Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!
First up: Here’s the deal. Gov. Gavin Newsom struck a deal with top Democrats in the Legislature to extend the state’s coronavirus eviction moratirum through June. The Bee’s Hannah Wiley has the details here.
BIPARTISAN FRUSTRATION WITH GOV. NEWSOM
The way Gov. Newsom announced his decision to lift the statewide regional COVID-19 stay-at-home order left some lawmakers fuming on Twitter, especially since some of them learned about it from social media after the California Restaurant Association broke the news to its members.
“If you think state legislators were blindsided by, and confused about, the shifting & confusing public health directives, you’d be correct. If you think we have been quiet about it in Sacramento, you’d be wrong,” tweeted Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, on Monday.
Assemblyman Chad Mayes, I-Yucca Valley, chimed in, tweeting that “There is bipartisan frustration from the Legislature on how this pandemic has been managed. For many of us, it is not just frustrating, it is infuriating.”
Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, tweeted “*sigh* Where to begin…” in response to the hypothetical question of whether state officials like him should be in the know. That sentiment was seconded by Mayes and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens.
Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, said that the order was surprising, and left her with a “quintessential question: How are low income communities of color and essential workers being impacted by this order?”
Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, said that it was frustrating that lawmakers keep learning about state COVID-19 policy changes from press releases.
“We need collaboration and a full briefing before going public with the changes. We can’t answer our community’s questions when we are not part of the process,” she tweeted.
Newsom at a press conference Monday insisted his administration has been in talks with counties for weeks, and it wanted to get the good news out to business owners.
“The question is do we delay making a significant announcement that can hep small businesses all over the state,” he asked.
BILL WOULD ALLOW CAPITOL STAFF TO UNIONIZE
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, on Monday unveiled a bill, AB 314, that would clear the way for Capitol staffers to form a union if they so desire. The bill has 38 Assembly co-authors, and six co-authors from the Senate.
“Our legislative staff provide essential services to our constituents every day and work tirelessly to ensure we as elected officials can serve the people of California. Every other employee in the state has the right to organize their workplace and join a union if they choose — legislative staff should be no different,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
The bill would cover all Legislature employees with the exception of elected and appointed members, and department or office leaders. Positions including the Secretary of the Senate, Chief Sergeant-at-Arms and chiefs of staff also would be excluded.
This is Gonzalez’s third attempt at letting Capitol staffers unionize. If the bill passes, and is signed into law, California would be the first state in the union to allow legislative staff to collectively bargain, according to Gonzalez’s office.
The legislative branch is the only arm of state government that does not allow its employees to unionize, according to a statement from Gonzalez’s office.
“Legislative employees are exempt from collective bargaining and civil service rules, can be hired and fired at will, and lack many of the workplace protections laws that cover employees in private and public employment,” the statement said.
A TRIFECTA OF REMATCHES
2022 is shaping up to be the year of the California Congressional rematch.
Former Democratic Reps. TJ Cox and Harley Rouda, both of whom were unseated in 2020, have said they intend to run for their old seats in the next election.
And they aren’t alone.
Democrat Phil Arballo has announced that he intends to run again in an attempt to unseat Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare.
Here’s the Capitol Bureau’s Kate Irby with the scoop:
Arballo’s entry sets up a rematch of the 2020 election, which Nunes won by eight percentage points. Nunes, a close ally of President Donald Trump entering his 10th term in Congress, raised more than $26 million to defeat Arballo.
Both of Nunes’ closest reelection campaigns occurred during the Trump administration, when Nunes gained a national reputation by defending Trump during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into election interference and during the president’s impeachment last year.
Trump earlier this month awarded Nunes the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In bestowing the medal, Trump praised Nunes for his work to discredit investigations into whether the 2016 Trump presidential campaign had colluded with Russia.
More recently, Nunes, R-Tulare, was among the Republicans who voted to reject election results from two states Trump lost. The vote took place hours after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to demand Congress reject President Joe Biden’s election.
Five people died as a result of the attack, including one Capitol Police officer. The House impeached Trump over the riot a week later, with 10 Republicans voting to impeach alongside all House Democrats. Nunes voted against impeaching Trump.
Arballo said Nunes’ votes on impeachment and the election results are the main reasons he decided to run a second time.
“I didn’t feel like it was right to continue to hang back. It wasn’t a decision I thought I would make this early, but we have to keep him accountable,” Arballo said during a phone call with McClatchy on Monday. “He needs to know his actions have consequences.”
Read the full story here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Yeah that’s just complete, utter nonsense so let’s just dispense with that. Fundamentally, foundationally nonsense.”
– Gov. Gavin Newsom, responding to a question of whether his decision to lift the stay-at-home order was motivated by the recall campaign against him.
Best of the Bee:
California has paid out a staggering $11 billion worth of fraudulent unemployment claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring, California Labor Secretary Julie Su said Monday, via David Lightman and Dale Kasler.
The member of the Proud Boys elected to Sacramento County’s Republican Party Central Committee has been told by GOP officials to resign his post or face expulsion, via Sam Stanton.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced that the state plans to shift its COVID-19 vaccination strategy to an age-based approach, aiming to deliver shots quickly to seniors, via Andrew Sheeler.