California state senators began their return to legislative work on a somber note Monday, with a remembrance of the victims of violence in Charlottesville, Va., and Barcelona Spain, and an appeal by Senate leader Kevin de Léon (D-Los Angeles) to reject the white nationalist ideology on display in Virginia.
De Léon began the floor session with a warning of a "rising tide of hate and intolerance threatening to once again tear us apart."
Regardless of political party, De Léon said he believed all of his fellow senators "would stand up and speak out against fascism, white supremacy and hate if it threatened our own community."
Democrats in the California Legislature pushed again Monday to revamp the rules covering recall elections, their second attempt to potentially delay an effort aimed at removing an Orange County state senator.
The proposal, written as a budget-related "trailer bill," would ban elections officials from verifying voter signatures on recall petitions through a random sampling process. It would, instead, require every signature to be validated.
Less rowdy than the sputtered push for single-payer healthcare and less fraught than the battle over Obamacare’s future, the concern over the cost of prescription drug prices has been overshadowed for the past year by the marquee healthcare battles gripping Sacramento and Washington D.C.
That’s not likely to be the case much longer. The effort to rein in pharmaceutical costs is poised for a major showdown as state lawmakers enter their final month of the legislative year.
The debate conjures déjà vu. Much of the action centers on legislation that recalls a failed 2016 bill to require more disclosure around prescription prices, with lobbying efforts tracing familiar battle lines — labor unions, health plans and consumer groups facing off against drug manufacturers.
Most of the revenue is already being routed to affordable housing, mass transit and building the bullet train. But there’s still at least $1.4 billion available, which includes some money left over from the last fiscal year and more cash expected to roll in over the next one.
Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) wants to spend roughly $1 billion to replace old, dirty engines. In an interview, he suggested it’s a plan with potentially broad appeal: new tractors in rural areas, better trucks for middle class workers and incentives for drivers to buy electric vehicles.
Bay Area Democratic activist Kimberly Ellis, who narrowly lost her bid to become the new California Democratic Party leader, said “all options are on the table” now that the party on Sunday rejected her final appeal challenging the election results.
“Today was yet another missed opportunity for us to get the Democratic Party back on track. As we've said from the onset, we were committed to going through the internal process before deciding what's next. We're now soliciting feedback from key supporters and deciding where we go from here,” Ellis said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.
Ellis said from the outset that she expected her challenge to the election of Eric Bauman as party chairman to be dismissed, saying the process was biased in favor of her rival. She’s also indicated her next step may be to take her case to court.
The California Democratic Party on Sunday rejected a last-ditch appeal contesting the election of the party’s new leader, setting up a strong possibility of a court challenge.
Bay Area Democratic activist Kimberly Ellis, who narrowly lost the race for new party chair to Eric Bauman in May, appealed a party committee’s affirmation of the election results in July. On Sunday, the party’s credentials committee dismissedthe appeal.
"With the conclusion of the Credentials Committee hearing today, it is my hope that our entire California Democratic Party family can move forward on making progress on these urgent and pressing issues, free from the distraction of costly litigation and needless division," Bauman said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) said at a town hall meeting Saturday that President Trump’s actions and comments in response to racist violence in Virginia are embarrassing and that a case could be made for censuring the president.
“I think given his actions, his words post-Charlottesville, you can very well make the case, and we are starting to talk about that, of censuring the president,” Bera said to strong applause. “We can’t do that without Republicans finding the political courage to join with us.”
Bera said Trump has divided the U.S. with his comments and actions and hurt the country’s image in the world.
A Silicon Valley venture capitalist whose saw his dream to carve California into six separate states fizzle has returned with a slimmed down idea: this time, three states.
Tim Draper filed his proposed 2018 ballot initiative on Friday asking voters to split California into three new states: Northern California, California and Southern California.
"The citizens of the whole state would be better served by three smaller state governments while preserving the historical boundaries of the various counties, cities, and towns," Draper wrote in the initiative's statement of findings. He did not immediately respond to emails sent seeking comment.