MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Epilogue — October 4, 2018

With Senate Bill 656 being only the second bill I have had vetoed over my entire public service career, it provides an opportunity to share that I do not react well to vetoes. By this, I mean that I may come back with a different or improved iteration in a subsequent Session. I hint at it in my release on SB 656’s veto, which is provided by the Orange County Breeze in the second piece below.

Allow me to further explain what I mean. I authored Senate Bill 1463 in 2016. It is the first bill of mine that Governor Brown vetoed. It tried to prevent wildfires caused by disrupted or broken electric power lines. Tragically, in the two subsequent years after the Governor’s veto, numerous innocent and mostly elderly people have died as a result of wildfires from electric transformers and lines sparking in high gust weather conditions.

SB 1463 (2016) would have, at the minimum, accelerated the fire prevention efforts at the California Public Utilities Commission and CalFire so the electric utilities could have had the validation to expedite their processes of hardening the infrastructure that causes fires.

Sadly, the Governor’s veto message essentially said, “The bureaucrats are doing their jobs and I prefer to look the other way and let them finish . . . sometime . . . someday . . . in the future.”

Not that SB 1463 would have stopped all of the fires we’ve seen. But, can you imagine what may have transpired if Gov. Brown had taken this bill seriously? Perhaps there could have been one or two fewer fires. Some mitigation efforts to strengthen lines or transistors could have been easily done.

When Sen. Bill Dodd (D – Napa) introduced SB 901, I immediately asked to be a coauthor. I do not coauthor many bills. But, it was focused in the same vein as my redux of SB 1463 in 2018. I used the same bill number as two years prior, but added the use of Cap and Trade revenues to fund hardening the utility lines around the state. That funding would have brought upwards of $600 million annually to address California’s problematic and ostensibly, reduce GHGs caused by wildfires. My bill was killed in the first Senate committee hearing. This bill had no formal opposition. I can only assume the Committee members who voted against it were more concerned about their pet AB 32 projects than about actually reducing GHG emissions. But, SB 901 became the vehicle for a massive wildfire reform package.

For my Senate colleagues in the impacted areas, it created a Conference Committee near the conclusion of this year’s Session to address dealing with utility caused wildfires. And, why not? I stood up on the Senate Floor on many occasions to point out the massive loophole in AB 32’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases because it did not include those generated by wildfires. So much so, that a few days of wildfires generate more GHGs than all of California’s cars driving for an entire year!

When asked by the Sonoma Valley Sun, for the first piece below, why I voted for a bill that would cost PG&E ratepayers a lot of money, I had two responses. The first is that I have very few PG&E ratepayers in my District. A calloused answer, I know. But, if you live in areas with a higher fire danger, there is an increased cost for addressing this risk.

The second answer was that SB 901 took my recommendation to use Cap and Trade revenues, to the tune of $200 million per year over five years. This is an appropriate use of this unique tax in addressing the generation of GHGs by reducing wildfires.

Not all of my bills will be signed by the Governor. But, when a core piece from one of my bills shows up in another bill, thereby having my fingerprints, then I just may be on board. I even stated the same in behalf of SB 901 on the Senate Floor during the waning hours of this year’s Session (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rEQ9uM7P-o).

For additional history on this matter, here is the journey I’ve had on this topic:

Introduction of SB 1463 in 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 — March 25, 2016

After numerous committee hearings and three Floor votes, SB 1463 headed to Governor’s Desk

MOORLACH UPDATE — Moving Down the Line — August 31, 2016

Strong editorial in support of reducing wildfires

MOORLACH UPDATE — First Veto — September 24, 2016

Governor’s Veto

MOORLACH UPDATE — First Veto — September 24, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — Rejection/Disappointment — September 27, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — Thank you, Vin Scully — September 28, 2016

After the Santa Rosa fire, the media noticed my previous efforts

MOORLACH UPDATE — Conflagration Legacy — October 12, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Secretive and Expensive Union Deals — November 3, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Burning Year End Issues — December 15, 2017

Bay Area disappointment in Brown’s veto and the tragic fire

MOORLACH UPDATE — Bonuses and Bogusness — October 21, 2017

Local frustrations over vetoed bill

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Safety Concerns — October 27, 2017

RCRC acknowledgement

MOORLACH UPDATE — Haven for Hope — January 19, 2018

SB 1463 Redux, with Cap and Trade funding introduced

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Redux — March 30, 2018

Second SB 1463 killed in committee with my reactions

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1297 – COO — April 19, 2018

My editorial submission to use Cap and Trade

MOORLACH UPDATE — Reducing Wildfires — July 31, 2018

Efforts to use Cap and Trade funding acknowledged as a potential solution

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Tornado Funding — August 2, 2018

Other commentators lamenting the lost opportunities with both SB 1463s

MOORLACH UPDATE — Spewing Carbon Into The Air — August 8, 2018

All to show that my office is providing a full portfolio on critical issues facing California, besides pension liabilities and unrestricted net positions. There is so much to do. And, sometimes, the Legislature picks up on an idea that, I believe, makes sense.

How the state — and you —will help PG&E pay for the fires

PGE_WildFire-Work_ENRready

By Dan de la Torre

http://sonomasun.com/2018/10/04/how-the-state-and-you-will-help-pge-pay-for-the-fires/

At the one-year anniversary of the fires which burned nearly 200,000 acres and claimed the lives of over 40 people in Sonoma and Napa counties, the cost of rebuilding is beginning to take shape — as is PG&E’s ultimate responsibility to pay for it.

The bills are still coming in, and lawsuits against the utility pending. But State Senator Bill Dodd, whose district was ravaged by the fires, thinks the figure is about $10 billion. His SB 901, signed into law by Jerry Brown, authorizes that much in bonds.

To back those bonds, every PG&E ratepayer, even those outside the fire area, will now see $50 added to the monthly bill — for at least 20 years. The other $5 billion will come from PG&E itself.

In the immediate aftermath of the fires, blame seemed to be focused solely on PG&E, and the company began a defense on multiple fronts. Because of a legal doctrine known as Inverse Condemnation, PG&E knew that it couldn’t fight any legal battles in court because of the way the language is structured in that particular law.

The law in essence says that even if PG&E did everything it was supposed to regarding maintenance and equipment, as mandated by the state-run California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), it would be liable — no matter what.

With this in mind PG&E began a media campaign to improve its image. It ran ads profiling how the company interacts with the community. It also ran commercials on how much money it spends on overall maintenance, its equipment, and its program to trim tree branches from around power lines. PG&E said it spends $1 billion annually cutting down dead trees and dry brush.

wildfire_powerline

PG&E also blamed climate change as one of the main factors in last year’s fires, something that Governor Jerry Brown has also strongly advocated.

In Sacramento, PG&E lobbied legislators to find a compromise that would allow the company to continue without facing bankruptcy. The legislature and the governor went back and forth with a number or proposals before settling on SB 901. The chief architect of this bill was state Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa).

The Sun recently interviewed both Dodd and Senator John Moorlach (R- Orange County) to get an overview of the bill.

According to both Senators, the 100-plus-page bill addresses the issue on several fronts. A) It makes it easier for PG&E to engage in forest management including tree cutting and disposal of dead wood and dry brush caused by the recent drought. B) Working alongside the CPUC, PG&E will begin the preliminary process of designing underground power lines. C) A financial “stress test” will be conducted to determine how much PG&E can pay without causing it to go into bankruptcy and cause its stockholders, many which are elderly and depend on a limited return from these stocks, to continue to invest.

Senator Dodd suggested that SB 901 will allocate approximately $10 billion in the form of bonds that will immediately be available to plaintiffs suing PG&E. For their part, ratepayers will be assessed that $50 monthly surcharge.

With over 200 individual lawsuits and virtually every city, county and municipality affected by the fires engaging in their own lawsuits, the assumption from Senator Dodd is that $10 billion will be enough to cover all costs.

But it does not address overruns, and it is far from exact.

One of the cities suing PG&E is Santa Rosa. “Honesty I don’t know, as the city is still assessing how much damage the fires caused so at this point there is no price tag,” Assistant City Attorney Adam Abel told The Sun.

To complicate state budget matters, SB 901 does not address claims in connection with lasts year’s devastating fires in Southern California. Or more recent fires in Redding and beyond.

As noted, all PG&E customers will chip in with that monthly $50 fee — no matter where they live.

