 voting members who make up the California Democratic Party’s executive board. While de León received 65 percent of the vote with 217 votes, Feinstein earned a paltry 22 votes or 7 percent. Rather than endorse either candidate, 94 members elected to vote for no endorsement. …

Click here to read the full article from NBC News

This California mayor is trying to ban neckties from the workplace

Neck tiesCalifornia has long been a place where the government has tried to influence the quality of life by enacting a ban on this or a mandatory adoption of that.

Now a mayor in Southern California says he wants to ban neckties from the workplace, claiming the fashion accessory restricts blood flow to the brain.

R. Rex Parris, mayor of Lancaster, said he conceived the idea after reading a science blog that claimed neckties restrict 7.5 percent of blood to the brain, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I spend a lot of hours every week on an elliptical or a bike just to increase blood flow to my brain, and it turns out every morning when I put on a tie I’m diminishing it,” Parris said.

The mayor’s proposal comes as the necktie’s presence in corporate America is waning. In 2015 a New York City Human Rights Commission said compelling men to wear ties is akin to demanding that women wear skirts because of their gender. …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News

California beats its 2020 goals for cutting greenhouse gases

traffic-los-angelesCalifornia has beaten its self-imposed goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, achieving a milestone in the state’s fight against climate change.

The California Air Resources Board announced Wednesday that total statewide carbon emissions fell to 429 million metric tons in 2016, a drop of 12 million tons from the year before. The decline means California met the Legislature’s goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels, and did so a full four years before the target year of 2020.

Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials said the results proved the state’s portfolio of anti-carbon laws and regulations is succeeding — and showed California can fight climate change while still enjoying a significant economic boom. They pledged to continue to fight efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to roll back strict emission rules imposed by the Obama administration.

“This is great news for the health of Californians, the state’s environment and its economy, even as we face the failure of our national leadership to address climate change,” said Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols in a prepared statement. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

What You Need to Know About California’s New Data Privacy Law

internetLate last month, California passed a sweeping consumer privacy law that might force significant changes on companies that deal in personal data — and especially those operating in the digital space. The law’s passage comes on the heels of a few days of intense negotiation among privacy advocates, technology startups, network providers, Silicon Valley internet companies, and others. Those discussions have resulted in what many are describing as a landmark policy constituting the most stringent data protection regime in the United States.

Much of the political impetus behind the law’s passage came from some major privacy scandals that have come to light in recent months, including the Cambridge Analytica incident involving Facebook user data. This and other news drove public support for a privacy ballot initiative that would have instituted an even stricter data protection regime on companies that deal in consumer data if the state’s residents voted to pass it in November. But after intense negotiation, especially from leading internet companies and internet service providers, the backers of the ballot initiative agreed to drop the initiative and instead support the passage of the law.

The new law — the California Consumer Privacy Act, A.B. 375 — affords California residents an array of new rights, starting with the right to be informed about what kinds of personal data companies have collected and why it was collected. Among other novel protections, the law stipulates that consumers have the right to request the deletion of personal information, opt out of the sale of personal information, and access the personal information in a “readily useable format” that enables its transfer to third parties without hindrance. …

Click here to read the full article from Harvard Business Review

New Plan Would Stop the Undocumented from Getting Driver’s Licenses

DMVAn initiative that would reverse a law that allows immigrants residing in California illegally to obtain driver’s licenses has been cleared to begin gathering signatures for the 2020 ballot.

The proposal also seeks to eliminate the current “sanctuary state” law and end automatic voter registration practices in California. Don Rosenberg, the main proponent of the proposal and a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, said he believes the plan will increase public safety, reduce voter fraud and prevent traffic fatalities.

More than 1 million illegal immigrants in California have been issued driver’s licenses since Assembly Bill 60 took effect in 2015.

“The line that AB 60 will make the roads safer was totally bull,” Rosenberg said. “It is not safer. It was a complete lie.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 60, introduced by former Assemblyman Luis Alejo, in 2013. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

Study: Dozens of millionaires fled California after 2012 tax increase

money bagCalifornia lost a very small but statistically significant percentage of high-income residents after voters approved Proposition 30 — the 2012 ballot measure that raised the top state income tax rate to 13.3 percent, the highest in the nation — according to a new working paper from three researchers.

The state lost an estimated 138 high-income individuals, or about 0.04 percent of the roughly 312,000 people subject to the tax increase, said co-author Charles Varner, associate director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.

The research comes at a time when more Californians are at least threatening to leave the state because of high taxes and housing costs. The rumblings have escalated since the federal tax law that passed in December capped the previously unlimited federal itemized deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000.

“It remains to be seen what kind of effect (that change) might have, and we will be looking at that as the numbers come in,” said Varner, adding that he expects any effect on migration to be small. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle