Category Archives: Jerry Brown

Gov. Brown quickly signs Vaccines Bill

Bill eliminates most non-medical exemptions

by Brian Leubitz

While SB277 may have drawn a lot of attention and vocal minorities to the Capitol (and anywhere else legislators congregated). But after the recent passage of the legislation, Governor Brown wasted no time in signing the bill yesterday.

SB 277 requires all children entering day care, kindergarten or 7th grade to be vaccinated, although the legislature included a specific exemption if a child’s physician concludes that immunization is not recommended for reasons including family medical history. …

Sen. Pan, speaking on KPCC’s AirTalk on Tuesday, said he was pleased that Brown had “listened to the science, listened to the facts about vaccination.” Brown, he said, has “taken a very important step in assuring we stop the erosion of community immunity in California and that we prevent diseases that should stay in the history books.”(KPCC)

You can listen to that AirTalk program here. The governor’s full letter is the right from the Chronicle’s Melody Gutierrez.

Budget Deal Reached?

Legislature passed bill yesterday with $750mil over Gov.’s budget

by Brian Leubitz

Yesterday, the Legislature passed a budget as was required by the Constitution (and 2010’s Prop 25) to keep their paychecks coming.

Senate Budget Chair Mark Leno acknowledged there’s no deal yet with Gov. Brown but says he’d challenge anyone who calls this spending plan a “sham.”

“This budget, fiscally responsible, pays down more debt – faster; puts more money in our rainy day fund; puts more money into public education; and begins – if minimally – to reinvest in the needs of the people of the state of California,” Leno said on the Senate floor Monday. (Capitol Public Radio)

That was all well and good, but both the Senate and Assembly leaders acknowledged that the budget they passed wouldn’t actually become law. The Governor wanted to slice a few million off of their budget, and wasn’t going to sign the measure they passed.  

But they may have now reached a deal:

The Democratic governor is expected to hold a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. …

The deal is expected to include additional money for child care and preschool programs, but likely not as much as legislative Democrats originally sought, a source said.(David Siders / SacBee)

Details are still emerging, but it appears that the Legislative Democrats got at least some portion of what they wanted in their own budget. How much still remains to be seen.

Brown Signs Bag Ban, Martins Beach Access Law, and Ends Gay/Trans Panic Defense

SeaOttersdotComCalifornia becomes first state in the nation to ban plastic bags, but it could be headed to the ballot

by Brian Leubitz

Early next year, California will become the first state in the nation to bag plastic bags. Maybe:

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation’s first statewide ban on the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and other businesses on Tuesday.

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An industry group representing plastic-bag makers, called the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said Tuesday they plan to put a referendum on the ballot in 2016 to repeal the California ban.(WSJ)

If the bag companies are able to referendum the bill, it would mean that the ban wouldn’t go into effect until after the 2016 election. Given that the companies seem willing to pile money into a campaign, it seems something of a foregone conclusion that we will see an election on this one.

In other big legislation news, tech mogul Vinod Khosla was dealt a blow in his attempt to close the road to Martins Beach, a surfer favorite. Khosla has been fighting for a couple of years to close the road, in courts and against the legislation that Gov. Brown signed on Tuesday. Basically the law requires negotiation with Khosla for a year, and then authorizes eminent domain of the road if the negotiations are fruitless.

In other news, the LGBT community got a big victory with the Governor signing a bill that bans the use of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses.

Simply put, gay panic is the notion that acts of violence are partly justifiable when a person’s all-consuming hatred for LGBT people causes them to go berserk or act with “diminished capacity.” It’s a heinous defense tactic that banks on a judge or jury’s own homophobia, apportioning some blame onto victims in order to get a murder charge downgraded to manslaughter. Leaning on a “heat of passion” line of thinking deliberately turns a trial into something out of a pulp novel. Gay panic benefits from anti-LGBT bias, and adds to it as well, by dredging up ancient stereotypes of gays as sexual predators who can’t be trusted not to curb their appetites.

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But it’s no longer a justifiable defense in Golden State courtrooms, since Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (an East Bay Democrat) has pushed a bill banning both gay panic and transgender panic as legal defenses through the legislature. Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2501 into law over the weekend, continuing to put the state at the forefront of LGBT rights. (SF Weekly)

It is easy to overlook this bill, or think this is some historical relic. But this is real, and really offensive every time it is used. It is a big step forward for civil rights in California and across the country.