Diana and Doug Gill, visiting Sonoma from Livermore recently, say the situation is frustrating. They understand that someone has to pay for the overall costs but are demanding more answers. Diana questioned not just the cost of the fire but the cause, as she doesn’t believe that a fire could have spread as rapidly as it did. Like many, she questions if there is a missing element that hasn’t been made public.

SB 901 was signed into law on Friday, September 21. Brown, whose term is ending this year, has said that long, epic fire seasons will be the new normal in California. How to pay for them remains the question.

A plausible possibility is a bill that didn’t pass, but could come back in the next session. AB 33, introduced by East Bay Assemblyman Dr. Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), would have also issued a series of bonds to expedite payments, but had no ceiling price cap. The bill would authorize as many bonds as needed — $50 billion or more was a number mentioned by Quirk’s office.

That figure may have been too high for an election year, but the 2019 legislature might reconsider such an option when the costs of fighting more recent fire disasters come due.

 

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Governor Brown vetoes Moorlach Judicial Pension Reform SB 656

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/10/01/128123_governor-brown-vetoes-moorlach-judicial-pension-reform-sb-656/

I am disappointed that Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed Senate Bill 656, which I authored. At a minimal cost, it would have made key changes to the retirement system of the pensions of California judges, encouraging our best lawyers to seek these positions, and our best judges to stay in them. More than 800 California Superior Court Judges signed on in support of SB 656, as comparable retirement incentives for all state employees was a fair and just modification to make. And providing the appropriate benefits ensures judicial quality and integrity, which are essential to our democracy.

Specifically, SB 656 would have authorized a judge, who is not otherwise eligible to retire with a monthly allowance, to retire and receive the annuity at a later date upon reaching the prescribed retirement age. It would have permitted those judges who face difficult personal circumstances in their later years, such as caring for an ailing spouse, to leave office with the promise of later taking the retirement they worked so hard to achieve.

That means the current system is retained. Under it, if a judge must leave office early, he or she must take a lump sum payment instead of retirement annuity, a reduction in benefits that discourages the best from seeking and accepting these posts.

I want to thank my staff, who worked on this bill for two years, for all of their hard work. I also want to thank the staff at the California Public Employees Retirement System for their assistance in drafting the language. Most importantly, I want to thank the majority of California’s Superior Court judges who took the time to encourage us in this endeavor.

This year Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law two of my three bills that reached his desk. I want to thank him for those he signed. But, I believe that SB 656 is so critical to the morale of our judicial colleagues, that I am considering reintroducing this necessary solution again next year under the next governor.

This article was released by the Office of Senator John Moorlach.

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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018

The first piece below is a Voter Guide for seven of Orange County’s wonderful 34 cities. The question was how to recommend council candidates. Instead of doing it in alphabetical order or those within my Senate District first, I decided to do it in reverse order according to Unrestricted Net Positions and in five groups.

The first seven cities below need strong fiscal leadership. How Costa Mesa is in 34th place has me baffled. With South Coast Plaza and the Harbor Boulevard of Cars, it should be one of the strongest in the rankings.

The Voter Guide screening is simple. I first provide those candidates that are registered Republicans. For positions with no Republican candidates, I have no recommendation or I mention the Democrat (*) with whom I have a relationship. Those in bold are endorsed. Those in italics are a good first or second choice.

Smaller groupings allows me to provide more color, so here is the first of five.

Costa Mesa — Sandy Genis and I go back more than three decades as fellow Mesa Verde residents. We served as officers of the Homeowners Association back then. We have not always agreed on a number of issues, but we have enjoyed a good relationship. As a city planning professional, she brings the best skill set to the Mayoral position.

Newport Beach — I know all of the candidates personally, but one, Joy Brenner. I’m not sure about her party registration, as her publicly disclosed personal political contributions to Democrats are confusing. Although I’ve decided to stay neutral in all four districts, I am thankful for the fine relationships I enjoy with the incumbents, including their resolve on addressing the city’s pension issues.

Anaheim — Over the years I’ve built a rapport with Cynthia Ward. She knows the city and does excellent research. She has no elected experience, but she would bring a down to earth approach to this critical job. In District 6 there are two candidates who will do a great job. Patty Gaby brings a fresh citizens approach to the seat.

Huntington Beach — The easy road is to endorse all four of the incumbents. But, Ron Sterud is a financial planner who would bring these badly needed skill sets to the Council. Billy O’Connell is a friend, but this time consuming role interferes with his focus on his critical nonprofit organization.

The second piece is a recent letter to the editor in the Santa Maria Times.

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Vote yes on Prop. 6

https://santamariatimes.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-bill-ostrander-on-ag-policy-take/article_307c601c-b150-5751-9f0f-520fe165c5d0.html

On Nov. 1, 2017, the tax on California gas increased another 12.5 cents per gallon (20 for diesel) plus increased our auto registration fees — up to $175. Even this latest increase contains no gaurantee our money will go to roads. State senator and CPA John Moorlach released a stunning report, only 20 percent of existing gas tax goes to roads.

The Yes on Prop. 6 campaign qualified to be on the ballot with nearly a million signatures (nearly double what is required) and has an alternative solution to fixing roads without a tax hike. Yes on 6 would save a typical family of four more than $700 a year.

The Yes on 6 campaign has over 25,000 donors statewide and over 20,000 volunteers working throughout California. It is wise to research: Why has the opposition raised $28 million from big corporate donors including more than $3.9 million from out- of-state special interests to raise our taxes? This means the Yes on 6 campaign is being outspent 28-to-1.

Kitt Jenae

Nipomo

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MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 656, 905, 174 and AB 3129 — September 30, 2018

The Governor waited until the final allowable day, the deadline, to weigh in on SB 656 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Final Hours For Bills — September 28, 2018). He decided to veto it.

I know this was a difficult bill for him. Does he stick to absolutes, not allowing any pension modifications since his minimalist Public Employee Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) passed around this time six years ago (see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 340 Withholdings — September 12, 2012 september 12, 2012 john moorlach)?

Or does he sign it to address a flaw in the current retirement plans that his Judicial appointees have to live with? A formula where rank and file staff and even courtroom janitors have a better retirement plan (see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-656-judicial-retirement-system)? A flaw where many good candidates turn down the offer of an appointment to the bench?

I believe we had a righteous bill, correcting a concern that became evident after nearly 24 years of experience, that could be remedied with a minor deferral modification at no or minimal cost. I say no or minimal, as the actuarial studies leaned toward the worst case situation more than what is most likely to occur. I’m confident in this as I believe most judges like their jobs and stay long after retirement age. And, besides, the cost would be tantamount to an insignificant increase in wages if a raise is considered, but it would be a much more powerful morale booster than a pay raise.

Thank you, Governor Brown, for giving it your attention for the entire month. We have all been busy with the legislative process with August having the focus on the Assembly and the Senate and September having the focus on you.

The East County Today provides a review of a few bills in a manner that reflects my vantage point. It provides the legislative votes and the Governor’s veto message, if applicable.

Now that you have the status on SB 656, as it may be tomorrow’s news, at least in legal publications, today let’s discuss SB 905, SB 174 and AB 3129.

Believe it or not, I supported SB 905. I don’t go to bars, never really have, but that doesn’t mean I should prevent others from staying out past 2 a.m. The Governor saw it differently in the first piece below. It provides the background, the Governor’s message, the details of the bill, and the voting record, highlighting how the East Bay legislators voted. This information is also available at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/.

The second East County Today piece addresses SB 174, a bill that I recommended that the Governor should veto (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2018 Top 20 Veto Worthy Bills — September 13, 2018). Well, good news. The Governor vetoed it!

The third East County Today piece addresses AB 3129, which I thought was headed in the right direction, but was a tad severe. The Governor liked the bill.

Governor Brown Vetoes Bill Allowing Cities to Extend Last Call to 4 a.m.

By
ECT

http://eastcountytoday.net/governor-brown-vetoes-bill-allowing-cities-to-extend-last-call-to-4-a-m/

A bill that was introduced by Senator Scott Wiener (San Francisco) that would allow local governments to extend alcohol services for bars and restaurants until 4:00 am was vetoed by Governor Brown on Friday.

According to the Governors veto message, he stated:

I am returning Senate Bill 905 without my signature.

This bill would authorize nine California cities to extend the hours business can serve alcohol from 2:00 am to 4:00 am.

Without question, these two extra hours will result in more drinking. The business and cities in support of this bill see that as a good source of revenue. The California Highway Patrol, however, strongly believes that this increased drinking will lead to more drunk driving.

