MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1099 — May 16, 2018

The joys of introducing bills is that you will invariably have opposition. That comes with the territory. But, when you do a bill to protect innocent residents with their First Amendment rights, who wish to attend a Ben Shapiro lecture, you don’t anticipate being attacked from an organization that is trying to defend Second Amendment rights. Especially when you reached out to them in drafting your bill.

If the opposition is legitimate, I try to make the necessary amendments, which we are attempting to do. But, when the attacks are fabricated and used to create a stir in order to generate contributions under a false pretense, then that crosses a line that most will be offended by. It’s a classic cheap shot.

In case anyone actually believed the ad hominem attacks against me by this coalition, let me remind you that I have voted consistently to protect every Californian’s right to defend themselves by any means necessary. I have consistently received “A” ratings by any relevant gun group, including the Firearms Policy Coalition. I was recently the Vice Chair for the Outdoor Sporting Caucus and sponsored several shooting and gun safety events here in and near the Capitol.

If these credentials are not persuasive enough, my parents and their immediate families faced the Nazis in the Netherlands during World War II and were threatened with their lives. I don’t need to be lectured on what happens when a government disarms its people. I am doing no such thing with my bill. I

I’m only trying to protect those who want to exercise their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble. This should not be a reason to defame my character just so this group can raise money off of their malicious attacks.

Outrage over this tactic has occurred and even a long-time Capitol reporter was not amused. The reaction appears in the Flashreport and is provided below.

By way of background, SB 1099 was a result of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the subject of hate speech on California’s campuses. My reaction to the testimony was that I want people to have their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble (see They should not be physically harmed by left-wing rioters like Antifa.

California’s Constitution provides the same guarantees in Article I, Section 3. (a):

“The people have the right to instruct their representatives, petition government for redress of grievances, and assemble freely to consult for the common good.”

Ben Shapiro was in attendance for that entire October hearing and provided his two-minute testimony at its conclusion (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Showmanship Let Down — October 7, 2017). I guess no good deed goes unpunished. SB 1099 was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee and is now in Senate Appropriations.

Katy Grimes

Fundraising Stunt by Firearms Coalition Attacks Pro-2A


Posted by Katy Grimes

California Republican Senator John Moorlach has authored a bill to protect people attending peaceful rallies and public events by prohibiting thugs at these events from carrying weapons of all kinds.

Sen. John Moorlach

However, in what appears to be a fundraising stunt, the California Firearms Policy Coalition claims Sen. Moorlach“is attacking your Second Amendment rights.”

The Need for SB 1099

“Antifa,” which promotes anarchy and communism, and disingenuously defines itself as “Anti-fascist activists,” is the most active, violent fascist group in America currently.

Antifa mobilized across the United States during President Trump’s election, and over Conservative speakers on college campuses. They have justified their use of violence as needed to combat perceived “authoritarianism.”

While most rational Americans identify Antifa as the real fascists, we watched in horror as Antifa protesters hurled glass bottles and bricks at police officers at a march in Portland, Oregon in 2017. They attacked peaceful protesters at a “No to Marxism in America” rally in Berkeley, CA, with 2×4 boards, pepper spray, and beat people with homemade shields that read “No Hate,” CNBC reported.

There were violent clashes at University of California, Berkeley, where conservative writer and speaker Ben Shapiro was scheduled to speak.

Yvette Felarca, the national organizer of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an Antifa group, has been arrested and charged with assault by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury, a felony, and participating in a riot, and inciting a riot. Felarca was even ordered to pay $10,000 in attorney’s fees and $1,100 in court fees, over her failed attempt to get a permanent restraining order against the former president of the Berkeley College Republicans, Troy Worden.

These violent protests by Antifa, where their thug members brandished weapons, violate the First Amendment rights of citizens to peaceably assemble. Antifa has made it clear they want to kill Conservatives, and scare the hell out of peaceable protestors. In fact, Antifa’s manifesto openly rejects free speech and defends assassinations.

Born out of these violent protests is Senate Bill 1099, authored by Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. SB 1099 would prohibit a person attending or participating in a demonstration or protest from carrying or possessing firearms, baseball bats, rocks, or lengths of wood or lumber exceeding specified dimensions, among other things. The crime would occur only after a person, who has been warned, refuses to dispose of the item or leave.

Moorlach said the United States Constitution declares that we not only have the right to free speech, but that we have the right to peaceably assemble. These rights are jeopardized when violent protesters overtake peaceful assemblies. People should have the right to a public assembly without the fear of being physically assaulted.

Yet the Firearms Policy Coalition interpreted SB 1099 this way:

“SB 1099, which was authored by state Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), would not just ban carrying a concealed firearm at rallies though. It would effectively ban being in possession of anything that could be used for self-defense while you are exercising your First Amendment rights.”

And they posted this meme on Twitter:

The Firearms Policy Coalition cannot possibly be a serious defender of the Second Amendment if they ignore the First Amendment, which promises “the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”

“I am used to being attacked from liberals, and usually from union reps,” Sen. John Moorlach said during an interview. “I was a tough negotiator. But I’m not used to it from a group I’ve gotten the highest rating on each year.” Moorlach also receives an “A” grade from Gun Owners of California.

Students attending a rally at U.C. Berkeley have a reasonable expectation that it will not be violent. American citizens who attend political candidate rallies have a reasonable expectation that they will not have to defend themselves from violent thugs.

But then came Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Yvette Felarca and her violent minions protested Milo Yiannopolous’ appearance at UC Berkeley and directly confronted pro-Trump protesters on March 4 and April 15 in rallies in Civic Center Park that turned violent. At many Trump rallies in California supporters were viciously attacked and injured by Antifa and BLM masked thugs. Arrests were made.

Why This Bill?

Twisting the meaning of SB 1099 and claiming it is anti-Second Amendment is farcical. Moorlach has made it clear that the goal of the bill is to protect people’s right to protest and attend rallies – without black-masked thugs hitting them in the head with lead pipes.

Sen. Moorlach explained how the Los Angeles City Council recently passed an ordinance restricting various items from being carried during a protest, ranging from metal pipes to tear gas, including heavy lumber capable of being weaponized. He said SB 1099 just mirrors this policy by implementing the same restrictions statewide. Los Angeles worked closely with their police department on these restrictions, and has taken the lead on protecting freedom of assembly.

Ben Shapiro speaking in the Senate Judiciary Committee

“On its website, the Firearms Policy Coalition claims SB 1099 “Prohibits CCW Permit Holders from Carrying at Rallies or Protests.” However, Sen. Moorlach and his staff said they invited the FPC to be involved in drafting amendments to the bill in order to fine tune the bill’s language to their liking. Instead of FPC engaging in a good faith process to mollify their concerns, FPC’s letter of strong opposition stated that there were no amendments that would satisfy them or result in a support position. How was Senator Moorlach supposed to work with that intransigent position? Should he surrender to their every unreasonable demand?”

Craig DeLuz is Director of Legislative and Public Affairs for the Firearms Policy Coalition, and a former Capitol staffer. He’s rock solid on gun owner’s rights, which is why this reaction is perplexing. Moorlach is not doing a gun grab. There are plenty of places where people are not allowed carrying a concealed weapon: Professional sports stadiums, airports, courthouses, hospitals, schools and government buildings.

Knowing the legislative process well, DeLuz could have easily drafted acceptable amendments. Instead, after only one committee hearing, DeLuz and his team began a attack campaign referring to Moorlack as a George Soros puppet. Soros funds many gun control initiatives.

The FPC claims SB 1099 “would bar CCW-holders from carrying a firearm at public rallies in California.” However, Moorlach said he and his staff told DeLuz they were open to amendments since they used the same language of the LA City Council’s ordinance, including addressing CCW permit holders.

But instead, the FPC came out swinging, even though DeLuz and his staff are well-acquainted with the bill and committee process.

“How do you build a coalition?” asked Moorlach, based on the FPC response and unwillingness to work together on the bill. And now, how can the Firearms Policy Coalition ask for Moorlach’s vote on any pro-gun bill after this grandstanding?

Has the FPC ever done a meme like the one of Moorlach on any other lawmaker, or are they just aligning their sights on Moorlach to raise funds?

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MOORLACH UPDATE — May Revision — May 14, 2018

Governor Brown announced his May Revision last Friday morning.

Low and behold, between Proposition 55 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 32 and Propositions — September 18, 2016) and the gas tax increase last year (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Not Amused — April 17, 2017andMOORLACH UPDATE — Do You Recall? — July 10, 2017), he has more than $8 billion in excess of the previously forecasted revenues. Now, there is a peculiar problem to have.

In one recent e-mail exchange with a friend, I lamented the perspectives on the state’s finances.

“California is like one of those 3-D photos which shows a different scene depending on the angle at which you are viewing the photo.

“Gov. Jerry Brown sees a surplus.

“Sen. Moorlach sees massive deficits.

“Gov. Brown looks at receipts.

“I look at balance sheets.

“And I see future generations grappling with major priority decisions thrust on them by this generation.

“Watching train wrecks in slow motion is getting a little old for me.”

So, I’m piping in with some ideas. They are in the FlashReport, which is the first piece below.

With this one-time money, let’s address one-time opportunities. Let’s not build the base, thus requiring ongoing funding in the years ahead.