Gov. Brown’s Pen is Busy

California State Capitol 2Governor is tearing through the stack of legislation on his desk

by Brian Leubitz

The Horseshoe is busy. Very busy. And it isn’t just the governor and his legislative staff. Those folks who post his press releases on the website must be pulling all-nighters.

If you check the Governor’s official press release page, you will see a slew of signed and vetoed legislation. And that is just a fraction of what the bills that they are actually going through. The press releases from legislators, interest groups, and the governor are generally flying fast and furious.

Perhaps to emphasize his middle of the road politics these days, the Governor has taken exactly that approach to new labor legislation. He signed legislation that will hold businesses liable for subcontractor’s labor violations, but he also vetoed a bill that would have made it harder for BigAg to stall new contracts with farm laborers. Despite the latter bill being dubbed one of the CalChamber’s top “JobKillers”, the bill made it through the Legislature. That’s usually quite the feat, but with Sen. Steinberg pushing it, shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. In his veto message, Gov. Brown says he wants to view the whole process rather than nibbling at one side or the other.

In another major piece of legislation, the governor vetoed a drone surveillance measure by Republican Asm. Jeff Gorell

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to use drones for surveillance.

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The bill, AB 1327, would have required the government to secure a warrant from a judge before using surveillance drones except in cases of environmental emergencies such as oil or chemical spills. Three other states have placed a moratorium on drone use by state and local agencies. (LA Times)

Given that the bill carried substantial support from both parties in the Legislature, one would expect to see a similar bill in the next session. Although, from the Governor’s veto message, it may need to be defined on the basis of the federal and state constitutions without adding too much in the way of new privacy rights. It might be something of a threading the needle task for whomever takes up the task.

Of course, that is just the start, to get a full record keeping, you can check out the Governor’s Legislative Updates on his official press release page.


Governor’s Debate Gets Fiesty

Governor and challenger spar in sole debate

by Brian Leubitz

Neel Kashkari had his big moment in the spotlight last night at the governor’s debate. Jerry Brown remains the prohibitive favorite with a 19.5 point lead in the RCP polling average. At this point, it would take something of a disaster on multiple fronts for Kashkari to surge past Brown.

But Brown is taking nothing for granted. His big war chest remains at the ready in case anything changes, and he is directly taking on his challenger. It began with a strong barb at Governor Brown from Kashkari:

His 40 years in government has left them out of touch with the struggles of working families. He has declared a governor — a california comeback. It is not only go we have the had the best schools in california. Today’s schools are ranked 46th out of 50 states. We used to have a vibrant job market. Today it is 44th out of 50 states. (CSPAN transcript)

And it just got more testy as it went along, closing with a nice summary by the Governor:

Four years ago when i came to Sacramento the place was in a shambles. A majority of people in California now feel we are on the right track. Five years ago only 13% felt we were on the right track. We are taking care of water and workers compensation and created a rainy day fund. {Before I arrived…}We lost 1.4 million jobs. Since i have been elected almost 1.3 million have come back and that isn’t by accident.

And today’s Field Poll confirms that topline number:

Californians are taking a more positive view of the direction of the state than then did four years ago when near record proportions (80%) felt the state was seriously off on the wrong track. Currently, slightly more voters believe the state is moving in the right direction (43%) as feel it is off on the wrong track (41%).

That is a big change. Yes, there is still work to do, but today California functions in a way it never did under Gov. Schwarzenegger. There are a lot of factors for that, but certainly Brown can claim a big chunk of that credit. He has made a difference in Sacramento, bringing competence and a steady firm hand on the tiller.

Kashkari attempted to talk about his “middle class plan” at every opportunity, but fundamentally it is just more Arnold-esque hooey. Lower taxes, and the jobs will flow. Meanwhile back in the real world, Brown can point to what he has already done with Prop 30 in bringing financial stability to the state for the past few years.

The whole debate is just under an hour, and worth a viewing (or two). You can watch it here or use the handy iframe to the right.