California’s law regulating late-night drinking has been on the books since 1913. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem.

Sincerely,

Edmund G Brown Jr.

According to the Bill:

This bill, beginning January 1, 2021, and before January 2, 2026, would require the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to conduct a pilot program that would authorize the department to issue an additional hours license to an on-sale licensee located in a qualified city which would authorize, with or without conditions, the selling, giving, or purchasing of alcoholic beverages at the licensed premises between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., upon completion of specified requirements by the qualified city in which the licensee is located. The bill would impose specified fees related to the license to be deposited in the Alcohol Beverage Control Fund. The bill would require the applicant to notify specified persons of the application for an additional hours license and would provide a procedure for protest and hearing regarding the application. The bill would require the Department of the California Highway Patrol and each qualified city that has elected to participate in the program to submit reports to the Legislature and specified committees regarding the regional impact of the additional hours licenses, as specified. The bill would provide that any person under 21 years of age who enters and remains in the licensed public premises during the additional serving hours without lawful business therein is guilty of a misdemeanor, as provided. The pilot program would apply to Cathedral City, Coachella, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Francisco, and West Hollywood.

Date Result Location Ayes Noes NVR Motion
8/30/2018 (PASS) Senate Floor 28 8 4 Unfinished Business SB905 Wiener et al. Concurrence
Ayes: Allen, Anderson, Atkins, Beall, Cannella, De León, Delgado, Dodd, Galgiani, Glazer, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Lara, Leyva, McGuire, Mitchell, Monning, Moorlach, Morrell, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stone, Wieckowski, Wiener
Noes: Bates, Chang, Fuller, Gaines, Nguyen, Nielsen, Vidak, Wilk
No Votes Recorded: Berryhill, Bradford, Jackson, Stern
8/29/2018 (PASS) Assembly Floor 51 22 7 SB 905 Wiener Senate Third Reading By SANTIAGO
Ayes: Aguiar-Curry, Berman, Bigelow, Bloom, Bonta, Brough, Burke, Caballero, Calderon, Carrillo, Chau, Chávez, Chen, Chiu, Chu, Cunningham, Daly, Eggman, Fong, Friedman, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gray, Grayson, Harper, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Kamlager-Dove, Kiley, Low, Mathis, Mayes, Medina, Mullin, Obernolte, Quirk, Reyes, Rivas, Rubio, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Voepel, Weber, Wood, Rendon
Noes: Acosta, Arambula, Baker, Cervantes, Choi, Cooley, Dahle, Frazier, Gallagher, Gonzalez Fletcher, Irwin, Lackey, Levine, Maienschein, McCarty, Melendez, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk-Silva, Salas, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Travis Allen, Cooper, Flora, Gabriel, Limón, Patterson, Rodriguez

Governor Vetoes Bill to Let Noncitizens Serve on Boards

By
ECT

https://eastcountytoday.net/governor-vetoes-bill-to-let-noncitizens-serve-on-boards/

On Thursday, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB-174, a bill that would have allowed legal residents and undocumented immigrants to serve on local and state boards.

According to the Governor’s veto message, he stated “This bill would open up all boards and commissions to non-citizens. I believe existing law—which requires citizenship for these forms of public service—is a better path.

The bill was introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara who claimed the bill amends an obsolete and unconstitutional 1872 law that blocked the children of Chinese immigrants from participating in civic life. According to Government Code Section 241, a citizen of California is defined as anyone born in the state, except the children of “transient aliens and of alien public ministers and consuls.”

SB 174 deletes the language about “transient aliens,” and does not change eligibility to hold elected office or vote, defined as a person over 18 who is both a resident of California and a citizen of the United States.

In August, Lara Stated:

“Immigrants are integral to California’s success, but racism and exclusion are part of our history too,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). “The California Inclusion Act is fundamentally about good governance. SB 174 rejects our history of exclusion and says we make the best policy when we hear the voices of all Californians, regardless of where they are born or what they look like.”

Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) were coauthors of SB 174. Section 241 has been amended only once, in 1971, to lower the age of eligibility for elected office from 21 to 18.

The bill passed the State Senate with a 26-11 vote with Senator Glazer supporting it. In the Assembly, the bill passed with 46-28 vote with neither Assemblymember Frazier or Grayson casting a vote.

Date Result Location Ayes Noes NVR Motion
8/24/2018 (PASS) Senate Floor 26 11 3 Unfinished Business SB174 Lara et al. Concurrence
Ayes: Allen, Atkins, Beall, Bradford, De León, Delgado, Dodd, Galgiani, Glazer, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Jackson, Lara, Leyva, McGuire, Mitchell, Monning, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stern, Wieckowski, Wiener
Noes: Anderson, Bates, Chang, Fuller, Gaines, Moorlach, Morrell, Nielsen, Stone, Vidak, Wilk
No Votes Recorded: Berryhill, Cannella, Nguyen
8/20/2018 (PASS) Assembly Floor 46 26 8 SB 174 Lara Senate Third Reading By GONZALEZ FLETCHER
Ayes: Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Berman, Bloom, Bonta, Burke, Calderon, Carrillo, Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooper, Eggman, Friedman, Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Holden, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Kamlager-Dove, Levine, Limón, Low, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk, Reyes, Rivas, Rodriguez, Rubio, Santiago, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Wood, Rendon
Noes: Acosta, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Brough, Chen, Choi, Cooley, Cunningham, Dahle, Flora, Fong, Gallagher, Gray, Harper, Kiley, Lackey, Maienschein, Mathis, Melendez, Obernolte, Patterson, Salas, Steinorth, Voepel, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Caballero, Cervantes, Daly, Frazier, Grayson, Mayes, Muratsuchi, Quirk-Silva

Governor Brown Signs Domestic Violence Protection Bill

By
ECT

http://eastcountytoday.net/governor-brown-signs-domestic-violence-protection-bill/

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill aimed at increasing protections for survivors of domestic violence from gun violence.

The Bill, AB 3129, authored by Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), will prohibit a person who is convicted on or after January 1, 2019, of a misdemeanor violation of willful infliction of corporal injury upon a spouse, cohabitant, or other specified person, from ever possessing a firearm. The bill would make the violation of that prohibition punishable as either a misdemeanor or as a felony.

Locally, Senator Steve Glazer supported the bill along with Assembly members Catharine Baker and Tim Grayson. Assemblyman Jim Frazier voted against the Bill.

Here is the August Press Release when the Legislator Passed the Bill:

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Legislature today passed a bill by Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) that will increase protections for survivors of domestic violence from gun violence.

Assembly Bill 3129 would impose a lifetime ban on firearm possession against an individual convicted of a serious misdemeanor domestic violence offense. While federal law imposes a lifetime firearms ban on the purchasing or possession if convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, California law is more lenient than federal law by only imposing a ten-year ban.

“The role of guns in domestic assaults is not limited to homicides, in fact, a 2004 survey of female domestic violence shelter residents in California found that more than one-third have been threatened or harmed with a firearm,” according to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “In nearly two-thirds of all cases where a gun was present, the person harming their partner had threatened to shoot or kill her.”

“This bill is about saving lives. We need to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers,” said Assemblywoman Rubio. “Abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm, and domestic violence assaults involving a gun are 12 times more likely to end in death than assaults with other weapons or physical harm. In addition, a recent report from the Center for Disease Control found that 50 percent of all female homicide victims are murdered by their intimate partners. Current California law is inadequate, and this bill will provide one more layer of protection.”

AB 3129 will better protect our survivors of domestic violence by imposing a lifetime ban on firearms for individuals with a history of domestic violence. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.

Assemblywoman Rubio represents the 48th Assembly District, which is comprised of the cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, City of Industry, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Irwindale, Monrovia, West Covina, and the San Gabriel Valley unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including Bassett, Charter Oak, Citrus, East Arcadia, Ramona, Valinda and West La Puente.

