We had a last day of Session on Friday that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Senator Stone had his fill of being lectured to. I was interrupted a couple of times on supposed points of order during one of my Floor speeches. A protester in the Senate gallery threw blood on several of my colleagues on the Democrat side of the Floor. This caused an immediate lockdown, making the Floor a crime scene, and, eventually, having the final bills of Session heard in the Senate’s largest committee room. The agenda was concluded at just about 3 a.m.
Session would have gone on a little longer were it not for the fact that the Assembly killed a bill that would allow certain bars to stay open until, ironically, 3 a.m.
I flew home Saturday afternoon and enjoyed the Orange County Historical Society’s Centennial 1919 — 2019 Gala Dinner.
Senator Stone Hits His Limit
For all the Trump-bashing that goes on in the Legislature, it is amazing how many Trump detractors end up displaying similar traits they claim to despise. They act like they’re the smartest people in the room and don’t hesitate to admonish colleagues on the other side ofthe aisle. The condescension and arrogance are amazing. The California Globe captures Friday morning’s first dust up in the first piece below.
American Independent Party
Senate Bill 696 enjoyed the gut-and-amend treatment on the Assembly side of the chambers. And the end result was not pretty. If it were not so real, I’d say it would make a great Saturday Night Live skit.
“You registered with the American Independent Party, you silly. That’s a conservative party and you’re not right-wing.”
“Really? Well, maybe they should change their name so uninformed and inept individuals like me who don’t read or do any civics research won’t make that mistake again.”
Instead of using humor, I decided to recount a few of the bills that were recently approved:
“SB 696 is a blatantly oppressive and tyrannical maneuver. But, what’s new about strong arming in this Chamber?
“Colleagues, this Legislature has gone after
“(1) physicians who are trying to protect infants against vaccines they may be severely allergic to;
(2) those who hunt bobcats;
(3) spiritual counselors who are perceived to be addressing the topic of conversion therapy;
(4) the fur industry in California; and
(5) the Gig economy.
“It only makes sense to go after an entire political party.
“This legislature is bold in its bullying. Go bold or go home — I guess.
“The definition of ‘bully:’ ‘seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable).
“You can decimate the AIP’s name because you can. But the optics smack of political bullying.
“And we make laws to stop bullying. Oh, the ironies.”
In doing so, I received a couple of interruptions, requesting me to address the bill and the amendments.
What amendments? There were no stinking amendments. It was a gut-and-amend. Oh, the joys of long days and nights voting on some 800 bills in less than two weeks. Tempers are bound to flare.
What a Friday. The Associated Press provides the details in the second piece below.
I had five bills make it to the Governor’s desk this first year of Session. SB 598 was a recommendation from Marc Joffe and he extolled the bill to The Bond Buyer in the third piece below (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 598 Moves On — May 16, 2019). For my 25-year relationship with The Bond Buyer, also see the 25th Anniversary Look Back below.
I did a considerable amount of research while I was a County Supervisor on the issue of Medical Identification Cards. Many parents found that cannabis provided assistance to their children. So, why wouldn’t I support their taking a bona fide prescription while attending school? The Epoch Times covers SB 223 in the fourth piece below. Both Senator Stone and I were coauthors of the bill. I apologize that I was unavailable for the reporter, but it is next to impossible to leave the Floor during the last two weeks of Session.
The Voice of OC provides a surprise editorial submission from a happy constituent. As hard as my staff and I work, it is great to receive a note of appreciation on occasion. It is the fifth and final piece below.
25th Anniversary Look Back
In a unique foretaste of things to come, The Bond Buyer had a small innocuous article in its September 14, 1994 edition, titled “Auditor Examining Ohio County Fund To Ensure Legality of Its Investments” by Karen Pierog.
Cuyahoga County, Ohio is where Cleveland is located. The similarities to the Orange County Investment Pool are eerie. Here are a few selected paragraphs:
John Conley, spokesman for Ohio auditor Thomas Ferguson, said a soon-to-be-released audit of Cuyahoga County will include a review of its Secured Assets Fund Earnings Fund, which has sustained $97 million in losses since the beginning of the year.
Francis Gaul, who oversees the fund as Cuyahoga County’s treasurer . . . said the paper losses representing about 8% of the SAFE Fund were due to the bear market in fixed-income securities. Still, the fund is offering governments a return of 6.6% on their investments, according to Tim Simmerly, the fund’s chief investment officer. He said the fund has been able to make money through investment techniques such as repurchase agreements with dealers and through the arbitrage of proceeds from a taxable note issue sold last year by the county.