In recent UPDATE editions you’ve heard me address homelessness, mental health services, electric power lines causing wildfires (that have wiped out greenhouse gas reduction goals by multiples), massive unfunded pension liabilities, upside-down unrestricted net positions at all levels of government, educational system fiscal hemorrhaging at all levels, and water storage mismanagement. So, Governor Brown, thanks for making a token stab at a few of these, but more can be done.

As I sit on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, including its Subcommittee 1 on Education, and last year on the Budget Conference Committee, which may occur again this year, the next four weeks will keep me very, very busy on what is now a $300 billion annual budget!

As additional funding for the homeless and mentally ill is provided in the May Revision, the second piece provides an opportunity to catch up on this topic in Orange County. I have mentioned that these concerns are on the radar screen with the Governor’s office, in the interview referred to by the Voice of OC below. The piece provides a wonderful biography of Federal Judge David O. Carter, whom I have known for more than two decades and have the utmost of respect for. And, my comments were made with that admiration in mind.

Gov. Brown’s May Revise Shows

No Need for Gas Tax Increase

By John Moorlach

The first takeaway from Gov. Jerry Brown’s May Revision of his budget for 2018-19 is that California didn’t need that $5.5 billion yearly gas-tax increase the Legislature passed last year. The proposal shows we have $8 billion in revenues in excess of projections.

In one area I persistently agree with Governor Brown, “Despite strong fiscal health in the short term, the risks to the long-term health of the state budget continue to mount.” Unfortunately, according to the governor’s budget revision, we have $291 billion in long-term costs and the legislature has done little to fix the state’s fundamental problems.

In his budget announcement and press conference, Brown emphasized the volatility of tax revenues, especially capital gains-tax revenues, shown in this chart:

And he emphasized we’re overdue for a recession. Of course, he didn’t mention it has been President Trump’s economic policies – tax cuts and regulation reform – that have lifted the national economy above the sub-par performance of the Obama administration.

“How you ride the tiger is what we now face,” he said. “It’s going up, but when it goes down, a lot of these programs will be cut. Life is very giddy at the peaks.” No doubt, he is right. But he also ignored most of the reasons for this volatility even as he pointed out the Rainy Day fund will be filled at $13 billion, though he estimated that an impending economic storm would require resources closer to $60 billion. That’s a budget hole expected in the next recession, which could be $30 billion a year for two years. In such a scenario, the Rainy Day Fund would provide just 22 percent of that potential revenue shortage.

I see a much bigger danger. Taxes are so high in this state. To survive the next recession, companies will flee to states with much lower taxes. Because of the state’s punishing taxes, including then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $13 billion tax increase in 2009, our state’s economy crashed hard. Unemployment soared to double-digits and was exceeded only by the rates in Michigan and Nevada. It may happen again.

The period of rising revenues we’re now enjoying should be used to reduce our already committed liabilities and the overall tax burden.

Of course, having increased taxes last year – not just the gas tax, but the cap-and-trade tax Brown pushed through, estimated at $2.2 billion a year – Brown wasn’t about to suggest cutting taxes. It will be up to the voters to repeal the gas tax this November.

Given that the rising tax revenues won’t be returned to the taxpayers who worked so hard to earn them, the governor at least is proposing spending the money on some true needs. I have worked up a list of options, below, of 15 one-time spending recommendations that should be prioritized. But first let me recognize three of Brown’s proposals that have some overlap to my suggestions:

· $2 billion for infrastructure: “The proposal will target these funds to the universities, courts, state facilities and flood control. Investments are also proposed for high-priority capital expenditures.”

· $359 million for homelessness. His proposal notes more funding will begin to flow “from a bond and a fee on real estate transactions” passed last year – another tax that I opposed and don’t believe we need. This money would be a “bridge” until these funds are spent.

· $312 million for mental health “for enhanced early detection of mental health problems and the education of mental health professionals.” The budget proposal also would put the $2 billion “No Place Like Home” initiative funding on the ballot “to accelerate the delivery of housing projects to serve the mentally ill.”

My proposals include prefunding the $2 billion for No Place Like Home, which will be paid back with the bond proceeds.

I’d also like to help out cities and counties with their pensions by injecting several billion dollars directed to their unfunded liabilities in lieu of taxpayer rebates. In his press conference, Brown unfortunately answered, when that question was raised, “A lot of cities signed up for pensions they can’t afford. The state can’t step into the shoes of the cities and counties. They’re going to have to handle that.”

Again, he’s largely right. And he’s actually putting his legal resources and political chits behind the overturning of the so-called “California Rule,” which ratchets up pension costs with no ability for governments to correct costs at the front end, leading them to fiscal ruin at the back end.

Because of that, we’ve got cities and counties laying off police and fire simply because their pension costs are so high. And the cities and counties can’t raise their tax base more than 2 cents on the sales tax. Current leaders in our cities and counties weren’t the ones who spiked pensions decades ago, but the California Legislature made it really easy.

Sacramento is renowned for taking funds from cities and counties during recessions. Giving something back to them would be a noble thing to do.

The state also has a backlog of rape kits. Not only is that unfair to the victims, but after catching the Golden State Killer, how many more predators could we catch and prosecute?

We also need to harden power lines across the state. If this state wants to emphasize electric cars, we’re going to be sending a whole lot more electricity around, which means more wildfires unless the power lines are put underground.

Compared to his January proposal, the governor’s May Revise only tinkered with education funding. But we could use more funding for career technical education. A lot of kids don’t want to go to college, but could have successful careers in the trades or other vocations. They should be afforded the training opportunities just as much as those we send to our elite institutions.

Finally, this budget largely is a stopgap getting the governor beyond his tenure in office. He said he wanted to leave it in good shape for his successor. But so much more needs to be done, especially in improving the state’s harsh anti-business fiscal policies, shoring up pensions, fixing long-neglected infrastructure and reducing the housing and homelessness crises.

Below is a list of my 15 policy proposals for spending the $8 billion in excess revenues. It is largely in priority order. And if the state wins the litigation for the No Place Like Home bond dollars, or it is approved by the voters on the ballot in November, then that money could be cycled into any of the remaining priorities.

Priority Description Amount

1 No Place Like Home Prefunding of approved bonding $2,000,000,000

2 Provide funding to 482 cities to be appropriated to

their pension liabilities $482,000,000

3 Provide funding to 58 counties to be appropriated to

their pension liabilities $580,000,000

4 Provide matching funds for city pension liabilities $964,000,000

5 Provide matching funds for county pension liabilities $1,160,000,000

6 Fully fund bringing current the Rape Kit testing backlog $12,500,000

7 Fund Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) gun

holder backlog $12,500,000

8 Hardening of electric power lines around state $1,168,000,000

9 Oroville Dam state water project conveyance levee

repairs $100,000,000

10 Temperance Flat construction $250,000,000

11 Refund the Fire Tax $471,000,000

12 Continue Career Technical Education Funding at prior

level $200,000,000

13 Renters’ Tax Credit increase $300,000,000

14 Opioid treatment and prevention task force $100,000,000

15 Water Tax off-set $200,000,000



Federal Judge in Homeless Case Keeps Everyone Running

By Thy Vo

Just before dawn on a dewy February morning, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter led a march of county workers, elected officials, lawyers and reporters through the county’s largest homeless encampment, a village of tents and makeshift shelters for more than 500 people along the Santa Ana Riverbed.

Unsatisfied with secondhand information about living conditions at the riverbed, the 74-year-old Carter, dressed in jeans and a blue sweater bearing the federal court’s seal, went to see for himself, talking to dozens of homeless people, picking up trash and recruiting volunteers.

If judges are normally weary of media attention, Carter embraced the pack of reporters trailing him along the river trail, saying the exposure would raise public consciousness about homelessness and spur people to “do the good thing.”

“We get it up there, and get it to boil,” the federal court judge said.

It was not Carter’s first visit to a homeless encampment, and it wasn’t his last.

Over the last few months, Carter, a Marine combat veteran who was seriously wounded during the Vietnam War, has demanded public officials run to catch up with “decades of neglect” on homelessness.

Under his pressure, county officials worked around the clock for a week to dismantle the riverbed encampment and relocate more than 700 people to emergency shelters and motels. Before officials could take another breath, he demanded they act on a second major encampment at the Santa Ana Civic Center.

Throughout the process, Carter visited shelters and encampments unannounced in the early morning, to get an unsupervised glimpse of how people were faring. He once visited the riverbed at 4:30 a.m. to check on a homeless couple he had met the previous evening, saying he could not sleep and had come to see of the couple was okay.

Now he wants city officials in south Orange County to find locations for new emergency shelters, or possibly face suspension of the anti-camping and anti-loitering laws that cities have used to police the presence of homeless people in public spaces.

“I was literally begged by one of your (county) supervisors to take a breath and slow down,” Carter said at a court hearing in early April. “No. Absolutely not.”

Some public officials were unwilling to go on the record criticizing Carter, while others who have been at odds with the judge didn’t return calls for comment. But his actions in the homelessness case have garnered plenty of controversy, including private accusations of judicial activism and that he is legislating from the bench.

Earlier this month, State Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) told television journalist Rick Reiff the judge is taking public officials to task on what they are doing to directly help the homeless.