Date Result Location Ayes Noes NVR Motion
8/23/2018 (PASS) Senate Floor 26 7 7 Assembly 3rd Reading AB3129 Rubio By Skinner
Ayes: Allen, Atkins, Beall, Bradford, De León, Delgado, Dodd, Galgiani, Glazer, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Jackson, Lara, Leyva, McGuire, Mitchell, Monning, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stern, Wieckowski, Wiener
Noes: Anderson, Gaines, Moorlach, Morrell, Nielsen, Stone, Vidak
No Votes Recorded: Bates, Berryhill, Cannella, Chang, Fuller, Nguyen, Wilk
8/27/2018 (PASS) Assembly Floor 53 19 8 AB 3129 RUBIO Concurrence in Senate Amendments
Ayes: Acosta, Arambula, Baker, Berman, Bloom, Bonta, Burke, Caballero, Calderon, Carrillo, Cervantes, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Cooper, Cunningham, Daly, Eggman, Friedman, Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Gray, Grayson, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Kiley, Lackey, Levine, Limón, Low, Maienschein, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk-Silva, Reyes, Rivas, Rodriguez, Rubio, Santiago, Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Wood, Rendon
Noes: Travis Allen, Bigelow, Brough, Cooley, Frazier, Gallagher, Harper, Kamlager-Dove, Mathis, Mayes, Melendez, Obernolte, Patterson, Quirk, Salas, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Voepel, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Aguiar-Curry, Chávez, Chen, Choi, Dahle, Flora, Fong, Holden

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Final Hours For Bills — September 28, 2018

The Governor has a few more hours to sign or veto the remaining bills on his desk. I’ll try to give you an executive summary next week on how many of the 20 worst bills Gov. Brown actually did, thankfully, veto (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2018 Top 20 Veto Worthy Bills — September 13, 2018).

One of the bills still on the Governor’s desk is AB 3120. It did not make it to the “Top 20” list, as a number of Republicans voted for it. I am half of the Senators that voted against it. I even spoke against it on the Senate Floor, warning about the potential repercussions implementing this bill will have on our school districts and nonprofits.

AB 3120 would extend the statute of limitations for filing abuse claims and lawsuits. This is righteous. But, it will be expensive.

School teachers who are perpetrators do not pay the damages, the school district does. Usually, the insurance companies provide the settlement funds. But, will they do so after all of the claims have already been settled and now the goal line has been moved? And, will they continue to insure school districts? If they do, how high will the premiums go? And, if not, where will the money come from?

School districts will have few choices if AB 3120 passes and more lawsuits are filed against them. They can litigate and hope to prevail. But, this is an even more expensive proposition if they lose the cases. They can file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy and have a Federal Court forgive the settlement amount, thus damaging further the claimants who have gone through an exercise permitted by this bill. But, we haven’t seen this bankruptcy strategy pursued in California, yet. They could go to Sacramento, which is funded by you, the taxpayers, with hat in hand. But, the general fund is spent out, with additional bond principle and interest payments on the horizon. Or, they could attempt to put an assessment on your property tax bill, again burdening you, the taxpayer.

And I haven’t even mentioned what it may do to nonprofits, who do not have the potential remedies that school districts have. That’s why I took the risk of opposing a powerful legislator’s bill.

These are probably not the politically correct arguments to make, but I represent all of the taxpayers and need to provide balance to what appears to be a vindictive remedy. So, I’ve provided my concerns in the Fox & Hounds piece below.

Another bill still on the Governor’s desk is my SB 656

(see MOORLACH UPDATE — Attaboy — January 22, 2018 ). SB 656 would make minor modifications to the Judicial Retirement System, Tier 2 (also known as JRS II). It is supported by more than one-half of the Superior Court Judges in California, including Judge Lance Ito, who has come up to Sacramento twice to testify on my bill’s behalf.

Orange County Superior Court Judge John Adams was the instigator of this two-year bill. CalPERS was a huge assist in writing the language. It addresses a work hardship concern for those in this pension plan and will provide the Governor either an opportunity to assist many of his appointees to the bench or to shut the door on any pension plan adjustments post his PEPRA legislation.

I’ll be on pins and needles this weekend.

Justice v. Retribution: AB 3120 Could Bankrupt Schools, Non-Profits

Senator John Moorlach

By Senator John Moorlach California State Senate, 37th District

http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2018/09/justice-v-retribution-ab-3120-bankrupt-schools-pensions/#facebook-comments

Assembly Bill 3120 is aimed at the wrong target. I’m for justice, not retribution.

The bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, would increase childhood assault victims’ ability to sue both perpetrators and employers for claims that already have passed the statute of limitations. Yes, crimes committed against children are egregious, and deserve to be addressed swiftly without hesitation or disregard. I share the sentiment of the author. Something must be done.

Sexual misconduct allegations have prompted a series bills in the California Legislature, many of which I’ve supported. This legislation echoes a cry heard across the nation as the #MeToo movement exposed those who have abused positions of power to suppress the weak.

The need for justice is valid, but the vengeance unleashed when bills like this come into play negates the very issue it’s seeking to remedy. While trial attorneys may take 40-60 percent of the damages, schools and other non-profit organizations will be left with little to no resources to rebuild or repair.

That includes public schools, many of whose finances are in very bad shape. According to my analysis of California’s 940 K-12 school districts, about two thirds already suffer negative balance sheets. Even worse news will strike over the next year as, for the first time, their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports must now include unfunded retiree medical liabilities.

For small school districts, one additional lost abuse lawsuit resulting from AB 3120 could lead to insolvency and the cancellation of those retiree benefits. Abuse victims also could receive reduced or no compensation from empty school treasuries.

Those districts that can make payouts will find it impossible to train or implement better procedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again as their budgets will be either completely drained, or greatly impacted from higher insurance premiums (if they can obtain insurance). We cannot even be certain the threat will be eliminated, as a considerable amount of time has passed and employees who perpetuated the abuse are most likely no longer to be present at the school.

We’ve seen this before. In 2002 the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1779 by state Sen. John Burton, D-San Francisco, opening up the statute of limitations retroactively for one year. Despite that, children continue to be abused and cover-ups still occur.

I’ve dedicated my public career to repairing the fiscal integrity of those municipalities I’ve served. In a time when schools are facing massive fiscal distress, I find it troubling the Legislature would even consider such a measure. This is a righteous cause, but it has the potential to devastate school districts and make obtaining insurance next to impossible.

California needs to focus on policies that prevent sexual misconduct so we don’t create more victims. This new legislation is a reactive approach to an issue that requires a proactive, preventative solution.

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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Federal/State/OC Races — September 26, 2018

Below is my Voter Guide for the Federal Congressional, State Senate, Assembly, Judicial and the remaining Orange County Supervisorial and Countywide races.

Again, as a member of the Senate Republican Caucus, I am encouraged to support Republican candidates.  They are provided below in bold.  For the Congressional candidates that I do not personally know, I’ve italicized them.
With the top two rule, there is one race with no Republicans.  Democrats have one asterisk and Libertarians have three (also see  MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Statewide Voter Guide — September 24, 2018).
For the judicial portion of the ballot, I have no severe negative news to provide you with strong ammunition for a “no” vote.  These are nonpartisan and party affiliation is not provided.  Judges up for renewal in these positions are rarely rejected, the last time being 1986, if my memory serves me correctly.
The position of Orange County District Attorney-Public Administrator still finds me with no position.  Both the incumbent and the challenger are registered Republicans and you can vote for either candidate.  However, I may issue a separate UPDATE on this race in the near future.
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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Statewide Voter Guide — September 24, 2018

California’s “top two” primary election process, established by voter-approved Proposition 14 in 2010, has converted the June primary election into a nonpartisan-like event where only the top two vote-getters move on to the November general election.

This finds a few statewide races, which are addressed in the piece below, with no registered Republican candidates. Consequently, Democrats are noted with an asterisk (*) and No Party Preference (NPP) are noted with a double asterisk (**). As a member of the California Republican Party, I am encouraged to endorse those candidates who have been registered as Republicans for at least one year.

If you want a quick summary of the information below, those listed in bold are registered Republicans and have my endorsement. Candidates listed in italics would be those whom I would lean towards, as I do not have a Republican alternative. Those in normal type are provided, in the case of the statewide positions, as the second choice.

This is a voter guide to assist you in your decision-making process as you mail in your ballots or enter the voting booth. It is a tool in your research endeavors as an involved citizen. You are more than welcome to disagree with my recommendations and my decision grid. Just have a good reason for your vote.

Allow me to share some thoughts on my recommendations for a few of those candidates seeking statewide offices. For U.S. Senate, I would like to share that former Senate President Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon treated me with the utmost respect and courtesy when I arrived to the State Senate in March of 2015. Although I have voted against most of his major initiatives, we kept a very cordial relationship. We likened it to the wolf and the sheepdog in the old television cartoon shows, where they beat each other up during the day but, at the close of the work shift, they clock out together and walk off as friends. I’m sure he will support any Democrat opponent I may encounter, as this is a partisan sport, but we’ll still have good one-on-one communications.