Brown Signs Up for Debate with Kashkari

Candidates for Governor will face off on Sep 4 in LA

by Brian Leubitz

Neel Kashkari has been lobbying for a debate with Governor Brown for a while. It’s the typical challenger stuff, claiming he was dodging, or chicken, yada, yada. But for a position as large as Governor of California, a debate is a worthwhile use of everybody’s time. Once you strip away all the BS, hopefully we can have a productive conversation. And that conversation will happen on September 4 in Los Angeles.

Kashkari had challenged Brown to 10 debates, but until now, Brown had brushed off that proposition. Most polls show Brown leading Kashkari by about 20 points, and last month the governor told reporters he “hadn’t made up (his) mind” as to whether or not he’d debate the former U.S. Treasury Department official.

But both Brown and Kashkari campaigns have now agreed to the September debate, which will be produced by KQED, the Los Angeles Times, the California Channel and Telemundo California. KQED’s senior California politics and government editor, John Myers, will moderate the one-hour forum. Journalists from the Los Angeles Times and Telemundo will ask the candidates questions as well. (KQED / Scott Detrow)

Yes, Brown is leading, and it would take some sort of monumental change for Kashkari to get close to the Governor in the vote total. But this should be an interesting chance to hear two perspectives on the state. Brown has a strong record these last four years, but maybe Kashkari can at least try to drag his party into something approaching respectability over these last two and a half months.

Brown Outlines New Water Bond Proposal

Bond is about half as large as current package on November ballot, doesn’t include peripheral canals

by Brian Leubitz

Sen. Lois Wolk has been working for a long time on getting a revised water bond package on the ballot to replace the current $11.75bn bond slated for this November. The legislators and the governor are worried, justifiably, that voters will be scared off by that number when considering authorizing additional debt. However, given the current drought, a strong consensus has emerged that we must do something.

But, of course, there are always stumbling blocks. Like, say, the concept of peripheral tunnels to bring water around the Bay Delta. Sen. Wolk outlines how she sees the three pillars of a deal:

“It has to be a reasonable bond. It has to have the support of the governor. It must be tunnel neutral, and he is very clear about that, and I support that strongly,” said Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis), who represents the Delta. (Capital Public Radio / Ben Adler)

As you can hear in Ben Adler’s clip above, the governor is a lot bit gunshy of adding additional debt. In something of a reversal of roles, the Republican caucus is pushing for a higher funding level, arguing that $2B of storage funds are insufficient, favoring a $3B minimum.

But, if the Governor can gather the votes that he needs before next week’s deadline, his plan is likely to be the basis of the bond. While there may be a few changes here and there, one has to suspect that the time pressure will push Republicans toward accepting any deal that can get through the hurdles.

In a letter on his website, the Governor outlined his priorities for the package:

My $6 billion plan provides for water use efficiency and recycling, effective groundwater management and added storage. It invests in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities and for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of our most important rivers and streams.

This water bond is tied to our comprehensive Water Action Plan that charts the way for California to become more resilient in the face of droughts and floods. It goes a long way to ensure clean drinking water, protect habitat and free up funding for local water projects.

See the flip for an outline of the spending priorities in the Governor’s bond package as well as his open letter on the subject..

To My Fellow Citizens of California:

Drought conditions in California grow more serious by the day.

Last month, the State Water Resources Control Board issued mandatory conservation measures to ensure that our water supply remains reliable. Whether you’re a rancher, farmer, business owner or an average Californian – it is crucial that you do all you can to conserve water.

State government, of course, has a major role in how we manage and conserve this fundamental resource. In March, I signed legislation to provide over $680 million for drought relief efforts, including money for housing and food for workers directly affected by the drought, bond funds for local projects to capture and manage water more efficiently and funding for emergency drinking water supplies. The recently enacted state budget contains specific funding to lessen the impacts of drought on fish and wildlife across the state.

But the drought shows no sign of letting up, so we must do more.

Five years ago, state legislators and the Governor put a pork-laden water bond on the ballot – with a price tag beyond what’s reasonable or affordable. The cost to taxpayers would be enormous – $750 million a year for 30 years – and would come at the expense of funding for schools, health care and public safety. This is on top of the nearly $8 billion a year the state already spends on bond debt service.