“I just hope that he has an end game that works out well for everybody,” Moorlach said. “but it’s certainly rattling the cages of every single council member in Orange County.”

Combat Veteran

If the judge has surprised county politicians, for those who know Carter, he’s exactly in character.

“He gets down in the trenches. That’s the way he was in Vietnam, and in our platoon,” said former Marine Sgt. Al Anderson, who served as Carter’s platoon sergeant in Vietnam and remains a close friend.

The judge has been a fixture in the Orange County legal community from his time as a senior deputy district attorney in the late 1970s to his later appointments to the state Superior Court and federal bench.

Often described in articles and by those who know him as the hardest-working judge in Orange County, Carter is known to open his courtroom as early as 7 a.m. and work late into the evening, on weekends and holidays. Combined with his athleticism, younger attorneys often struggle to keep up with Carter.

A former college track athlete, as a deputy district attorney Carter would run 23 miles from the courthouse in Santa Ana to his home in Laguna Beach once a week, unless he was engaged in a major trial. He later ran the Boston Marathon in 2 hours and 36 minutes, and still exercises rigorously.

Carter declined to speak with Voice of OC for this story, citing a desire to stay out of the media until the end of litigation over homelessness.

Former state Assemblyman Tom Umberg, a Democrat living in Santa Ana who is currently a private attorney, said he has worked with Carter for years as part of the Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, a project of the State Department to provide support to the Afghan legal community.

Umberg recalled an appointment he made with Carter, about 15 years ago, to go running in Newport Beach.

“He just pulled up, got out of the car, and started running. I had to catch up with him,” Umberg said. “That’s emblematic of how he does things. He said ‘hi’ once I caught up to him.”

Carter was born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised by his grandfather after his father abandoned him at age four. His grandfather, a court bailiff, had a fourth grade education and worked in coal mines before joining the Army at sixteen, Carter told Orange County Lawyer magazine last year. He fought in the Philippines and achieved the rank of captain.

Carter also would go on to the join the military, joining the Marines after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a 4.0 grade point average.

He arrived in Central Vietnam as a 24-year-old lieutenant on Christmas Eve 1967, just before the start of the Tet Offensive, and immediately sought out Anderson, who was acting platoon commander. The two went back to Anderson’s bunker and talked for three and a half hours.

Anderson had already been in Vietnam for six months and their battalion, 1st Battalion, 9th Regiment, known as the “One Nine” had seen heavy combat. “You have to read people quick,” said Anderson.

“We were both sizing one another up. Can I trust this person?” Anderson said. “And the end result of that conversation was, ‘yeah, I can trust you with my life and I can trust you with the life of our platoon’.”

Most of Carter’s four months in Vietnam were spent in combat. The One Nine has the grim nickname “The Walking Dead” because of its reputation for high casualties and seeing heavy combat.

Carter’s experience lived up to that expectation. On April 16, 1968, outnumbered by North Vietnamese soldiers at Khe Sanh, 38 men from Carter’s platoon went up a hill, and only 8 came down. Carter was seriously wounded: a grenade blew off his lip, sniper fire shattered his arm in multiple places, and his face and teeth were injured.

He continued to fight for hours despite his injuries, but at the end of the battle, Carter was so seriously hurt he was mistaken for dead and put in a body bag.

Carter later received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his actions at Khe Sanh, and spent nine months recovering at a hospital in Guam. It was while recovering that he decided to become a lawyer, telling Orange County Lawyer magazine last year that he struggled with “survivor’s guilt.”

War changes many people, Anderson said, but many of the qualities he saw in Carter that first night in his bunker, he still sees today.

“He’s down to earth, very intelligent, but not presumptuous,” said Anderson. “I never want to hurt another person in my life. And he’s the same way.”

A Respected Jurist

After Vietnam, Carter went back to UCLA and received his law degree. He joined the Orange County District Attorney’s office in 1972, where he rose to Senior Deputy District Attorney in charge of homicide. Carter prosecuted the serial killer William Bonin, known as the “freeway killer,” who later became the first person executed in California by lethal injection.

In 1982, Carter was appointed a Superior Court judge by Gov. Jerry Brown, where he earned the nickname “King David.” He was known for pushing rehabilitative and educational alternatives to jail time for juvenile offenders, before it became a norm. He also created a tattoo removal program for gang members to encourage people to find jobs and transition back to society.

In 1986, while still a judge, Carter was recruited by the Democratic Party to run for the 38th Congressional District seat against first term Republican incumbent Robert Dornan.

If ambitious, highly motivated and driven, Carter was “raw,” said George Urch, Carter’s campaign manager at the time.

In addition to traditional campaign staples like direct mail, Carter’s strategy included “walking like crazy” across the district and standing on street corners and street medians during rush hour with a “Carter for Congress” sign, talking to voters.

“I kept trying to say, ‘that’s great, but most of those people aren’t registered voters and Democrats’,” Urch said.

If Carter had his way, his campaign would be run “with a Xerox copier and 18 pairs of sneakers,” Mike Houlihan, another campaign staffer, told the Los Angeles Times in 1986.

Carter ended up losing the primary to another Democrat and fellow former Marine, six-term state Assemblyman Richard Robinson, and returned to the state bench.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton nominated Carter to the federal bench, an appointment that was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate in 1999.

As a federal court judge, Carter has tackled some of the biggest cases to come to the Central District Court.

He presided over the longest trial in the history of the Central District, which involved the prosecution of more than 40 alleged Mexican Mafia members. The next year, Carter became involved in the indictment of more than 40 members of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.

Carter presided over a massive $500 million intellectual property battle between MGA Entertainment and Mattel over the rights to Bratz dolls. And in 2009, he dismissed a lawsuit brought by Laguna Niguel attorney Orly Taitz, which challenged then-President Barack Obama’s election based on claims that Obama is not a natural born citizen.

“He had to control a court room and multiple attorneys in cases fraught with legal challenges and high emotions,” U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller said of the Aryan Brotherhood and Mexican Mafia cases. “He can do that. And his work ethic is legendary.”

At 74, many remark Carter appears to run as hard as he always has.

“He’s a Marine who has been temporarily reassigned as a judge,” said Umberg.

In addition to dealing with heavy caseloads in his own courtroom, Carter has spent significant time doing humanitarian work overseas. His wife, Mary Ellen Carter, who he met during his congressional campaign, runs a nonprofit supporting schools in Malawi out of their Laguna Beach home.

Kate Corrigan, a criminal defense attorney who frequently appears before Carter, alters her diet to prepare for trials in his courtroom, limiting her caffeine intake and consuming “slow burn” foods.

“If you’re going to practice in his courtroom, you’ve got to have stamina, know what you’re talking about, and you’ve got to be ready, because he will not tolerate laziness, not knowing your case, and not doing the best you can,” Corrigan said. “He causes everyone in the courtroom to really elevate their level of practice.”

Carter’s style has generated some controversy.

In the 1980s, Carter began duct-taping the mouths of unruly defendants in his courtroom for spitting at court staff and shouting profanities, preferring to silence defendants rather than disrupt the proceedings. The American Civil Liberties Union reported Carter to the Commission on Judicial Performance, although he said he would continue the practice.

During the recent litigation on homelessness, Carter met privately with elected officials and power brokers, without attorneys on the case present; threatened cities with a Department of Justice investigation into the practice of dumping homeless people city-to-city; and held long court hearings where mayors and city officials from across the county were invited (his court staff took attendance to take note of who did not show up).

Moorlach said on a local television program earlier this month that he has been assisting Carter with “strategies in Sacramento.”

“(Carter) approached me and said, ‘I cannot call you, but you can call me.’ So I did,” Moorlach told Reiff.

Although at times effusive of the county’s efforts to clean up the riverbed, Carter could also be short-tempered, at one point angrily reprimanding the county’s lead attorney.

Corrigan believes Carter’s critics just aren’t used to a judge who does things differently.

“I’ve been on the podium examining a witness at 1:35 a.m. Was that a long day? Yeah, but it enabled the court to get all the information,” Corrigan said. “So I think people are quick to criticize when people don’t do things the way they see other judges do it.”

She points to early morning probation conferences where Carter descends from the bench and talks face-to-face with her clients.

“He makes them feel part of the community and takes an interest in getting them back into the community. If they’re messing up, he’ll sanction them,” Corrigan said. “When you have someone who comes out of a gang, to have a judge take the time to ask them how they’re doing, how are things – it’s a different type of relationship that develops.”

Carter was the same way with the young men in his platoon, said Anderson.

“That’s a real precarious place you’re putting yourself into as a combat leader, because you’re getting down on a very personal level with men that, tomorrow, you’re going to send into harm’s way, and through not of your own, some of them are not going to come back,” said Anderson. “It’s an emotional risk that you willingly engage in. Not all combat leaders do that, and that is part of who Judge Carter is.”

Corrigan believes Carter’s personal approach has made a difference in the lives of many of her clients.

“He becomes their champion,” she said.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Gov. Brown’s End Game — January 26, 2018

Before Hurricane Maria hit the territory of Puerto Rico, it was experiencing a massive out migration and was imploding due to high debts.

For those of you who heard me share my PowerPoint presentation at one of several speaking events last summer, here is a quote from the New York Times I shared:

With its creditors at its heels and its coffers depleted, Puerto Rico sought what is essentially bankruptcy relief in federal court on Wednesday, the first time in history that an American state or territory had taken the extraordinary measure.