Sen. DeLeon allowed me to fully participate in the “No Place Like Home” efforts, including editing original bill language and being a joint author on SB 1206, which pursued putting Proposition 2 on the November ballot (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — 2018 Ballot Measures — September 21, 2018).

I believe the incumbent, Dianne Feinstein, will prevail, as incumbents win 90 percent of the time. I do not believe Feinstein should have rerun for a host of reasons, but she is the more moderate of the two candidates. I see this race as an opportunity for Kevin DeLeon to position himself to possibly replace Senator Feinstein over the next four and maybe six years, as the California Governor appoints a replacement for U.S. Senators when there is a vacancy, as was the case recently with Sen. John McCain’s successor. Consequently, the vote for the next California Governor is more critical. Having a Republican Governor may shape national politics if Feinstein is re-elected. This is another strong reason for Republicans to show up at the polls.

For Lieutenant Governor, I have had the honor of serving with State Senator Ed Hernandez over these past four Sessions. We also disagree on almost every issue, but we have done it with professionalism and humor. Senator Hernandez is a class act and will receive my vote. If he wins, I hope to see him in the Capitol for the next four years, as his potential new office will be one floor below mine. For the record, I have not seen the current Lieutenant Governor in the Capitol hallways since I arrived.

For Insurance Commissioner, I’m leaning toward former Republican and former State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. I have enjoyed working with State Senator Ricardo Lara, but he is also to the left of Dianne Feinstein. I believe Poizner is better prepared to take back the position for another term and he and I have enjoyed a good relationship since his first stint in this position.

For Superintendent of Public Instruction, I prefer Marshall Tuck. I have worked with Assemblyman Tony Thurmond in the Legislature. Most Democratic legislators don’t wear their public employee union credentials on their sleeves, but Thurmond does. In fact, he is hardcore and, consequently, is receiving plenty of support from these unions, even the prison guard union. Someone that beholden is not going to be a change agent in a union controlled Capitol.

While I’m at it, it has been a true honor and privilege to work with Senators Gaines and Anderson these past four Sessions. Both are consummate professionals and will do admirable jobs serving as State Board of Equalization Board Members.

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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — 2018 Ballot Measures — September 21, 2018

It’s that time when friends receive their sample ballots and ask me what my positions are on the propositions and the candidates. I appreciate that good citizens not only want to vote, but also wish to make intelligent votes by reviewing numerous inputs and recommendations. Consequently, I’ll be issuing “campaign” UPDATEs over the next few days and weeks on the various segments of your ballots.

Your upcoming November 6th General Election participation opportunity includes 11 statewide ballot measures for your consideration. My recommendations are provided below.

The ballot measures garnering the most attention are Propositions 6 and 10.

Prop. 6 would lower your gas tax and annual auto fees to former levels, as this provided adequate funding to repair roads. Regretfully, Caltrans is a mismanaged department of transportation. Caltrans needs to be restructured, not your budget.

Prop. 10 is a socialistic effort to impose rent control. I’ve owned rental property and it is not an easy undertaking. To cap an investor’s ability to earn revenues is wrong on its face and a solution that will have dire unintended consequences.

For some of the other ballot measures, allow me to provide two basic decision principles. The first is, if at all possible, do not vote for a tax increase. Secondly, if at all possible, do not vote for a bond measure, no matter how righteous the cause, as it may lead to either tax increases or budget cuts in the future.

Propositions 1, 3 and 4 would authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds that will have to be paid out of the state’s general fund. However, since California has the largest unrestricted net deficit in the nation, it most definitely does not need to add to its current debt load (also see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Vote No on Proposition 68 — May 5, 2018, MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Proposition 68 — March 23, 2018, and MOORLACH UPDATE — Propositions 68 and 69 — May 18, 2018). Besides, why is Sacramento borrowing when it had $13 billion in additional revenues this fiscal year? Isn’t paying cash the cheapest and quickest way of addressing these proposed projects?

Proposition 2 is also a bond. However, it will have an existing revenue stream dedicated to addressing the principal and interest payments. The proceeds will be used to construct permanent housing, thus providing assets that will exist long after the loans are paid. And, the debt will be issued while the country is still in a low-interest rate environment.

Prop. 2 also has a story, which you’ve heard from me on a number of occasions. This is the “No Place Like Home” initiative to obtain $2 billion in funding to build immediate supportive housing for those who are homeless and mentally ill (see MOORLACH UPDATE — More Prop. 63 Repurposing — January 6, 2016). The income stream that is being securitized is the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) income tax on millionaires that was established with Proposition 63 back in 2004.

I don’t believe that the voters would rescind their support for the MHSA. I am not aware of any anti-tax organization that is going to gather enough signatures to reverse the Prop. 63 income tax on millionaires. Therefore, with this tax in place in perpetuity (theoretically), let’s use it in a more prudent manner by allocating it to pay down a housing mortgage for the most needy in our communities. Currently, counties are not spending these revenues, due to the lack of concrete allocation plans. Prop. 2 gives a specific usage directive by dedicating 6 percent of the revenues toward paying off the bonds.

By providing immediate housing, the diagnosis and treatment for those who are homeless and mentally ill can begin. But, it starts with housing. That’s why Prop. 2 is worthy of your vote. And that’s why I was a joint author with Senator Kevin DeLeon on SB 1206 to put this matter on your ballot (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Joint Author Details — July 7, 2018).

I believe the other ballot measure recommendations below are self-explanatory. But, I should mention that I am a strong proponent of Prop. 6. It would repeal the regressive gas tax approved by the supermajority with SB 1 (2017) that unfairly burdens our state’s poor and its commuters, who are forced to fund a mismanaged Department of Transportation that is in woeful need of reorganization. There are funds to repair our roads, but they’re not being spent wisely. You have received plenty of UPDATEs from me on this subject matter in the past, so I’ll stop my repetition. But, I will close to inform you that I am working on plans to address Sacramento’s methodology to fix its roads, so please stay tuned.

1 Issues $4 billion in bonds for housing programs and veterans’ home loans No
2 Authorizes state to use revenue from millionaire’s tax for $2 billion in bonds for homelessness prevention housing Yes
3 Issues $8.877 billion in bonds for water-related infrastructure and environmental projects No
4 Issues $1.5 billion in bonds for children’s hospitals No
5 Revises process for homebuyers who are age 55 or older or severely disabled to transfer their tax assessments Yes
6 Repeals 2017’s fuel tax and vehicle fee increases and requires public vote on future increases Yes
7 Authorizes legislature to provide for permanent daylight saving time if federal government allows Yes
8 Requires dialysis clinics to issue refunds for revenue above a certain amount No
10 Allows local governments to regulate rent No
11 Allow ambulance providers to require workers to remain on-call during breaks paid Yes
12 Bans sale of meat from animals confined in spaces below specific sizes No

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MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 688 — September 20, 2018

The Mountain View Voice provides another piece on legislation impacting those in the arena of mental health services below (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Youth Mental Health Care — September 15, 2018).

I worked with the County Behavioral Health Directors Association on SB 688, who were the bill’s sponsor, to collaboratively obtain a uniform reporting format that works for them and makes sense to the public (see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-688-mhsa-transparency).

It would seem that this would be a simple bill to move through the process, but it actually took my team two years to accomplish. And, it did not get over the finish line in the legislative process until the end of Session. We picked up great support along the way, as the link to my website displays the wonderful organizations that provided their assist.

Providing accountability and transparency is one of our key focuses, so this was a fun project. Thanks go to all that participated.

New state laws aim to boost mental health services

Gov. Jerry Brown signs mental health care bills into law

by Kevin Forestieri / Mountain View Voice

https://mv-voice.com/news/2018/09/19/new-state-laws-aim-to-boost-mental-health-services

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed several pieces of legislation this month aimed at fixing or improving access to mental health services in California, while vetoing one bill that promised to reimburse student loans for mental health professionals working in “shortage areas.”

Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign bills passed by the legislature last month.

Two bills signed by the governor seek to increase transparency and use of county mental health dollars provided through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), which generates close to $2.2 billion each year. Senate Bill 688, authored by Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), requires counties to fill out what he called “apples-to-apples” budget reports that make it easier to figure out how counties are spending mental health funds.

“Each of the counties watch their counterparts closely, and when there’s innovation, it should be mimicked,” Moorlachsaid in a Sept. 15 statement. “And when there’s waste, it should be called out. Consistent accounting leads to better accountability.”