Critics of the fund have expressed concern that the county, whose funds make up 35% to 40% of the money invested in the SAFE Fund, could be exposed to large losses if the market continues its slide and other local governments decide to pull out of the fund.
A few weeks later, SAFE would implode. It made national news. I again tried to warn people in Orange County about the fate that lies ahead.
Where Orange County differed is that the reporters in the Cleveland area started doing some serious snooping around to see if there really was a problem. Their work gave them a major dilemma. If they revealed the facts that they had obtained and verified, it would probably cost Cuyahoga County $125 million if SAFE were to be liquidated. The reporters and their editor had to answer one simple question: Do we print the truth? They decided to print. SAFE would be the largest investment pool loss in U.S. history and their record held for about two months.
I was so impressed with the work of Joel Rutchick and Timothy Heider of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, I even paid them a personal visit a few years later while traveling through Ohio. They did what the Orange County market reporters failed to do. And, the journalism industry noticed (see MOORLACH UPDATE — OC METRO — March 1, 2010).
For my last LOOK BACK, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Governor Signs SB 496 — September 9, 2019.
Republican Sen. Jeff Stone: Mad as Hell and Not Going to be Lectured Anymore by Democrat Colleague
California Senate’s dust up on last day of session
By Katy Grimes
During debate in the California Senate Friday, Republican Sen. Jeff Stone had enough, and called out a colleague. Senators were debating AB 1290, a bill to require contractors for the Pure Water San Diego program to enter into a project labor agreement as a condition of receiving specified state funds, despite that San Diego voters already decided to prohibit requiring PLAs as part of construction projects in Proposition A in 2012.
Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced the bill by Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) as necessary “at a time of climate change and cycles of droughts which threaten water supply.” Atkins explained Proposition A prevents the City of San Diego from mandating project labor agreements on construction projects except when required by state or federal law. AB 1290 would remedy the legal dispute of the Pure Water program, as a condition of receiving state funds. According to the City of San Diego’s court filings, costs are projected to increase $4 million for each month of delay beyond August 2019. Additionally, without legal certainty, the City could lose $646.6 million from the State Water Resources Control Board and could receive significant fines if it does not meet key milestones set by regulators.
“AB 1290 is sponsored by the union caucus,” said Sen. Stone. “It will force the city into a project labor agreement in order to finalize this water project.”
Stone said “I’m curious about why we are stopping water from being delivered to our second largest city in the state.” Stone said the Pure Water San Diego Program has run into legal challenges centered around the San Diego City Council’s November 2018 decision to require contractors to use union apprentices on major parts of the Program.
“You know who unions are – they control this Legislature,” Stone said. “How many bills are we going to see by the union caucus? Big labor lost in San Diego when they lost Proposition A. You are thwarting the will of the voters in San Diego.”
“If you are really a believer in local control… if it passes, it shows this body is really at the will of union bosses,” Stone said, ending his floor debate.
Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) noted that project labor agreements do not have a positive record, and only 10 percent of building contractors in San Diego are union shops. “Why shut out 90 percent? Especially when voters did not approve project labor agreements. This is an end-run by special interest groups taking advantage of this body.”
Next, like a scene out of “Mean Girls,” Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) refuted Stone’s comments and said, “actually Senator Stone yesterday said how much he enjoyed the debate yesterday,” saying today he’s “uncivil and name-calling.” She said Sen. Stone’s comments “lack civility.”
And that’s when Sen. Stone began a “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” retort.
“I’ve been tame in my comments this last year,” he said, noting “two to three members of this Legislature talking to me like I’m one of their kids.” He said he’s been called ‘racist’ in addition to being accused of incivility when he debates opposition points of view. “I’m not going to put up with it anymore,” Stone said. He added that only his Jewish mother and a few college professors had ever spoken to him this way.
Senate President Steven Bradford (D-Los Angeles) continued to demand order, but directed his comments at Sen. Stone, and not at Sen. Mitchell.
Sen. Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) called for a Republican caucus recess, as Sen. Stone continued to say he would not put up with the condescending treatment any longer.
As the Senate was recessed for the caucus break, Sen. Holly Mitchell walked across the Senate floor over to Sen. Stone’s desk to speak to him again.
This was not taken well.
The Senate was recessed while Republicans caucused privately.