The action sent Puerto Rico, whose approximately $123 billion in debt and pension obligations far exceeds the $18 billion bankruptcy filed by Detroit in 2013, to uncharted ground.

While the court proceedings could eventually make the island solvent for the first time in decades, the more immediate repercussions will likely be grim: Government workers will forgo pension money, public health and infrastructure projects will go wanting, and the “brain drain” the island has been suffering as professionals move to the mainland could intensify.

Shortly thereafter, Puerto Rico was able to obtain special legislation from the U.S. Congress to enter a Federal Bankruptcy Court. Amazing. So, the largest U.S. bankruptcies are as follows: Puerto Rico, Detroit, Michigan, Jefferson County, Alabama, and Orange County, California (we have dropped to fourth place, after holding first place for some seventeen years).

California, Puerto Rico is your future. California, take a good look at the end game. Bondholders, be forewarned.

Three major cities in California filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to address their financial distress: Vallejo, Stockton, and San Bernardino. Not one of these three cities had the will to modify its pension liabilities, although the Federal judges in all three venues informed them that they could. Why didn’t they? Because they were worried about having future hiring efforts jeopardized (and “mother” CalPERS put an immense amount of pressure on them).

Federal Judge Rhodes handled the Detroit bankruptcy and had retirees take a haircut, thus reducing their retirement benefits. There is a way to restructure pension debt, there just isn’t the will. Bloomberg Markets covers this sad chapter in a profound way by stating that municipalities with large unfunded pension liabilities may follow Puerto Rico’s path. It’s the first piece below.

Yesterday, Governor Brown gave his last, theoretically, State of the State Address. I was there and led the applause when he mentioned his minor efforts at pension reform and wanting to address forest fires. But, I also moaned when he insisted that he loved trains, especially electric ones. And, I wanted to vomit when he jested about the Bay Bridge and that it went $6 billion over budget on a $1 billion budget, and that these things happen. What a sad testimony and indictment of the ability of Caltrans and this state’s transportation management team to have a Governor joke about budget overruns (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Bay Bridge Bloat — October 29, 2015 october 29, 2015 john moorlach).

So, I provide my thoughts on this last, yet historic, speech by the Governor who signed my college diploma on the second day of January, 1978 (Jerry, thanks for the forty year relationship). It’s the second piece below and received the top-of-the-fold placement in the FlashReport.

TONIGHT: I have a District fund raising event at 5:30 p.m. I would love for you to attend and to invite as many of your friends that are concerned about the direction of this state to participate. We’ll provide you with a taco dinner and special surprise guests.

Former Costa Mesa Mayor Steve Mensinger and current Costa Mesa Councilman Jim Righeimer are the hosts. We’re enjoying a great response to visit the Mensinger Lodge and you will be glad that you attended.

For a copy of the invitation and an easy way to RSVP, please go to

Puerto Rico Wants to Stall Creditors. That Went Badly in 1842

By Amanda Albright

  • The plan revives a tactic surpassingly rare in a placid market
  • Municipalities with $1.7 trillion pension burden seek an out

Puerto Rico may pave the way for struggling U.S. cities and states to bite the hands that fed them billions.

The U.S. territory says it can’t pay any of the estimated $17 billion due to bondholders in the next five years. If the gambit is approved by a federal financial control board and kept in place once it emerges from bankruptcy, it would be the first time a major municipal borrower formally suspended debt payments since New York City’s 1975 fiscal crisis.

That could make it easier for some of America’s most troubled cities and states — among them Chicago, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut — to try the same maneuver in the years ahead. Such a step would provide relief for places struggling with pension obligations and moribund urban economies, but could cripple their ability to improve infrastructure and pay for new services. And it would threaten the viability of a $3.8 trillion market generally thought of as the safest investment behind Treasury bonds.

“When you’ve got unfunded liabilities in which there is no way to ever catch up, you wonder what’s the end game,” said Marilyn Cohen, chief executive officer of Envision Capital Management, who has worked in the municipal market since 1979. “The end game won’t be pretty for bondholders, that’s for sure.”

‘Matter of When’

Puerto Rico is idiosyncratic, given that its special territorial tax status made Wall Street eager to fuel a $74 billion debt binge despite a declining economy and population. Indeed, the number of municipal defaults — excluding those made by the island — reached an eight-year low in 2017. No city or town has filed for bankruptcy protection since August 2015, and states don’t have the ability to have their debts dismissed in federal court.

The market is sensitive to any possibility that Puerto Rico’s suggestion of a moratorium might spread. In 2010, banking analyst Meredith Whitney incorrectly predicted “hundreds of billions” of municipal-bond defaults, causing one of the steepest selloffs in the municipal market in the past decade.

State and local governments face a $1.7 trillion debt to their pensions, a debt that is difficult for politicians to rein in if they don’t deeply cut spending or hike taxes. In 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a 2013 pension overhaul, saying it violated the state constitution’s ban on reducing retirement benefits. Other states have similar protections.

States can’t file for bankruptcy protection, and when the idea of giving them that option was raised after the last recession it was roundly dismissed by U.S. lawmakers and governors of both parties. But some governments need a way out, said John Moorlach, who was treasurer of Orange County, California, which filed its own record-setting case in 1994.

“There are ways to get out of the situation,” he said. “It’s just the will.”

Breathing Room

Puerto Rico isn’t the first to try a debt-payment moratorium. New York lawmakers in 1975 allowed the near-bankrupt city to stop making payments on short-term notes for three years. An appeals court declared the measure unconstitutional the next year.

But the respite allowed the city to fix its finances, said James Spiotto, managing director at Chicago-based Chapman Strategic Advisors LLC, whose firm advises on municipal restructurings. The state created a vehicle that allowed the city to tap the capital markets again and it operated under a control board similar to Puerto Rico’s.

In the 1840s, eight states and one territory defaulted on their debts. Florida, then a mere territory, repudiated $4 million in bonds in 1842, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

It took Florida over 10 years to borrow again, Spiotto said. For that reason, he said he doesn’t think municipalities will follow Puerto Rico’s suit because having the ability to borrow cheaply is essential.

“It’s been greeted by the market harshly,” he said.

Paying Paul

States and cities are already taking at least one page out of Puerto Rico’s playbook. The island built up its crushing debt by borrowing to pay off older debts, like using one credit card to pay off another.

After a political standoff left Illinois without a budget for two years, the near junk-rated state borrowed $6 billion in October to pay off the $16 billion in unpaid bills it accrued from that time without a spending plan. Pennsylvania, which has seen its credit rating slide over the years due to high debt and pension costs, will borrow more than $1 billion next week to help close its deficit. Houston took on a $1 billion obligation in December to close the debt it owes to retirees, a practice widely frowned upon.

Puerto Rico gives a “big warning sign” for states and cities with large debts, poor financial management, and unfavorable demographic trends, said Jeff Timlin, managing director and portfolio manager at Sage Advisory Services, which oversees about $1 billion of municipal bonds.

“This isn’t a widespread problem, but there were no problems a decade ago in the muni market,” he said. “We’re starting to see municipalities trending in a direction leading to their own demise.”

The Real State of the State: Gov. Jerry Brown leaving California bankrupt and homeless

Posted by John Moorlach

Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State address yesterday, his last of 16, was rather melancholy and underwhelming. Some aspects of the state seem in great shape, such as low unemployment.

But when I look around the state I see something I have never seen before since my family immigrated here from Holland in 1960: a vast homeless population for which there seems no solution. Even the deep recessions of 1974, 1980-81 and 2008-9 never produced that.

Brown has to bear much of the blame, beginning when he first entered the governor’s office in 1975. In that year, according to data from the California Association of Realtors, the median home price in California was $41,600. That was 15 percent above the national median of $35,300.

That small premium certainly was worth it given not just the incredible weather we still enjoy, but great K-12 schools, from which I graduated in 1973; a low-cost state university system, from which I earned my accounting degree at Cal State Long Beach in 1977; and an interstate highway system the world envied.

Contrast that with a median home price in the United States of $207,000 today, according to Zillow, but $504,000 in California – 2.4 times as much. The state’s schools now rank among the worst in the nation. Its roads shatter shock absorbers faster than in any other state, according to TRIP, a transportation research group.

In 1975, Brown insisted, “There is no free lunch…. This is an era of limits and we all had better get used to it…. Small is beautiful.” The latter was a phrase made popular by the 1973 book “Small is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered,” by economist E.F. Schumacher and promoted among environmentalists and hippies.

Well, certainly we need to watch spending and balance budgets. But California’s population of 24.5 million in 1975 has soared to 39.4 million today – a 61 percent increase. There was no “era of limits.”

Then, after the great building programs during the 1959-1967 governorship of Pat Brown, Jerry’s father, and Ronald Reagan’s governorship, 1967-75, priorities and power shifted – to the detriment of the everyday people of the state and to the benefit of the political class and environmental activists.

Brown’s flippant, “small is beautiful” attitude also resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of road and highway projects meant to deal with a growing statewide population. There were opportunities to ease the congestion, but his inaction since has led to a state paralyzed by a failing infrastructure. Taxpayers are now assuming the costs of his folly starting 43 years ago as they are taxed over $5 billion a year through gas purchases and vehicle license fee increases. In today’s speech, he boasted about the taxing and spending, and vowed to oppose any repeal attempts.