Senate Bill 192, authored by Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and signed by the governor last week, sets up a “reversion account” for MHSA dollars to be reallocated when counties fail to spend down the money provided by the state for mental health care services. An audit report earlier this year found many counties were sitting on tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in unspent MHSA money, including $133 million here in Santa Clara County.

Assembly bills approved by the governor this week include AB 2022, proposed by Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose), which requires public schools to notify parents and students of mental health services available on campus and in the community at least twice per year, using a mix of hard-copy and electronic messaging. A previous version of the bill required that all public schools have “at least one mental health professional for every 600 pupils generally accessible to pupils on campus during school hours,” but that language was struck from the bill in April.

“By providing our kids and families with information about available mental health services, we will destigmatize and connect more kids to critical resources,” Chu said in a statement Tuesday. “I am grateful to the governor for his support.”

Assembly Bill 2639, put forward by local Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) requires schools serving middle- and high school-age students in the state to review and update suicide prevention policies every five years. The bill puts a particular emphasis on what he calls “high risk” groups including LGBT students, youth bereaved by suicide, students with disabilities and homeless and foster care students.

“This is critically important as youth suicide rates continue to rise,” Berman said in a statement. “The health and safety of our students is paramount and these policies better equip schools to recognize the warning signs and make the appropriate referrals for help.”

In the same vein, Brown also signed SB 972 by Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), which requires public, private and charter schools to print the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number on student ID cards. Portantino said that the number should foster an open dialogue about suicide, and that it would be worth it if “one life can be saved through this bill.”

Despite the widespread support for mental health legislation, Brown ultimately vetoed a bill proposed by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) that would have provided grants to offset the cost of student loans for psychiatric nurse practitioners and physicians working in a psychiatric setting in “publicly funded facility or a mental health professional shortage area.”

A recent report by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that behavioral health workers are in short supply across California, and that the state’s workforce of psychiatrists — 45 percent of whom are over the age of 60 — is expected to decrease by 34 percent between 2016 and 2018. Santa Clara County has fewer than 27 psychiatrists per 100,000 residents, lower than San Mateo and San Francisco counties, and even fewer psychiatrists licensed to treat kids and teens, which requires additional years of education.

In his veto message, Brown wrote that the state’s existing reimbursement fund for mental health professionals is already strained, and would be made worse by the bill because it doesn’t designate any additional funding.

“The loan repayment fund referenced in this bill lacks the necessary funding to pay for the hundreds of applications it currently receives,” Brown said in the message. “Adding more applicants as this bill requires just compounds the problem.”

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MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 9 — February 23, 2018

Yesterday morning’s Senate Floor session was historic. The Democrat Caucus met at length, then conferred with a Republican Caucus representative, usually Republican Senate Leader Bates, reconvened again, and so forth. After more that two hours of this haggling as to whether to expel or suspend without pay, Senator Tony Mendoza had a staff member submit his letter of resignation to the Chief Assistant Secretary of the Senate.

Our Republican Caucus requested to see the letter. We were informed that it was not accepted by the Democrat Caucus. Apparently, it appears that the President pro Tem wanted to expel Senator Mendoza for political purposes, as the California Democratic Party Convention is scheduled for this weekend in San Diego. Senator Mendoza’s resignation letter addresses this perspective.

Since the Democrats were dragging their feet on accepting the resignation letter, we requested a copy from Senator Mendoza, who provided an electronic version, and I and many of my colleagues tweeted it out (see https://twitter.com/SenatorMoorlach/status/966759386512203776 ). Shortly after this maneuver was done, the Democrats reconvened the session, announced that the Senator’s resignation had been accepted, and promptly adjourned.

There’s the drama. Please don’t make the mistake of assuming that the Republicans were politicizing this sad incident. But, don’t make the mistake that the Democrats were not.

In the last four months, four Democrats have resigned from the legislature, thus removing their super-majority. God does work in mysterious ways.

After the Senate Floor session was quickly adjourned, I was met by a large group from the media as I tried to return from the Chambers to my office. This historic event is covered in the three pieces below by Capital Public Radio, CBS Channel 13 Sacramento (which also aired on their LA affiliate stations), and CBS Bay Area, respectively, below.

The fourth piece below is Volume 9 of the per capita analysis of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports of California’s 482 cities, which provides the cities from number 100 to 51. It also includes another 2 million people, or 5 percent of the state’s population, bringing us up to 80 percent of the state’s residents.

This grouping includes four Orange County cities, Dana Point (#89), and three from my District, Laguna Woods (#100), Lake Forest (#86), and Laguna Beach (#55). For links to the other seven volumes, go to MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 8 — February 22, 2018.

Volume 10 is next and will include the top 50 cities, which covers only 3 percent of the state’s inhabitants. The remaining 17 percent reside in unincorporated areas, which means they are governed by their county boards of supervisors, versus city councils.

California Senator Tony Mendoza Resigns After Sexual Harassment Investigation, But Says He’ll Run For Re-Election

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/02/22/california-sen-tony-mendoza-resigns-cites-farcical-investigation-into-his-alleged-sexual-harassment/

Democratic state Sen. Tony Mendoza is already looking to regain his seat after resigning amid sexual allegations on Thursday.

A Senate investigation found that Mendoza “more likely than not” behaved inappropriately toward six different women, many of them former staffers.

Mendoza told Capital Public Radio he felt the investigation was politically orchestrated by state Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, who introduced a resolution to expel Mendoza earlier this week.

Senate Rules met about the resolution and was set to bring a disciplinary action to a full Senate vote today.

“He was focused on expulsion,” Mendoza said. “He wanted to make sure he smeared my name, and that I would not have any opportunity, or have a really hard time for my re-election this year.”

On the Senate floor moments after receiving Mendoza’s resignation letter, de León said the Senate did a thorough and necessary investigation according to its zero tolerance harassment policy. He added that Mendoza was given “ample opportunity to provide rebuttals to the allegations.”

“We have completed an exhaustive, objective and independent investigation done by professional experts,” he said. “The bottom line is, we’re going to protect our staff.”

Mendoza wrote in his resignation letter that de León “will not rest until he has my head on a platter.”

The former lawmaker is suing the Senate over the investigation, and plans to run for re-election in the primary this June.

De León and Mendoza are former housemates.

Republican Sen. John Moorlach, who represents parts of Orange County, said he and many of his colleagues thought Mendoza should be suspended until the end of session, without pay, and then be allowed to run again for office in June.

“He can make his case publicly,” Moorlach said. “We’re not individuals that are selected because someone hired us. We’re here because someone voted for us. So, the voters should’ve had their say.”

On Thursday afternoon, Mendoza’s photograph was removed from the roster of senators in the hallway outside the Senate floor.

State Senator Who

Resigned Files Papers To

Run For Office

By Lemor Abrams

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2018/02/22/tony-mendoza-office-election/

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s the latest twist to a sexual harassment scandal rocking the legislature since October.

Embattled state senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) announced in writing Thursday, he’s resigning.

The move shocked his own party and came minutes before senators would’ve had the final word on his fate.

“A letter of resignation has been submitted,” said President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D- Los Angeles).

A fiery letter of resignation from their former colleague Tony Mendoza, was passed around and studied with great detail.

Mendoza wrote:

“I shall resign my position as Senator … as it is clear that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon will not rest until he has my head on a platter,.”

“We won’t tolerate abuse of power and a pattern of behavior that violates our harassment standards,” De Leon said.

The Senate leader, who once shared a Sacramento home with Mendoza, met with senators for hours.

It was a closed caucus. Lawmakers deliberated on a possible expulsion considered unprecedented in modern times.

“The fact is that nobody has been expelled from the Senate in over 100 years — that was the last time it happened. There were three clearcut cases of bribery,” said Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica).

But this was a case of alleged sexual misconduct, investigated by an outside legal team, over a period of months.

And the findings lawmakers say, were enough for Mendoza to lose support within his own democratic party.

“I think that his colleagues were not there to support him. I think they wanted to have him expelled,” said John Moorlach (R-Orange County).

But Mendoza isn’t calling it quits yet. The now ex-senator has already filed papers for another run for office.

“So that he brings his case to the voters,” said Moorlach.

Mendoza’s name may be on the June ballot. But it won’t be seen in Senate chambers anytime soon. His official picture was removed within minutes of his last-minute resignation.

A senate seal now marks the third legislator to step down over harassment claims, in recent months.