When they returned, Senator Grove invoked a point of personal privilege as the Republican Leader: “The decorum in this house gets thrown out of whack by mainly one group, one person,” she said gesturing to several Democrats. “And my colleagues are done. And I’m here to tell you that decency and respect goes both ways. And when they have points on a bill that are valid, and that are not out of order, for you to bully them into a place of… with your rolling eyes, your smirk smiles, your hostile looks to my members, it is unacceptable. For you to come on this side of the floor and come over to the desk of one of my members when the Chair or President is calling the House back to order is unacceptable. And I am asking you personally, to refrain from your conduct.”
She was halted by Bradford who said, “We’re asking everyone to have decorum today. So let’s not single out any individuals.”
“With all due respect Mr. President, I think it’s just one individual that is causing that conflict on this floor,” Sen Grove said.
“No calling out individual members Senator Grove,” Bradford said.
“I didn’t name a person. I did the same thing that she does to us when she looks across the floor…” Grove said.
“Senator Grove, we’re going to ask you to refrain from those…” Bradford said.
“Okay, again I would just like to call decorum in this house and I would like the bullying to stop,” Grove said. “Thank you.”
Someone in the background clapped.
The Dynamic and Power Structure
Sen. Holly Mitchell, first elected to the State Assembly in 2010, is a prominent member of the African American caucus, and is also the very powerful Senate Budget Committee chairwoman, who is seen by many as lording her position over a Jewish Republican in the minority party. This isn’t the first time this session, this year, or since Stone was first elected to the Senate he was called names, or was on the receiving end of the behavior Sen. Grove described. Yet no one in the Democratic caucus has corrected the behavior on the record, or defended Stone.
Stone was elected to the Senate in 2014. Notably, Stone resigned his membership in the Legislative Jewish Caucus in 2017. “When I was invited to join the Jewish Caucus, I was expressly told that it was a non-partisan Caucus, and the issues we were going to be involved with would focus on promoting the interests of the Jewish people in California and around the world,” Stone said. “Since the election of President Trump, it seems that there has been a divergence from the Caucus’ original mission. It has clearly become a vehicle for a Legislative Caucus that receives state resources to merely criticize our duly elected President.” Senator Stone was the sole Republican member of the Legislative Jewish Caucus.
Despite additional objections to requiring project labor agreements for the Pure Water San Diego program, AB 1290 passed 28-9.
California could ban ‘misleading’ political party names
A staunchly conservative political party in California could have to change its name because some state lawmakers say it confuses voters into believing they are registering to vote as an independent
WRITTEN BY BY ADAM BEAM, ASSOCIATED PRESS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A staunchly conservative political party in California could have to change its name because some state lawmakers say it confuses voters into believing they are registering to vote as an independent.
The state Senate voted 29-11 on Friday to ban political parties from using “no party preference,” ”decline to state” or “independent” in their official names. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has 30 days to review the bill and either sign it into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
The bill would apply to all political parties, but it is aimed at the American Independent Party. The party has been an option for California voters since 1968. Its members make up 2.59% of the state’s registered voters, making it the third-largest political party behind Democrats at 43% and Republicans at 23%.
But critics say the party’s membership is inflated because its name confuses voters into believing they are registering as independent or “no party preference.” In 2016, the Los Angeles Times surveyed the party’s registered members and found a majority did not know they had registered to vote with the party. Statewide, “no party preference” voters account for 28.6% of registered voters.
Representatives of the American Independent Party did not respond to an email seeking comment. According to its website, the party nominated Donald Trump for president in 2016 and “God willing, 2020.”
Democratic state Sen. Tom Umberg, the author of the bill, said voters who mistakenly register with the American Independent Party can’t vote in the state’s Democratic presidential primary next year.
“It goes to our interest, our collective interest, that voters are not misled,” Umberg said. “They can’t confuse voters by choosing a name that many people associate with being independent when in fact they are not.”
Republican Sen. John Moorlach opposed the bill, saying “the optics smack of political bullying.”
“The American Independent Party has been around longer than many of us have been alive,” Moorlach said. “I think it’s a shame.”
The law would take effect immediately if the governor signs it. It would require political parties to change their name by Oct. 29 or be disqualified.
Bill requiring issuers to use XBRL clears California Legislature
By Keeley Webster
More in XBRL, Municipal disclosure, Data transparency, State of California, California The California Legislature has approved a bill that would require its governments and agencies to provide financial documents to the State Controller’s Office in a more readily searchable format than the PDF.
State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, sponsored Senate Bill 598, the Open Financial Statement Act, with the aim of making state and local government financial data more accessible
“I am pleased that California legislators are supporting the modernization of municipal market continuing disclosure,” said Marc Joffe of the Reason Foundation.