Also in those years, Brown sharply shifted the state’s political power from its balance among many factions – industry, finance, unions, the public sector – to the public-employee unions. Some collective bargaining rights had been given to city and county unions in 1968 with the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, signed by Reagan.

But Brown signed the Educational Employment Relations Act of 1976, which gave collective bargaining rights to teachers, turning the California Teachers Association into the most powerful force in the state. In 1977, he signed the Dills Act, which “<href=”#.WmkR066nGUk”>formalized collective bargaining rights for state employees.” And in 1979, he signed the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act, which advanced collective bargaining for University of California and Cal State employees.

These new powers given to public-employee unions meant they sat on both sides of the bargaining table: on one side, representing labor; and on the other side, union-friendly politicians put in office by union campaign contributions. Union power has been busting budgets ever since.

The worst way the unions abused their new powers was to get the Legislature to pass pension spiking in 1999-2000, under Gov. Gray Davis, who earlier had been Brown’s chief of staff. For example, SB 400 of 1999 spiked pensions by 50 percent.

Yesterday the governor thumped his pride in minimal pension reforms. I was hoping to hear something about attempting one more college try to address our failing pension systems in a substantial way. I was hoping to hear more about additional reforms to PEPRA, the California Rule and cost of living adjustments as he has intimated through recent amicus briefs to the Supreme Court.

Instead, we’re left with Brown’s new budget proposal for next year, where he includes $9.3 billion to pay to keep CalPERS and CalSTRS solvent. And that’s just a start of future payments that will chew up the state budget, as similar pension spiking chews up city budgets and grinds their services to a halt. Expect to hear more cities utter the “B” word soon.

Brown persists in wasting billions on the bullet train that just this last week has been shown, again, to be dramatically over budget. The great train boondoggle also just sparked a bipartisan request in the Senate for a new audit. And he invoked the Bay Bridge and its $6 billion cost, which should only have cost $1 billion, by stating “budget overruns happen.” That may have sounded cute, but it was not funny.

The California Environmental Quality Act was passed in 1970 under Reagan with the expectation that narrow environmental review would be limited to major private projects. It has grown into a beast that prevents hardly any construction at all.

During these past seven years as governor, Brown has expended almost no political capital to reform what has become an immense regulatory burden on constructing new homes. Exceptions have been, not to ease the construction of housing for the middle class, the poor and the homeless, but to build the new NFL stadium in Los Angeles and Sacramento’s new arena for the Kings basketball team – playgrounds for millionaires.

Kerry Jackson of the Pacific Research Institute wrote January 14 in the Los Angeles Times, “By some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50 percent higher than the national average.” All that “green” energy – duplicative power and transmissions for solar and wind for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow – aren’t free.

In the meantime, our state burns and the powers that be would rather you pay more in food, transportation and housing costs for their vanity projects, whether it means paying climate taxes or funding out-of-control costs for a train that is stuck on the tracks.

Jerry preached electrifying our cars and bragged about cap-and-trade. But the fires caused by electric power lines and transformers wiped out all of his greenhouse gas reductions. He expressed a realization and offered up the formation of a fire advisory committee. This is scores of lives too late. He should have offered up cap-and-trade revenues to focus on mitigating the causes of wild fires and mudslides.

Brown recalled that, when he again sat in the governor’s chair in 2011, our state was branded with such epithets as “Coast of Dystopia” and “the Ungovernable State.” And he touted the state’s economic comeback, with low employment, 2.8 million jobs created and record profits, stock values and revenues for the state treasury.

But surely he knows the main cause of the state’s prosperity is the national economic boom, which has intensified under President Trump, who enacted the tax cuts Brown and state Democrats, especially House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have criticized. In the 2016 election, by 4 million votes California voters preferred Hillary Clinton, whose planks included massive tax increases that by now would have sparked the Great Recession II.

The sad thing is Brown’s missed chance may be the last opportunity California has to righten its fiscal Titanic. His mastery of the budget, immense institutional knowledge, family heritage and well-honed political skills could have been used to enact real reforms. All that will be gone in a little over 11 months.

Under the failed governorships of Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, each signed a budget spiking spending 15 percent for just one year (fiscal 1999-00 and 2005-06), leading to $20 billion-plus deficits in recessions. That showed just how powerful the forces of overspending are – even before pensions become a part of the picture. The Democratic frontrunners, Gavin Newsom of San Francisco and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, both ran their cities into the ground financially, as new studies are showing. So the future will be bleak.

As the governor takes a victory tour of the state these next 11 months, the cheers he heard today in the Capitol will fade as the realization sets in of the fiscal disaster barreling at us as fast as a Japanese high-speed train.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, represents the 37th District in the California Senate.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Devastating Legacy — October 11, 2017

Let’s talk about Gov. Jerry Brown. His signatures and vetoes have a serious impact on the future direction of the state of California. I suggested 20 bills that he should veto on or before October 15 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2017 Top 20 Veto Worthy Bills — September 22, 2017).

I also provided an additional 14 bills that fall into the “Who’s Your Daddy?” category that the Governor should also veto (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Who Do You Answer To? — October 1, 2017).

How is he doing? Regretfully, for the “Top 20,” to date he has signed Assembly Bills 20 and 199, and Senate Bills 2, 3, 54, 239, and 285. Of the 14 “I am owned by the public employee unions” bills, he has signed Assembly Bills 55, 73, 670 and 1455.

There is good news. The Governor vetoed “Who Runs Sacramento?” Assembly Bills 621 and 1320.

The Governor is not doing a good job. And the FlashReport provides a stinging indictment in the piece below. For the $1.2 trillion amount, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Other’s Senate Bills – 1286, 443, and 899 — April 18, 2016 and MOORLACH UPDATE — Reporting Pension Debt — March 28, 2016.

For the road trip through the state of Illinois quote, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Goes to Sacramento — June 14, 2016.

What is amazing about the FlashReport piece is that it sounds like she’s sat through one of my speeches (and she has). But, I’ve also been talking about or mentioning the state of Illinois in my UPDATEs for quite some time. Here’s a partial listing:

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Good Luck With That — September 17, 2017

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Bad News/Good News — July 18, 2017

* MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 1250 Labor Dominance — July 13, 2017

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Surprise! — July 11, 2017 

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Who’s Your Daddy? — July 1, 2017 

* MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 247 — April 20, 2017 

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Financially Unstable States — January 24, 2017  

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Token Pension Reform — October 29, 2016  

* MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Conflict of Interest — October 22, 2016 

* MOORLACH UPDATE — $117B Unrestricted Net Deficit — January 9, 2015  

* MOORLACH UPDATE — IRS — April 10, 2012  

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Helping Homeless — February 21, 2012  

* MOORLACH UPDATE — LA Times — September 24, 2010 

Just this week alone, the latest story out of Illinois is its continued inability to pay its bills on time. In fact, it is even having trouble calculating its Accounts Payable balance (this will make the accountants reading this cringe). This graph should encourage you to not be a resident of the state of Illinois:

Governor Brown, please veto more bills. As California’s future, post your last term, looks awfully bleak.

Jerry Brown’s California:

Devastation, Plunder,

Economic Failure

Jerry Brown is the self-anointed Savior of the Planet while his decades-long policies destroy the once-Golden State.

Katy Grimes

People like me have been explaining for many years that California is an example of leftist policies to avoid, and the poster child state of what not to do unless state suicide is the goal. California has become the Greece of the United States, and is cracking up. But this crack-up isn’t funny, as I cover in my new book co-authored with Jim Lacy, California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?”

Despite the dire circumstances, the ravenous left in California continues at breakneck speed to implement so many detrimental, dangerous laws and policies, that Jack, the amoral leader in “Lord of the Flies,” would blush. Stranded on an island, this group of schoolboys degenerate into savagery. It sounds like California, doesn’t it?

Poor education, crumbling infrastructure, record budget deficits

While California’s exuberant leftist leaders celebrate one bad policy after another, the rest of the state is feeling dark and desolate. And broke.

California is in last place, or first place, depending on the wording of the poll, in everything, other than the vast fortunes of the Hollywood and the Silicon Valley crowds. The rest of the state – save for some of the highly compensated public employees – can barely afford rent, and few young people can even afford to buy a home anywhere near their jobs.

California has one of the worst failing education systems in the country, the highest income taxes, highest gas tax, highest poverty in the nation, a billion dollar budget deficit, the state pension system is underfunded by $1 trillion, and violent crime is on the rise. But we now have transgender bathrooms, and a new law that allows knowingly transmitting HIV to a partner will no longer be a felony offense.

“CalPers, CalStrs and the State health plan have a total of $1.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities,” said State Senator John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. “For years CalPERS has been lying about their return on investment, claiming it to be 7.5%. Instead in 2014-15, according to Sen. Moorlach, it was actually 2.4%.” This is bad.

Legacy of The Gov.

This legacy of Jerry Brown’s is not one in which he can be proud; Brown’s legacy is one of ruination… almost as if he’d planned it this way.