State Senator Accused Of

Sexual Misconduct Resigns

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/02/22/state-senator-under-fire-sexual-misconduct-resigns/

SACRAMENTO (AP) — A California state senator accused of sexual misconduct resigned Thursday just ahead of a possible vote to expel him, delivering a scathing resignation letter that called the investigation process a farce.

Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza of the Los Angeles area said he may still run for the seat this fall, putting his party in an uncomfortable spot. His resignation letter takes aim at the leader of the Senate, a fellow Democrat and Mendoza’s former roommate in Sacramento who was leading the effort to expel him.

“It is clear that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon will not rest until he has my head on a platter to convince the MeToo movement of his ‘sincerity’ in supporting the MeToo cause,” Mendoza wrote.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon spoke sternly on the floor of the state senate about changing the culture of sexual harassment in Sacramento.

“If we’re serious about changing the culture and holding people accountable for their conduct, we must start here and we must start now,” said de Leon

De Leon, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Dianne Feinstein, added the Legislature “won’t tolerate abuse of power and a pattern of behavior that violates our harassment standards.”

Mendoza is the third California lawmaker to resign over sexual misconduct allegations since the #MeToo movement erupted nationally last fall, leading millions of women to share their experiences on social media.

Lawyers investigating complaints against Mendoza, who is 46 and married, found that he likely engaged in unwanted “flirtatious or sexually suggestive” behavior with six women, including four subordinates, a lobbyist and a young woman in a fellowship with another lawmaker.

Several accusations against Mendoza first became public last fall in a report by the Sacramento Bee newspaper. Under pressure from other lawmakers, Mendoza took a leave of absence. Days before he was set to return in January, the Senate Rules Committee suspended him because the independent investigation had not yet concluded.

Mendoza sued for reinstatement last week alleging that the suspension was unconstitutional, among other arguments. He does not plan to drop his legal challenge.

In a letter pleading his case to colleagues Wednesday, Mendoza said he was sorry if anyone was offended by his behavior but continued to deny wrongdoing.

The investigation released Tuesday found he “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as offering a 19-year-old intern alcohol in a hotel suite at a Democratic event, suggesting a young woman in a Senate fellowship take a vacation with him and rent a room in his house, and asking several women about their romantic lives.

Mendoza argued in his resignation letter that the “more likely than not” was a low standard of proof not meriting a penalty as high as expulsion. He called the Senate’s process “farcical” and unfair.

“I think his colleagues were not there to support him. I think they wanted him expelled,” said Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

By shortly after 12 p.m., Mendoza’s photo had already been removed from the gallery of state senator photos in the Capitol building.

Mendoza has consistently denied wrongdoing and blasted an investigation that he claimed was unfair, illegal and racially motivated. His complaints illustrate the Legislature’s struggle to respond to growing demands for a change in a culture perceived as burying complaints and sheltering offenders.

“Removing senators from the process of deciding cases of sexual harassment involving their friends and roommates is imperative,” said Sen. Andy Vidak, a Republican who first moved to expel Mendoza in January. “The Mendoza mess has brought to light all of the flaws of our sexual harassment policies but hopefully will lead us to some resolution.”

The Legislature still hasn’t adopted fair and transparent policies for sexual misconduct four months after dozens of women who work at the Capitol sent a letter calling for a change in culture, said Samantha Corbin, a lobbyist and co-founder of a group called We Said Enough that formed in the wake of the letter.

“There’s a lot of room for interpretation, there’s a lot of ambiguity, and it does neither the victims nor the perpetrators any type of justice,” she said. “It’s unfair for everyone.”

Mendoza’s resignation was the best solution for the women who accused him of misconduct, but it hasn’t delivered justice or due process, Corbin said.

Leaders of the Legislative Women’s Caucus said more work remains to be done to ensure clear sexual harassment policies. Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman and Sen. Connie Leyva said the Legislature must ensure harassment claims are dealt with transparently and “no one is beyond reproach.”

Mendoza’s resignation letter was hand-delivered by an aide moments after the Senate Rules Committee lifted his suspension so he could return to the Capitol and publicly defend himself against expulsion. His photo was quickly removed from a wall showing the sitting lawmakers and replaced with the seal of the Senate.

Mendoza wrote that he wasn’t able to see the evidence against him and was ordered to remain silent about the allegations. He said he couldn’t get a fair hearing with so many of his fellow Democrats running for higher office and thinking about their own political futures.

Lawyers who conducted the investigation released Tuesday found that Mendoza “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as offering a 19-year-old intern alcohol in a hotel suite at a Democratic event, suggesting a young woman in a Senate fellowship take a vacation with him and rent a room in his house, and asking several women about their romantic lives.

Mendoza, who is 46 and married, said in his resignation letter that “more likely than not” was a low standard of proof that didn’t merit a penalty as high as expulsion. He called the Senate’s process “farcical.”

Mendoza had taken leave and then days before he was set to return in January, the Senate Rules Committee suspended him because the independent investigation had not yet concluded.

He doesn’t plan to drop a lawsuit he filed last week seeking reinstatement. He alleged his suspension was unconstitutional, among other arguments.

Elected officials need to hold themselves to a higher standard, and the Senate doesn’t need to hold itself to the same standard as a court of law, said Kim Nalder, director of the Project for an Informed Electorate at California State University, Sacramento.

“So long as there’s a process that’s transparent and rigorous, that’s what we should expect of them.”

The Senate could be challenged again soon. An investigation has concluded into Sen. Bob Hertzberg, whom at least three female colleagues say made them uncomfortable with hugs. The findings have not been made public.

Two other Los Angeles-area Democratic representatives, Raul Bocanegra and Matt Dababneh, resigned last fall. Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has taken leave after she was accused of groping.

Rank City Population UNP UNP Per Year of
(Thousands) Capita CAFR
100 Laguna Woods 16,319 $9,704 $595 2017
99 Stockton 320,554 $196,005 $611 2016
98 Goleta 31,760 $19,440 $612 2017
97 Orange Cove 9,369 $5,829 $622 2016
96 Live Oak 8,636 $5,445 $631 2017
95 Corona 167,759 $107,149 $639 2017
94 San Marcos 94,042 $60,067 $639 2017
93 Moorpark 36,828 $23,886 $649 2017
92 Menlo Park 35,670 $23,288 $653 2017
91 Palos Verdes Estates 13,663 $8,959 $656 2017
90 San Carlos 29,311 $19,429 $663 2017
89 Dana Point 33,699 $22,522 $668 2017
88 Bishop 3,954 $2,667 $675 2014
87 La Canada Flintridge 20,497 $13,860 $676 2016
86 Lake Forest 84,931 $57,503 $677 2017
85 Loomis 6,775 $4,612 $681 2017
84 Tulare 64,661 $44,306 $685 2016
83 Woodside 5,666 $3,906 $689 2015
82 San Dimas 34,231 $23,640 $691 2017
81 Clayton 11,284 $7,835 $694 2017
80 Parlier 15,500 $10,820 $698 2016
79 Yucaipa 54,324 $38,545 $710 2016
78 San Joaquin 4,070 $3,013 $740 2017
77 Grass Valley 12,859 $9,728 $757 2016
76 Los Altos 31,402 $24,047 $766 2017
75 Portola Valley 4,707 $3,615 $768 2016
74 Imperial Beach 27,510 $21,546 $783 2016
73 Biggs 1,905 $1,520 $798 2016
72 Poway 50,253 $40,985 $816 2016
71 Buellton 5,129 $4,325 $843 2017
70 Thousand Oaks 131,457 $111,482 $848 2017
69 Cupertino 58,917 $51,164 $868 2016
68 La Habra Heights 5,463 $4,967 $909 2017
67 Signal Hill 11,609 $10,616 $914 2017
66 Williams 5,431 $4,999 $920 2016
65 Atherton 7,148 $6,804 $952 2015
64 Rancho Palos Verdes 42,884 $42,210 $984 2016
63 Camarillo 69,623 $68,550 $985 2017
62 Ontario 174,283 $179,846 $1,032 2017
61 Tiburon 9,508 $9,843 $1,035 2016
60 Lafayette 25,199 $26,382 $1,047 2017
59 Hillsborough 11,753 $12,377 $1,053 2017
58 East Palo Alto 30,340 $33,919 $1,118 2017
57 Woodlake 7,768 $8,957 $1,153 2016
56 Laguna Niguel 66,689 $76,932 $1,154 2016
55 Laguna Beach 23,505 $27,254 $1,159 2016
54 Tulelake 1,002 $1,200 $1,198 2016
53 Arcata 18,374 $23,727 $1,291 2017
52 Hercules 25,675 $34,482 $1,343 2016
51 Pismo Beach 8,247 $11,111 $1,347 2017

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MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 8 — February 22, 2018

The Bond Buyer, the national daily for the municipal bond market, covers my three new pension reform bills and the one I’m coauthoring with Sen. Glazer in the first piece below.