Since being elected governor, I’ve worked with the Legislature to reduce the state’s fiscal liabilities. Together, we’ve made steady progress paying down debt and enacting responsible, balanced budgets and it is no time to turn back now. Therefore, I’m proposing a no-frills, no-pork water bond that invests in the MOST CRITICAL PROJECTS without breaking the bank.

My $6 billion plan provides for water use efficiency and recycling, effective groundwater management and added storage. It invests in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities and for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of our most important rivers and streams.

This water bond is tied to our comprehensive Water Action Plan that charts the way for California to become more resilient in the face of droughts and floods. It goes a long way to ensure clean drinking water, protect habitat and free up funding for local water projects.

Water is central to our lives, our wildlife and our food supply. Our economy depends on it. We must act now so that we can continue to manage as good stewards of this vital resource for generations to come. But we can and must do so without returning California to the days of overwhelming deficit and debt.


Jerry Brown

For more on how you can do your part to conserve water, please visit

Water Action Plan Financing Act of 2014 – $6 Billion Total

Regional Water Reliability – $750M

 Integrated regional water management (with minimum for direct expenditure for

disadvantaged communities) $450M.

 Stormwater Capture $200M.

 Water conservation $100M.

Safe Drinking Water – $400M

 Provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water to all Californians. With minimum to

leverage federal funds for safe drinking water and clean water programs and for

disadvantaged communities.

 Small Community Program $200M.

 Public Infrastructure $200M.

Water Recycling – $450M

 Statewide water recycling projects and activities.

Groundwater Sustainability- $450M

 Prevent and reduce groundwater contaminants.

 Provide sustainable groundwater management support (technical assistance and planning

grants for locals).

Watershed Protection, Watershed Ecosystem Restoration, State Settlements – $1.175B

 For statewide water-related habitat, flows and water quality in watersheds ($700M) and

for state settlement obligations including Central Valley Project Improvement Act


Storage – $2B

 Continuous appropriation for water storage projects.

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – $475M

 For Delta levee subvention programs and delta flood protection projects ($300M) and

ecosystem restoration and science related to the Delta Plan and Delta Reform Act


Statewide Flood Management – $300M

 Statewide flood management projects and activities.

General Provisions

 Funding eligibility requires urban or agricultural water management plans and

compliance with 2009 Water Conservation Act.

 Bay Delta Conservation Plan neutral.

 Protects existing water rights and reaffirms area of origin protections.

George Will Thinks Kashkari is Goldwater 2.0. Goldwater 1.0 Rolls Over.

by Brian Leubitz

Neel Kashkari seems to be a bright man doing his best Don Quixote for the California GOP. He knows he isn’t going to win without some sort of major Jerry Brown catastrophe. But, the party apparatus is thrilled that he defeated right wing nativist Tim Donnelly. Apparently so much so that GOP scribe George Will took to the pages of the Washington Post to declare that he is Goldwater 2.0:

Today, in this state where one in eight Americans lives, and where Democratic presidential candidates can reap 55 electoral votes without spending a dime or a day campaigning, the Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate has an agenda and spirit similar to Goldwater’s. Neel Kashkari is not, as some careless commentary suggests, an anti-Goldwater, diluting the state party’s conservatism. He is Goldwater 2.0, defining conservatism a ­half-century on.

As Calitics has been down to a DDOS attack on the SoapBlox network, I’ve not been able to respond to this mularkey until now. And in the interim, the CalBuzz folks have taken Will’s argument apart pretty completely.

This is, we report more in sadness than in anger, bullshit.

Maybe George had too many martinis wherever he was staying in Menlo Park when he wrote about Goldwater’s nomination at the “unfortunately named Cow Palace” “fifty Julys ago, up the road near San Francisco.” Or maybe he just had to come up with something to write off his trip out to the hustings. But he has no point, at least not one he shared with his readers.

Because: The widely known political imp Tyrion of Kashkari has not for one minute shown an interest in re-branding his party. He’s desperately trying to make a case against a governor who balanced the budget and calmed the hyperpartisan dysfunction in Sacramento (with the help of voters who passed his tax measure, gave the Legislature the power to pass a budget with a majority of votes and approved measures to boost centrism).