I am a native Californian. I came of age when Jerry was governor the first time, 1975-1983. My pessimistic assessment of my home state is growing worse by the day. The economically strapped middle class continues to flee the state because of bad schools, very high and growing taxes, rampant crime, and declining local and state services but with higher fees and taxes for these services.

California is home to one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients. California is home to the most residents living below the poverty line in the country. And now with our politicians’ disregard for federal immigration laws, more than a quarter of the 38 million Californians were not even born in the United States.

California, once home to some of the finest highways, bridges, dams and reservoirs, now has crumbling infrastructure. “The skeletons of half-built bridges and overpasses for a $100 billion high-speed-rail dinosaur remind residents of the ongoing boondoggle,” Victor Davis Hanson notes. “Meantime, outdated roads and highways — mostly unchanged from the 1960s — make driving for 40 million both slow and dangerous. Each mile of track for high-speed rail represents millions of dollars that were not spent on repairing and expanding stretches of the state’s decrepit freeways — and hundreds of lives needlessly lost each year. The future of state transportation is not updated versions of 19th-century ideas of railways and locomotives, but instead will include electric-powered and automatically piloted cars — all impossible without good roads.”

California has more takers than makers

California has a significant economy, with more than 19 million private-sector jobs in the state. However, the number of welfare recipients “enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in California alone exceeds the total populations of 44 of the other states of the union, according to data published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Census Bureau,” Terence Jeffrey with CNS news reported.

California has 13,496 state and municipal employees drawing salaries of $200,000 and up, according to Open The Books. California has more than 13 million welfare recipients, a large government employee class of more than 2 million, and more than 1.4 million former government employees now collecting overly generous government pensions.

When you add up the numbers, there are far more Californians drawing from the government than people working outside the government and paying taxes. According to William Baldwin in Forbes, six states are at risk of going into a downward spiral in the next recession because of this unsustainable ratio of private sector workers to state government workers, and those on welfare or receiving welfare benefits. And in California, this does not take into consideration the millions of illegal aliens, some of who are also on the dole. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, “nearly one in ten California workers is an undocumented immigrant.”

“If you want to know the fate that awaits California, just watch the state of Illinois,” said Sen. Moorlach, who drove through Illinois, from top to bottom, last October to see it for himself. “It’s a slow-moving fiscal train wreck and California is on the same track. The catalyst? Underfunded pensions.” And too many takers.

Katy Grimes’s new book, “California’s War Against Donald Trump,” co-authored with Jim Lacy, is available for purchase at in Kindle and paperback.

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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MOORLACH UPDATE — Elephant in the Room — October 4, 2017

The term “elephant in the room” has its own Wikipedia page (see Yesterday, however, the elephant really was in the room and it was still ignored (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Combatting Hate — October 3, 2017).

Ben Shapiro is a young, conservative, California resident who has an amazing intellect and an accomplished career. He also is genuine and sincere. And is interested in getting to the truth. But, he was ignored by the Chair of the Senate Judiciary and its staff, even after my office made repeated attempts to include him in the discussion for over ten days. And Senator Joel Anderson, without any prompting from me, made a polite request at the beginning of the hearing. The Sacramento Bee took note in their lead editorial in the first piece below.

This was a classic display of how the supermajority runs the Legislature and how tone deaf they truly are. A discussion on hate speech? Really? And a one-sided dialogue at that. We even had one speaker do a character assassination on a highly visible individual while opposing hate speech. Seriously? I kindly advised her that she should practice what she preaches.

The bottom line? I lamented that the hate speech was coming from the left in the amount of violence that was being displayed. It’s not the speakers. It’s the left wing anarchists that are the ones intimidating our state’s fine university systems and providing what Ben Shapiro refers to as “the heckler’s veto.”

Maybe the Democrats could gather these destructive groups together and provide a free showing of the movie “Gandhi”? There are other ways to exercise your frustrations. Sit ins are fine. Or do what the voters did in November by electing a Republican to serve in the White House. The Democrats have three years to get their proverbial acts together, or the hate displayed by anti-Trump agitators will ensure he is re-elected. And that, my friends, is the elephant in the room.

The LA Times Essential Politics online edition provides additional insights on the hearing in the second piece below. The hearing is the lead story in the FlashReport in the third piece below. And, it would only be fair to hear from The Daily Wire, which is the fourth and concluding piece below.

P.S. Watching my social media explode over the last 24 hours as we covered Ben’s 120-second public comment and media interview after the hearing on Facebook Live, I realized that we drilled into a frustrated reserve of people who are tired of this out-of-balance state, fiscally and ideologically. Sometimes we have to say things that aren’t popular, but that’s precisely the point of free speech.






California Democrats are all for free speech – just not conservative Ben Shapiro’s



The First Amendment can be so messy, as Senate Democrats surely must see.

Convening the first of multiple hearings into the rise of white supremacy in California, the Senate Judiciary Committee, controlled by Democrats like all of Sacramento, invited an august panel of speakers.

UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky was the ideal speaker to describe the boundaries of the First Amendment. Joanna Mendelson, senior investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, was the perfect person to discuss neo-Nazis in California and elsewhere.

But conservative writer and speaker Ben Shapiro, suggested by Sen. John Moorlach, vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Republican from Orange County, would have had something to offer, too. The alt-right has vilified Shapiro, who quit the conservative online site Breitbart last year, and now dares to question Breitbart boss Steve Bannon, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and President Donald Trump.

Rather than invite Shapiro to join others at the table, Judiciary Committee Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, cluelessly granted Shapiro 120 seconds during the public comment period at the end of the hearing, roughly three hours after it began.

Jackson told The Sacramento Bee’s Taryn Luna that she knew little about Shapiro and didn’t think he’d be someone “whose testimony today would be particularly helpful” at the hearing titled “Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution.”

Shapiro can be divisive, particularly on issues of gender identity and Black Lives Matter. But while some people see his views as offensive, he has lived through the issue. UC Berkeley spent $600,000 to ensure he could safely deliver a speech last month, an absurd sum for someone who is not a head of state. Shapiro left with the ideal photo-op: tweeting to his 829,000 followers a picture of himself thanking Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood.

Perhaps Moorlach’s invitation to Shapiro was a stunt. If it was, so what? Politicians routinely pull stunts to illustrate points. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats unwittingly helped make the Republicans’ point. By not listening politely for 10 minutes, they gave Shapiro 120 seconds of fame and then some. Another hearing on the worthy topic is set for Oct. 18. Let’s hope Democrats seek differing perspectives, offensive though they might be.

Senate committee examines hate speech in California

Mina Corpuz

The Senate Judiciary Committee conducts a hearing on hate speech Tuesday. (Mina Corpuz / Los Angeles Times)

Hate speech might be upsetting, but it is generally protected under the 1st Amendment, California legislators were told in Sacramento on Tuesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off a series of hearings Tuesday to define hate speech and to find a way to address it while upholding the Constitution.

While the issue has been more prevalent in other states, California has had its share of activity from white supremacist groups, including skinheads and the Aryan Brotherhood.

Joanna Mendelson, a researcher from the Anti-Defamation League, said those groups have been involved in prison gangs and political rallies. They mostly are concentrated in areas such as San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and along Highway 99 from Fresno to Sacramento, she said.

In June 2016, white nationalist skinheads rallied at the Capitol in Sacramento. Marchers clashed with protesters and seven people were stabbed.

The hearings are examining whether additional protections are needed. They are being held in response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August that ended in violence. Senate leader Kevin de Léon called for the hearings on the first day the Legislature reconvened.

“California isn’t immune to hateful speech and actions,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who chairs the committee.

Legislators can condemn hateful speech and behavior and pass stronger hate crime legislation, Mendelson said.

Law enforcement and university counsel shared what strategies and policies have worked for them to support free speech and ensure safety.

Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood said separating groups of people at protests to create a space for peaceful expression has worked.

Ben Shapiro, a conservative speaker invited by committee member Sen. John Moorlach (R-Cost Mesa), briefly addressed legislators.

Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley in September. Hundreds of protesters turned out and the university spent about $600,000 on security.

“This intent for some of the folks on the left to conflate speech they don’t like with hate speech and suggest there are legislative remedies is in violation of 1st Amendment ideals, and legislation to actually push that would be a violation of the 1st Amendment itself,” Shapiro told reporters after the hearing.

Hate speech can’t be protected if it incites illegal activity, causes someone to feel imminent fear for their safety or creates a hostile environment through harassment, said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law.

“The fact that we might have difficulty drawing the line with hate, doesn’t mean that there isn’t hate,”he said.

California Democrats Schooled

On Definition of ‘Hate Speech’

At Hearing

Posted by Katy Grimes

There is a rumor going around the California State Capitol that the Legislature is about to vote on a ban of humor in the state, because every time someone laughs at something funny, it is apparently at the expense of someone else’s feelings.

If this sounds silly, the Senate hearing held Tuesday, ostensibly on “hate speech,” was even more nonsensical.

“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Or as some say, the best remedy for speech we don’t like is more speech. Fighting words with more words is a healthy exercise. It’s how most of us were raised, long ago in a far away land. But Democrats in California’s Legislature don’t agree.

Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee of the California State Legislature conducted an informational hearing on “Combatting Hate While Protecting the Constitution.” But the committee chaired by Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, didn’t present any balance – it was only speech with which she agreed that was allowed at the hearing.