The bill would require that the state, counties, cities, school districts, special districts and pension funds submit financial statements in Extensible Business Reporting Language. The machine-readable computer language, known as XBRL, would standardize issuers’ financial documents making it easier to compare data, because computers could read and search the financial documents, which would also add transparency, said Marc Joffe, a proponent of XRBL, and a senior policy analyst at the Reason Foundation.
The bill did not receive a single nay vote in either house and no one filed a statement of opposition, Joffe said. It cleared its final vote Wednesday.
“I am pleased that California legislators are supporting the modernization of municipal market continuing disclosure,” Joffe said.
The concept, contemplated on the federal level, has received mixed reviews from municipal market participants, some of whom say the changeover would be onerous and costly.
XBRL is an open international standard for digital business reporting managed by XBRL International, a global non-profit consortium of 450 major companies, organizations and government agencies, according to the Financial Accounting Standards Board website. It is an open standard, provided free of license fees, and is already being used in some countries.
XBRL technology has been around for about 15 years and the SEC has been requiring private companies to use it for about 10 years with the EDGAR system. The SEC has the authority to establish a set of standards on the corporate side, but not in the municipal market.
Matt Fabian, partner at Municipal Markets Analytics, has argued that the cost and difficulty of implementing a new standard could result in worse disclosure among small governments and small issuers.
“The CA bill shouldn’t be a problem for the market, which is unlikely to use any CA-specific data in a meaningful, yield-reducing way,” Fabian said. “To the extent a state wants to require all local governments to raise their financial reporting costs, that’s their business. The problem comes with proposals that lay XBRL mandates only on bond issuers and so reduce the efficiency of the municipal market, send borrowers away from the market, and add little to the credit analysis of investors buying more than one state or sector.”
Fabian called the bill a limitation of the idea, because in putting only the finances of California issuers into XBRL, it will be California-only buyers who could make meaningful use of the information
“So it’s very hard to expect that California issuers will see enough of a related reduction in their cost of capital to offset their cost of XBRL,” he said. “But if California wants to force them anyway, maybe the state or its agencies can use the data for monitoring or regulatory programs away from the municipal bond market, that’s up to California.”
Joffe thinks it will lower costs for issuers in the long run.
“Over the long term technical standards like XBRL will save state and local governments time and money because they will be able to satisfy multiple disclosure obligations simultaneously,” he said. “Over 1500 California government entities are required to produce both CAFRs and state financial reports with overlapping information: these should be handled through a single software tool.”
Just as individuals can use Turbo Tax to file both their federal and California tax returns, local governments should expect a similar level of convenience, Joffe said.
Bill Allowing K-12 Administration of Medicinal Cannabis at California Governor’s Desk
A bill legalizing the ability for medicinal cannabis to be administered to children on K-12 campuses by parents was presented to the California governor on Sept. 6.
Current law prohibits marijuana in any form to be within 1,000 feet of school campuses. Proponents of the bill say this restriction endangers children who rely on medicinal cannabis, such as those who use the drug to control seizures. Opponents of the bill question whether the restrictions on medical cannabis for minors are tough enough, while expressing concern about allowing the drug on campuses.
The bill, SB-223, received support and opposition from both major parties. It was introduced by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and co-authored by Senators John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), Jeff Stone (R-Temecula), and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Assembly Members Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara), Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), and Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita).
The text of the bill reads: “This bill would enact Jojo’s Act, which would authorize the governing board of a school district, a county board of education, or the governing body of a charter school maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to adopt, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing board or body, a policy, as provided, that allows a parent or guardian of a pupil to possess and administer medicinal cannabis, as defined, at a schoolsite to the pupil who is a qualified patient entitled to the protections of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, excluding cannabis, as defined, in a smokeable or vapeable form.”
The Epoch Times attempted to reach out to the bill’s co-author Senator Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), but he was unavailable for comment.
The bill received 43 votes in favor in the State Assembly, with 22 against, and 14 not voting. In the State Senate, the bill received 28 votes in favor, seven against and five not voting.
One Democrat who expressed vocal opposition was Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates).
“As a parent, I feel like this is crossing what should be a bright line in keeping marijuana, cannabis products out of our schools,” he told ABC 7.
Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) also opposed the bill. He admitted that there were some compelling testimonies from proponents of the bill in committee. However, his concerns over the bill outweighed that of the testimonies.
“Attempting to maintain our schools as drug free zones is a worthwhile goal,” he told The Epoch Times. “[I] think we have to recognize the serious risks of recreational use of marijuana and the serious consequences of allowing more marijuana onto school campuses.”