The second piece provides Volume 8, with cities #150 to #101. This grouping covers about 5 percent of the state’s population, which means that three-quarters of the cities are in the bottom 382.

The six Orange County cities in this bracket are Stanton (#150), San Clemente (#142), Villa Park (#130) (which is in my Senatorial District), Yorba Linda (#129), Aliso Viejo (#107), and La Palma (#104).

One interesting city in this group is Loyalton (#124), the city that inspired SB 1032 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — CalPERS Exit Strategies — November 18, 2017).

The top 100 cities are next with Volumes 9 and 10.

For more on the first seven volumes and the four bills discussed in The Bond Buyer piece, go to:

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 1 – February 7, 2018
MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 2 — February 8, 2018
MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 3 — February 10, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 4 — February 12, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 5 — February 14, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 6 — February 16, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 7 — February 20, 2018

P.S. Senate Floor session started at 9 a.m. this morning. The entire agenda was focused on what would be done as a result of the Senator Tony Mendoza sexual harassment investigation and the resulting report that was released this week. After two hours of closed door Caucus meetings by held both parties, Sen. Mendoza submitted his resignation. It took the Democrats more time to accept it. So, many of my Republican colleagues and myself tweeted out his letter. This moved things along. The Democrats returned to the Floor close to the noon hour, announced their acceptance of Sen. Mendoza’s letter, and promptly closed the Session so many of my colleagues could catch their flights.

State lawmakers maneuver as CalPERS brings more change

By Keeley Webster

https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/state-lawmakers-maneuver-as-calpers-brings-more-change

Two California state lawmakers introduced pension bills as its largest public pension fund decided to shorten its amortization period to 20 from 30 years for all investments gains and losses.

The new actuarial policy the California Public Employees’ Retirement System adopted last week would raise employer contributions starting in 2021.

It comes on top of a series of rate increases since 2012. The largest came last year when the pension fund’s earnings forecast was dropped to 7% from 7.5%, but it won’t be fully phased in until 2024.

California State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said he thinks the best approach this year is to tackle public pension issues incrementally.

CalPERS’ actions enhance its long-term sustainability, but are “likely to precipitate short-term pressure to some governmental budgets,” Fitch Ratings said in a Friday report.

“Potential cost pressures will vary by locality and may depend on legal decisions going forward, but local governments in California will be especially challenged given their limited ability to raise revenues and a history of judicial decisions protecting existing pension arrangements,” Fitch analysts wrote.

The League of California Cities did not take a position on the latest change, because it received a mixed reception from the cities it represents.

Cities citing extreme financial hardship raised concerns that reducing the amortization schedule will increase their employer contribution rates even beyond what they can afford, according to the League. But some cities support the change because they believe it is prudent to shore up the fund and pay down the unfunded accrued liability faster instead of pushing the financial burden to future employees, employers and taxpayers, the League said.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, introduced three pension reform bills, revising two he floated last year that died in committee ahead of the pension fund’s announcement. Moorlach’sGOP holds only 13 of the 40 state Senate seats.

Senate Bill 1031 would allow public employers to freeze cost of living adjustments for retirees if the pension fund isn’t 80% funded, while SB 1032 would make it easier for local governments to exit CalPERS without paying termination fees.

CalPERS’ unfunded liability is currently estimated at $140 billion and it only has about 68% of the money needed to fulfill its obligations.

A third bill, SB 1033, would shift the burden of increased pension costs to the last city that hired an employee. Moorlach said that often a small city will train a police officer, who is then hired by a larger city and given a significant raise. The smaller city is then responsible for paying higher pension costs for the years the officer worked there.

Moorlach said he thinks the best approach is to tackle the issues incrementally. If Gov. Jerry Brown, in his last year in office, decides to create a trailer budget bill proposing more wholesale changes, Moorlach said he would support such an effort.

“It depends on how aggressive he wants to get this year and whether he has the juice or he’s a lame duck,” Moorlach said. “He has already done an amicus brief saying the California Rule has to be removed.” Moorlach is referring to a case before the state Supreme Court challenging the legal assumption that it is impossible to reduce future benefits accruals for current state and local government employees.

Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, introduced SB 1149 last week, which would offer new employees the option of choosing a more portable 401(k)-style plan and opt out of CalPERS. Moorlachis a co-sponsor.

Under Glazer’s bill, new employees’ contributions would be fully matched by the state, at the same level the state now contributes to CalPERS.

The main difference is that workers who leave state employment would be able to take with them the entire balance in their retirement plan, including both the employee and employer contributions and investment gains.

Currently, public employees have to stay in the job for five years before they vest into CalPERS or the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. If they leave before vesting, they do not receive pensions and they are not able to keep money their employers pay into the pension funds on their behalf.

“This pension reform idea would be good for employees and provide a more stable fiscal foundation for the state,” said Glazer, adding it would be especially attractive to younger workers who do not intend to work for the government their entire lives.

The change would make the state’s pension obligations more predictable, because the state would no longer be at risk of an unfunded liability for employees, who choose the new option, according to the legislation.

Glazer’s proposal is modeled after a University of California option that has been offered to new employees since 2016. More than a third of eligible UCLA employees hired since 2016 have chosen the 401(k)-style plan over the traditional pension system, according to the university.

Rank City Population UNP UNP Per Year of
(Thousands) Capita CAFR
150 Stanton 39,611 $12,720 $321 2017
149 Farmersville 11,248 $3,672 $326 2016
148 Ferndale 1,445 $477 $330 2017
147 Rancho Cucamonga 177,324 $58,568 $330 2017
146 Twentynine Palms 26,919 $8,985 $334 2017
145 Duarte 22,033 $7,466 $339 2016
144 Eastvale 64,613 $21,957 $340 2017
143 Adelanto 34,273 $11,892 $347 2014
142 San Clemente 65,975 $23,089 $350 2017
141 Walnut 30,134 $10,661 $354 2017
140 Chino 88,026 $32,426 $368 2016
139 Pico Rivera 64,046 $23,639 $369 2016
138 Lakewood 79,272 $29,923 $377 2017
137 Plymouth 1,009 $382 $379 2016
136 Gonzales 8,549 $3,330 $390 2017
135 Wheatland 3,509 $1,369 $390 2016
134 Calabasas 24,202 $9,452 $391 2017
133 Diamond Bar 57,066 $22,743 $399 2016
132 Loma Linda 24,528 $10,216 $417 2016
131 La Puente 40,455 $16,918 $418 2017
130 Villa Park 5,944 $2,505 $421 2017
129 Yorba Linda 67,890 $28,716 $423 2016
128 Hesperia 94,133 $40,510 $430 2017
127 Coachella 45,551 $19,631 $431 2017
126 Saratoga 30,569 $13,439 $440 2017
125 Vista 101,797 $47,397 $466 2016
124 Loyalton 766 $360 $470 2016
123 Colfax 2,070 $981 $474 2016
122 Brentwood 61,055 $29,172 $478 2017
121 Lawndale 33,365 $16,090 $482 2016
120 Los Gatos 31,314 $15,134 $483 2017
119 Santa Clarita 216,350 $104,942 $485 2017
118 Hollister 36,677 $17,813 $486 2017
117 Oakley 41,199 $20,395 $495 2016
116 Dunsmuir 1,612 $804 $499 2015
115 Blue Lake 1,295 $656 $507 2016
114 Windsor 27,371 $13,936 $509 2016
113 Rio Dell 3,447 $1,760 $511 2016
112 Marina 21,528 $11,012 $512 2017
111 Fillmore 15,683 $8,060 $514 2017
110 Calistoga 5,238 $2,730 $521 2017
109 Highland 54,377 $28,350 $521 2017
108 Weed 2,805 $1,495 $533 2016
107 Aliso Viejo 50,312 $26,883 $534 2017
106 Rancho Cordova 73,872 $39,760 $538 2017
105 Palo Alto 68,691 $37,300 $543 2017
104 La Palma 15,984 $9,052 $566 2017
103 Orinda 18,935 $10,917 $577 2016
102 Shasta Lake 10,386 $6,099 $587 2017

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

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