Ben Shapiro, a Conservative journalist and speaker, was invited to the hearing by Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, Vice Chairman of the same committee. But Shapiro was not allowed to speak with the panelists, on the panels, or debate the two speakers. Shapiro was relegated to the public comment period at the end of the 3 ½ hour hearing, and allotted two minutes.

It’s a good thing that Shapiro speaks fast, and thinks even faster. His two minutes were more effective than the entire 3 ½ hours of pompous, self-congratulatory political grandstanding, and virtue signaling by all of the other speakers combined.

The takeaway from the hearing is that the California State Legislature doesn’t get to decide what speech is good and what speech is bad. But don’t tell Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson. Oops.

What Hate Speech?

In September, journalist Ben Shapiro visited the University of California, Berkeley to deliver a speech about personal responsibility and individualism. Shapiro had spoken on the Berkeley campus the year before, but this is 2017, and Donald J. Trump is President, and apparently this is a problem for the left.

UC Berkeley has been in the news frequently of late with images of black masked, and black clad Antifa thugs protesting and beating on students attempting to attend speeches by Conservative speakers. Given that liberal speakers are in abundance on the Berkeley campus, one would think that a little variety, and a little diversity of thought, would not be a threat.

Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and David Horowitz have all been invited to the campus to speak, and all been overruled by what Shapiro identified as the “hecklers veto,” a form of censorship, where a speaker’s event is canceled due to the actual or potential hostility of ideological opponents. In this case, the hecklers veto was leftists, thugs, and campus snowflakes fearful of this dangerous ‘diversity of thought’ concept.

This year, UC Berkeley charged the sponsor group of Shapiro’s appearance, Young America’s Foundation, a $15,000 security fee. “Then, the school blocked off the upper level of the auditorium, fearful that radicals from the violent far-left-leaning group Antifa would infiltrate the speech and begin hurling objects from the balcony onto the crowd below,” Shapiro explained in a recent article on The Daily Wire. “Finally, the school ended up spending some $600,000 on additional policing, including the creation of cement barriers and hiring of hundreds of armed police officers for a prospective riot.”

Last year Shapiro’s appearance cost the school nothing. This year it cost $600,000. But it wasn’t Shapiro’s appearance that cost so much; it was the violent thug protesters threatening to shut him down. And UC Berkely tried to present this as Ben Shapiro’s fault.

Why Have the Hearing?

Following the Charlottesville, VA protests in August, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, announced that the California Senate would investigate the rise in white supremacy in California… As if what happens in Charlottesville, 2,314 miles across the country, is relevant to California.

“I see the rising tide of hate and intolerance,” de León said in August. “I believe future generations will look back on this moment in time as a turning point because how we chose to respond will shape the character of this nation and this great state for years to come.”

At issue is Kevin de León’s inability to abide by the 2016 election and this duly elected president; consequently, the entire state must go through this pretentious parody of hate speech hearings.

“We’re seeing a huge rise in acts of hate,” said Sen. Jackson, Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “That’s a very serious problem we need to address.”

But what this charade is really about is California Democrats and the left (including Sen. Jackson) conflating a spurious rise in “racial strife” to the 2016 presidential campaign and President Donald Trump. Every day the Senate and Assembly are in session, Democrat lawmakers rise to speak grouse and whimper and wail about Donald Trump and the 2016 election – at the expense of the actual governing of a state they all proclaim to care so much about.

Faux Panels Declare ‘Hate’

The panelists invited to the hearing were from the NAACP, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), Equality California (LGBT rights lobbying group), and the speakers were Erwin Chemerinsky, the new Dean at Berkeley Law School, and Joanna Mendelson with the ADL (Anti-Defamation League). While Chemerinsky was quite relevant as a legal defender of all speech, hateful or not, Mendelson presented an extremely biased analysis of hate groups, hate speech and included the “Alt-Right” in California’s hate group list.

But the price of admission to the hearing was worth it when Chemerinsky put Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, in his pious place when Chemerinsky corrected Monning on his assertion that hate speech wasn’t protected under the First Amendment. “Hate speech is protected speech,” Chemerinsky said. And Chemerinsky reminded Monning that it is illegal to try to prevent speech in advancement of the actual event. Monning is an attorney and surely knows better, but was caught advancing what he thought was a popular line of thinking with a traditionally liberal law professor. But Chemerinsky is intellectually honest on free speech issues, and schooled Senator prevaricator Monning.

Sen. John Moorlach took the ADL’s Joanna Mendelson to task on her biased description of Milo Yiannopoulos, when she described him as a “misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, transphobic troll.” Moorlach suggested that her name-calling was no different than the accused “haters” she referenced in her talk. Moorlach said she may want to refer to those accusations as “some say” Milo is those things.

“White supremacists deserve free speech, California lawmakers told” the Sacramento Bee online headline screamed shortly after the hearing. However, this headline makes it appear the legislature doesn’t understand free speech. How embarrassing.

As for Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson who denied she’d ever heard of Ben Shapiro until today’s hearing, either she lives in such a massive liberal echo chamber that she’s never heard of this outspoken, conservative Jewish prodigy from SoCal, or she’s a liar. Both scenarios are completely plausible. The irony of the hearing is that Shapiro’s name was invoked throughout the proceeding as if he was living in the heads of the lawmakers and speakers rent-free.

My assessment is that Conservatives won the day. The left looked like the fools they are. As for the Sacramento Bee, their “reporter” didn’t interview any of the regular suspects – it was just another “he said, she said” boring article with a provocative title.

For that I offer a big “W” for “whatever.” (And this is me giving a big eye roll)

WATCH: Shapiro Testifies Before California Legislature, Blasts Them For Trying To Limit Free Speech

On Tuesday, the Democrat-dominated California legislature, conducting a hearing with the title, “Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution,” limited Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro to two minutes to give a rarely-heard conservative viewpoint on free speech, but they still got an earful, as Shapiro admonished the legislature to do their jobs, ensure that all citizens’ First Amendment rights should be protected and the “heckler’s veto” should be stopped. Shapiro was invited to speak by GOP state senator John Moorlach.

The female moderator began, “Mr. Shapiro, your name has come up a few times; before today I didn’t know who you were. I heard from Mr. Moorlach. Nice to meet you.”

Shapiro, responded, “Nice to meet you as well.”

The moderator said, “The floor is yours. I would like, just to ask, you don’t have to, because this is free speech time, the subject matter is ‘Combating Hate While Protecting The Constitution,’ and if you have a couple minutes worth of ideas about that that would be great. If you’d rather not talk on that, that’s okay, too.

Shapiro grinned, “Oh, no, I’m perfectly happy to talk about that.”

Moderator: “Great.”

Shapiro, in typical rapid-fire style, stated:

I appreciate the 120 seconds. Your job, obviously here at the legislature, is to ensure that our freedom of expression is maintained, that our First Amendment rights are maintained, and what that means, first and foremost, in my experiences at college campuses, is that the “heckler’s veto” must be stopped.

So, I was at Cal State Los Angeles, in February 2016, and there was almost a riot there, and the police were not allowed to do their jobs, and students were physically assaulted in the crowd. It is the job of this legislature to ensure that police can do their jobs, and when they do do their jobs, and they’re allowed to do that at places like UC Berkeley, everything goes fine.

And I’d like to make a point here about UC Berkeley: the reason it cost $600,000 to bring me to UC Berkeley was not because of me, okay? Everybody keeps suggesting that it was because I was coming; I’m so controversial; I’m so terrible. I came exactly one year before, and it cost this many dollars (Shapiro closed his hand and raised it), it cost zero dollars for security at UC Berkeley. The reason it cost $600,000 at UC Berkeley is because Antifa and violent groups had decided that Berkeley was their domain, and they were going to be able to ride roughshod over law enforcement there.

And this does bring up one final point I want to make in the long period of time I have to discuss, and that is the problem with a legislative body such as yours trying to draw lines specifically about what hate speech constitutes, because the fact is that one of the reasons groups like Antifa show up is not because they know who I am, it’s because they’ve been told by people that I am promulgating hate speech, which is utterly false and utterly untrue.

There are people who say vile things and with whom I disagree, among them people like Milo Yiannopoulos, who sent me a picture of a black baby on the day of my child’s birth, because I wasn’t sufficiently standing up for the white population, supposedly.

But that does not mean that the legislature gets to decide what hate speech is. I have been labeled a promulgator of hate speech when I was the number one target of hate speech, according to the ADL, among the journalistic community in 2016.

So let me suggest that as a legislature, your chief job is to ensure that my taxpayer dollars in this state go toward making sure that people like me and people with whom I disagree get to speak in places like college campuses, and not toward regulating what speech you find good and what speech you find bad, because it’s a really dangerous business. There’s speech I don’t like; there’s speech you don’t like, but if we can’t agree there’s a difference between speech and violence, we’re not going to be able to have a free state, let alone a free country.

Interviewed later by a reporter who asked why he had decided to come to Sacramento to testify, Shapiro responded, “I was asked by legislative Republicans to come here; they wanted to actually have me on one of the panels, but Democrats wouldn’t allow that sort of thing because that might be too much free speech … so I was glad to hear from all those people, but it would have been nice if they would have allowed one person from the Right to actually talk for more than 120 seconds.”