Obernolte further pointed out the legal liability that school staff face, since the substance is still recognized as a Schedule 1 Drug by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
“Another [topic] that was never talked about enough in the committee presentation was the legal liability that taking an action like this would have to schools in California. We all know [marijuana] is illegal under federal law. If we are forcing a school to allow parents to bring marijuana on campus, what kind of liability are we exposing them to and are we prepared to defend them from the legal consequences of that should there arise a legal problem with the difference between federal and state law?”
The bill is now at Governor Newsom’s desk pending approval. A similar bill was vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown last year.
Lieberman: DMV Headache Solved by State Sen. Moorlach Constituency Casework
By JODI LIEBERMAN September 13, 2019
My first quarter at university I had a seizure.
This was the first time and according to my doctors––the last time.
Having any sort of lapse of consciousness in California requires that one’s license be suspended for 3 months, regardless of one’s Doctor’s recommendations.
This was news I was not prepared for since my ER nurse told me my license would be suspended for about 2 weeks. My doctor informed me that because of this law, I would not be allowed to drive. This presented a huge problem for me, as I had an internship and job in Orange County that I had been commuting to. I could not longer work my job since it required that I have a car. I didn’t want to let this setback deter me from pursuing opportunities so I decided to use my savings to commute to my internship from UCLA to OC which is a 3-hour commute using the subway, trains and Lyft. I happened to have just enough to sustain this for about 3 months, but absolutely no more than that.
Over the next few months I diligently sent the DMV all the questionnaires and documentation that they required exactly on time, so that the entire process could be over as quickly as possible.
The three months ended and I was preparing for my spring quarter, under the assumption that I would be able to drive. However, I received a letter from the DMV stating that now they wanted to re-examine me. And that they wanted to conduct an interview with me. And also that they would not even be able to see me until April 26th. All this after they had already pushed it back because they wanted more paperwork. This all made no sense because I had a perfect record and my doctor did not recommend that I be re-tested. I had jumped through all their hoops and they kept moving the goal post. I needed my license back as soon as possible so I could get my life back together.
I called the DMV asking if it was possible to move up my appointment or take a test at my local DMV. Anything to speed up the process. The response, “no.” I was devastated. I had done everything I could do. I was going to lose everything I had worked for and there was nothing I could do. I felt powerless.
A friend recommended that I reach out to State Senator Moorlach’s office to see if they could do some “constituent casework” to work with the DMV on my behalf. I had never heard of this “constituent casework” before but I called anyway. I briefly explained my conundrum to the woman who answered the phone, who was the exact person who handled cases like mine. She assured me she would start working immediately! She opened a case for me later that day March 28th.
On April 4th I received a call from a woman from Sacramento. She explained that after reviewing my case she was confused. Everything in my file seemed normal and it made no sense for the DMV to give me a date that was so far out or for them to re-test me. She said she would see what she could do and would stay in contact with me. I was expecting, that, if she was going to be able to do anything for me, it would probably end up being an appointment for another two weeks out. My phone rang, displaying the same Sacramento number exactly two hours later, the second I walked out of my Econometrics class. She informed me that effective immediately I could drive again. I was in disbelief. I had my independence back. I could get my life back. I drove home through two hours of bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 that night, and I had never been happier.
The entire process of trying to return to normalcy was more gruesome and exhausting than actually having a seizure in front of an entire college dining hall, busting my mouth open and and then trying to finish finals week. Instead of being able to just focus on my health, I now had the DMV coming in and encroaching on my very livelihood. Then even though I kept doing exactly what they wanted they kept moving the goal post. If I hadn’t contacted Senator Moorlach and his team, who knows how far they would have moved it.
It is for this exact reason that having offices like Senator Moorlach’s are so important. Within five business days, Senator Moorlach and his team was able to cut through over a month’s worth of bureaucracy. A month that did not matter at all to the DMV but meant everything to me. Words can not describe how grateful I am to Senator Moorlach and his team, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to attend my internship and I would not be able to work. I had the opportunity to meet Senator Moorlach at a community event later, and he expressed to me how happy he was that his office could help me out and that it was his top priority to help the residents of the 37th District in any way he could. They have done me the biggest service and I will be eternally grateful to them. If anyone else is having a similar problem with a local form of government and lives in the 37th Senate District, reach out to his local office (714) 662-6050. They will be more than glad to help.
Jodi Lieberman is a first year college student at UCLA.
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