To be honest, at many points it seems like Kashkari is running to get famous more than anything else. Not that I begrudge a campaign on a low budget, but after the fourth time guest hosting KFI’s John and Ken Show, shouldn’t somebody say something? I’m not sure Kashkari has the it in him to become a flamethrowing media personality, but you could see him landing a gig somewhere on TV or radio after all this is over. He hasn’t really made any effort to change the hearts and minds of the still very much right-wing GOP base. He just was a slightly better option, and was able to squeak past Tim Donnelly by gathering 19.4% of the vote in the primary. There are a lot of people who voted for Donnelly, and they aren’t going anywhere.

In the end, Kashkari is basically running around trying to do whatever he can to get noticed. The latest polls have him down 52-32, and he will never have the money to compete with the governor on the air waves. So, he goes where he can find a bit of free media and tries to maximize whatever he can get. That’s about all you can do in a race like what he’s facing. It is a daunting and thankless task, but he signed up for it.

Hey, Charlie Brown knew Lucy was going to move that football, but he still went for it, right?

Brown Picks Mariano-Florentino Cuellar for Supreme Court

Stanford Law Professor is first of two picks that Brown will make

by Brian Leubitz

Gov. Brown will replace Justices Baxter and Kennard this year, and today he announced his first pick, Stanford law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar .

Cuellar, 41, was born in Matamoros, Mexico, and for years crossed the border by foot to attend school in Texas. He moved with his family to the Imperial Valley when he was 14 and obtained his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, his law degree from Yale Law School and a doctorate in political science from Stanford.

In selecting Cuellar, Gov. Jerry Brown said: “Tino Cuellar is a renowned scholar who has … made significant contributions to both political science and the law. His vast knowledge and even temperament will – without question – add further luster to our highest court.” (LA Times)

Baxter was widely considered one of the more conservative of the seven member court, so the replacement will likely shift the court leftward. While we can only speculate how a Justice Cuellar will rule, the fact is that Brown will have 3 of the 7 justices by next year. With another Brown administration very likely comes the very real possibility of a Brown majority on the court. And with his current appointment pattern, perhaps a very intellectual California Supreme Court as well.

Field: Big Lead for Brown, Legislature’s Approval Slips Back

Field Poll shows Legislature took hit after recent controversy

by Brian Leubitz

Field is in the midst of their most recent data dump, and you can’t help but feel that Gov. Brown is all smiles. First, there’s the fact that he has a 20 point lead over Neel Kashkari

The results of the latest Field Poll show incumbent Democratic Governor Jerry Brown leading Republican challenger Neel Kashkari by twenty points, 52% to 32%, among likely voters in this year’s gubernatorial election.  … Brown is regarded favorably by 54% of likely voters, while 31% have an unfavorable opinion. Following his second place showing in the June primary, Kashkari is viewed favorably by 28%, while 16% of voters hold an unfavorable opinion of him.

In addition, the Poll finds 54% of voters approving of the job Brown is doing as governor, while 29% disapprove. (Field PDF)

The Governor’s approval rating during this term has been as low as 43%, before reaching a high of 59% in April of this year. While it did slip, when combined with his mound of campaign funds, the contest between Brown and Kashkari doesn’t really seem a fair fight. Barring some major shift of the political landscape, you have to feel that Brown should defeat Kashkari handily.

Now, on the other side, the Legislature was so close to actually having a net favorable rating. The institution’s ratings were trending up from a low of 19% in May 2012 before Prop 30. In December 2013, it hit 40% for the first time since 2002. In other words, a really long time. And then in the late March poll, approval was trending even higher, with a 46-40 split in the first few days of polling. Then the Leland Yee story broke, and the numbers fell back to earth.

Slightly more voters believe California is generally on the wrong track (46%) than say it is moving in the right direction (41%). In addition, more voters disapprove (47%) than approve (35%) of the job performance of the state legislature.

Opinions about both matters are directly related to the party registration of voters. Democrats offer a much more optimistic assessment of the direction of the state and hold more positive views of the job the state legislature is doing than Republicans. (Field PDF)

Still, this says a lot about the harmony of the post Prop 30 days. There are still budget fights, but they aren’t nearly as toxic as they once were. The majority vote budget means that the fights are basically all within the party. The scandal can’t help, but beyond a bad apple or two, this is a legislature that works for California.