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MOORLACH UPDATE — 2017 Top 20 Veto Worthy Bills — September 22, 2017

This is the third year that I have enjoyed the end of the Legislative Session, a grueling exercise where hundreds of bills are voted on in rapid succession and, with a few exceptions, very little Floor debate. And, for the third time, I have been invited by the FlashReport to list the 20 worst bills that on the Governor’s desk awaiting either a signature or a veto. For these 20, we’re definitely encouraging a veto (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2016 Veto Worthy Bills — September 12, 2016 september 12, 2016 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Worst and Vaguest — September 22, 2015 september 22, 2015 john moorlach).

Last year we were permitted to provide the worst 25 bills. This year the list could have been double that. But, we were once again constrained to 20 bills the Governor should veto. We did not include some worthy bills as they have already been signed, as they either were voted on some time ago or were budget trailer bills Gov. Brown signed upon receipt.

I want to thank my Sacramento Capitol Office staff for doing an outstanding job of assisting me in my research on all the bills that came before me for a vote. I also want to thank them for their willingness to improve on our technologies to stay organized on the massive volume that occurs with the legislative process. With that, thank you Lance Christensen, my Chief of Staff, Eric Dietz, my Legislative Director, Robert Nash, my Legislative Analyst and electronic organizer par excellence. They kept my sanity intact the last few weeks.

I also want to thank Jacob Ashendorf, who served in my Capitol Office the past few months, but recently accepted a job offer in D.C. He is now my fifth staff member to join the Health and Human Services executive team. I don’t know whom to be mad at more, HHS Secretary Tom Price or President Donald Trump.

This year we also had the privilege of hosting a Capitol Fellow. James Moore, a Harvard grad who played basketball in high school, made me not feel tall. James was able to work a bill or two of mine to the Governor’s desk. So, that offensive experience on the court came in handy.

Now that we have a tradition, I’ll try to keep you posted on the status of these 20 bills in future UPDATEs.

bc2f75af-1bb0-4394-b7b3-b576ff825671.jpgFlashReport 2017 Top Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto

Introduction from FlashReport Publisher Jon Fleischman

This is the 12th year that we have presented for your viewing displeasure the worst pieces of legislation sitting on the Governor’s desk. Of course there are a great many bills on the Governor’s desk – most of them worthy of a veto. Thus the task of trying to cull through those bills and single out just the twenty worst is not easy. For the second year in a row, our list comes to us courtesy of both State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblyman Matt Harper. I will add that this session in particular was over-the-top with noxious legislation, and limiting this list to twenty bills was no easy task. – Flash

The FlashReport Top 20 Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto

As compiled and described by State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblyman Matthew Harper

Supermajority legislative leaders declared that the 2017 Session “may be the most productive and progressive legislative session in memory.” They may be right. And it’s only half done.

We don’t know if that is something to brag about, though. We believe that media perspectives describing 2017 as a rage reaction against the new Trump Administration are also accurate. From the first day of Session last December, the Democrats provided an anti-Trump resolution nearly every week and emphasized a strong move to the left on policies that will hurt California, prohibiting the state from leading the nation to prosperity.

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What was most stunning was how unabashed the public employee unions were in pushing through massive, if not coercive, requests to strengthen their declining membership numbers. AB 1250 was a brazen attempt to eliminate non-profits’ contracts and hand county services over to unions. Luckily, the non-profit world summoned enough strength to fight it off, at least until January. But in light of these union bills, it begged the question, “Who’s your daddy?”

Regretfully, our “Top 20” list is not comprehensive and does not include all the terrible bills the legislature has passed and the governor has signed this year. The gas-tax increase (SB 1) and cap-and-tax (AB 398) are already the law of the land.

There also were several bills we watched throughout the year to see if they were going to make it to final floor votes. Several didn’t.

Finally, the bills below are those that, despite our opposition, were affirmed by both the Senate and the Assembly and are going to the Governor’s desk. He has until October 15 to sign them – or prevent them from harming Californians by vetoing them. We present them to you in numerical order.


AB 20 (Kalra) Send Jobs, Not Investments to Dakota Bill: Paves the way for the California Public Employees Retirement System to “divesting” from valuable investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Doing so could reduce the value of CalPERS assets, endangering retiree pensions.

AB 168 (Eggman) Across the Board Salary Lowballing: Inhibits employers’ ability to hire qualified employees, prohibiting employers from using past salary information of a prospective employee as a factor in deciding whether to hire someone, or how much to pay them. This will lead to reduced production at a time when the state economy is starting to falter. Instead of helping employees, an unknown number of their jobs could be killed.

AB 199 (Chu) Construction Reduction Act: We should be avoiding government-mandated prevailing wages, not increasing their requirements. This legislation would significantly increase circumstances where prevailing wages would be mandated.

AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Discrimination of Church by State: Beyond limiting private religious organizations’ code-of-conduct policies for employees, it could bring the state into conflict with federal religious-rights legislation because it mandates that employers provide employee handbooks to include information on abortion coverage. That violates the religious conscience of many employers and employees.

AB 890 (Medina) Voter Suppression Act: This is anti-democratic and would silence voters pursuing pro-growth land-use decisions, usurping local control by mandating changes in local land use decision-making via state law.

AB 1008 (McCarty, Gipson, Holden, Reyes, Weber) Employment Meddling Act: This bill prohibits employers from inquiring about or using a prior criminal conviction of an prospective employee as a factor in whether to make them a conditional offer of employment. This is another bureaucratic hassle for businesses, increasing costs and, in the end, killing job opportunities because of increased legal liabilities and administrative burdens for employers.

AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Women Employee Reduction Act: Gender discrimination already is against state and federal law. This would increase companies’ red tape in providing useless data about employee compensation to state busybodies, who would then post the information online. It could kill the jobs of the women it’s supposed to help.

AB 1269 (Mark Stone) Mobile Home Tax: This is a tax on mobile home parks and increases regulations on them. It could encourage owners to bulldoze the parks and turn them into condos.

AB 1274 (O’Donnell) Fee Hidden as a Tax: This is yet another car tax that is estimated to cost certain car owners over $100 million. The majority can’t get enough of car taxes.

AB 1455 (Bocanegra) Public Employee Bargaining Secrecy Act: How can we be reducing transparency? Yet this bill would prohibit local governments from sharing with the public documents concerning labor negotiations. We should be doing everything in our power to increase government transparency for our taxpayers.

AB 1461 (Thurmond) Are Food Handler Cards for Farmers Next?: Pointless red tape to give food unions an edge on the new “gig economy” by increasing the costs of doing business for companies that send food ingredients to your home for you to prepare.

AB 1513 (Kalra) Union Invasion of Privacy: Requiring that the Department of Social Services release private information of registered home care aides is a blatant invasion of privacy. It is also a shameless attempt by public employee unions to increase their membership.

SB 2 (Atkins) Killing Homes and Jobs for the Middle Class Act: Would raise taxes on real-estate transactions (by hundreds of millions of dollars annually), thereby discouraging home purchases.

SB 3 (Beall) California Legislature’s Housing Sub-Prime Act: Another massive, unneeded multi-billion dollar bond measure that doesn’t address or solve the underlying issues of housing supply or costs. It just creates more debt for the state for generations to come for homes they won’t be able to afford.

SB 5 (De Leon) Park Bond Boondoggle: Who doesn’t want more parks? But at $6.5 billion for principal and interest, that’s $235 million a year removed from the General Fund. Voters just enacted the Proposition 1 water bond in 2014. Let’s wisely spend all that money first. A review of this bill shows pork-barrel spending at it’s finest.

SB 54 (De Leon) Sanctuary State Nonsense: California has prioritized defiance to the federal government over its duty to govern responsibly and protect its citizens. If signed, this bill could cost the state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in public safety grants, establishing a state mandate that state and local governments may not assist federal immigration authorities as they attempt to find and detain illegal aliens. This is showmanship for the cameras, not leadership for the people.

SB 63 (Jackson) Small Business Meddling Act: It goes without saying that allowing new parents to bond with a child is very important and the state has a number of paid and unpaid benefit programs to provide for that leave. This bill requires that a an employer with 20 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave within one year of the child’s birth. And employers must maintain the employee’s group health coverage during that leave. There should be concern about the impact of this heavy-handed requirement on small businesses and the potential liability that could result.

SB 149 (McGuire, Wiener) Do As I Say, Not As I Disclose: This Constitutionally-dubious legislation would preclude a candidate for President from being placed on the California ballot if they have not publicly disclosed their tax returns – yet another dig on President Trump. It’s disingenuous to limit disclosure of tax documents to only presidential candidates. Why not all elected officials attempting to get on the ballot in California? This didn’t seem to be an issue in 2010 or 2014 when Governor Brown did not release his own tax returns.

SB 239 (Wiener) HIV Assault Act: Although strides have been made in HIV and AIDS treatment, those infected still can die. So intentionally infecting someone is as serious as assault and battery and even homicide, and should retain similar penalties. This legislation reduces this crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

SB 285 (Atkins) Bargaining Meddling Act:Federal and state laws already guarantee the right to collective bargaining. The author claims this bill extends that right “to employees who are choosing whether or not to become or remain union members.” But it’s really redundant and would just increase costs for local governments, reducing services to the public.

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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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