Monday was mixed. SB 1363 passed unanimously on the Senate Floor. SB 1074 was killed in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on the basis that the price for a gallon is the price for a gallon of gas and the details be damned. And SB 1031, 1032 and SB 1433 were killed in the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee, with SB 1033 held back for more consultation with the Committee Chair and CalPERS. The Sacramento Bee covers it in the first piece below. It also discusses SB 1149, of which I was a proud Co-Author.
SB 1159 went out of Senate Appropriations successfully (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Right to Peaceably Assemble — April 13, 2018). The new Editor for CalMatters, Dan Morain, has some fun with it in the second piece below. Dan was formally with the LA Times and recently resigned from the Sacramento Bee. We go pretty far back.
Dan’s piece brings up an interesting concern. As a C.P.A., am I prohibited from doing something that will encourage more C.P.A.s to run for legislative office? Is it really self-serving? Would any other legislator be able to carry such a bill?
All retired C.P.A.s are required to note that they are “retired” or “inactive” on their stationery. But, attorneys in the Legislature are exempted from the requirement to obtain continuing professional education. Other professional licenses do not require qualifiers. I know that retired military officers do it. If you’ve earned an MBA, you can keep it behind your name for the remainder of your life.
Accordingly, I worked for the last couple of years with the California State Board of Accountancy for a reasonable solution. They recommended that instead of doing something administratively, that I introduce a bill. The Board supported the language we proposed for SB 1159. I did have a potential author, a former staffer for Congressman Brad Sherman, but he resigned from the Assembly recently. Consequently, I decided to move forward and let the cards fall where they may.
For entertainment value, the most recent edition of Inside OC finds host Rick Reiff rattling my cage on a number of current issues. It’s the third link below.
Last week I voted “No” on SB 832 (Portantino) and SB 951 (Mitchell). When I was interviewed by the OC Register‘s Editorial Board about my candidacy for State Senator in 2015, I provided the following position (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Register Endorsement — February 15, 2015):
Though the Legislature has often doled out tax credits to preferred industries, such as Hollywood and “green-energy” companies, Mr. Moorlach finds such favoritism distasteful. “I’m not an advocate of special incentives,” he said.
Three years later and I’m still of the same mind. I would prefer to deposit $330 million in one of California’s pension plans or other post employment benefits to reduce the unfunded liabilities. And why give a tax credit to one industry when so many others are trying to make do? Why not a “no better, no worse” approach?
And, worse, while the Capitol is trying to improve the culture, why give tax credits to an industry that brought us Weinstein and Toback? The Los Angeles Business Journal mentions the fun on this topic in the fourth piece below.
The LA Times addresses SB 1206 (De Leon) in the fifth piece below. This bill was introduced by Sen. De Leon and myself and I will be presenting it in the Senate Health Committee tomorrow. We need funding to build immediate housing for the state’s mentally ill homeless population and we need to do it now. This is a new approach on “No Place Like Home.”
Last week, Wednesday, I had one of the more awkward moments while presenting a bill. SB 1325 used an existing “Act” title. Rather than debate the actual policy in my bill, one of my Senate colleagues made it personal and proceeded to impugn my intentions where he actually presumed that I was being a racist toward an Asian Pacific Islander Caucus member, a charge that not only caught me off guard, but was highly inappropriate and regrettable.
I met with both of them the following morning to dispose them of any untoward motives. Ironically, a few minutes after these two discussions, my grandson, Koa, was born. Koa would qualify as a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus.
The presentation is addressed by Vactruth.com in the last piece below.
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers
Cost-of-living adjustments for California state worker pensions are safe, for now
BY ADAM ASHTON
Future state workers, your pension cost-of-living adjustments are safe, and you won’t get to choose between a CalPERS pension and a 401(k) plan anytime soon.
Both proposals were shot down on Monday by a Senate committee that rejected a pack of bills aimed at reducing the risk taxpayers face if an economic crisis cripples the state’s public pension funds.
Most of the bills came from Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa and Democratic Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda, who argue that the rising cost of public pensions could drive local governments into bankruptcy when the next recession hits.
“We need to right-size the system. We need to restore public trust, because we’re going off a fiscal cliff,” said Glazer, the former Orinda mayor who sponsored the bill that would have allowed state workers to choose to participate in defined contribution 401(k) plan instead of the defined benefit plan offered by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.
California’s two largest public pension funds, CalPERS and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, each have about 71 percent of the assets they’d need to pay all of the benefits they owe to public workers and retirees.
They’ve been trying to close the gap between what they have and what they owe by raising the amount of money they charge to public employers and employees, prompting some local governments and school districts to complain that pension costs are “crowding out” resources for other services.
But Glazer and Moorlach could not convince the Senate Public Employee and Retirement Committee that the looming crisis they see is dangerous enough to tinker with pension commitments made by the state and local agencies to millions of people.
Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, countered that she wanted to find ways to encourage more people to join pension programs instead of 401(k) plans. “I just think we need to do everything we can to get our young people into defined-benefit plans,” she said.
The pension overhaul bills the committee rejected were:
▪ Moorlach’s Senate Bill 1032, which would make it easier for local governments to separate from CalPERS without paying the hefty termination fees that CalPERS charges to fund pension obligations for defunct agencies. If an agency quits CalPERS without paying the fees, CalPERS slashes the pensions it provides to the agency’s former workers.
▪ Moorlach’s SB 1031, which would prohibit pension funds from providing cost-of-living adjustments to retirees if the pension fund has less than 80 percent of the assets it would need to pay the benefits it owes. Most retired public employees can receive cost-of-living adjustments of 2 percent each year, but some contracts allow up to 5 percent. Moorlach’s proposal would have applied only to state workers hired after Jan. 1, 2019.
▪ Glazer’s SB 1149, which would have allowed new state workers to opt for a 401(k) plan instead of a pension. The concept is attractive to younger workers who do not intend to be career civil servants. The University of California is offering a similar plan, and 37 percent of new workers are choosing 401(k) plans instead of pensions.
The bills are essentially dead for this legislative session, although they could be revived if enough lawmakers want to bring them back from reconsideration.
A long line of union representatives spoke against each bill. Terry Brennand, a lobbyist for SEIU California, called the Glazer bill a “disaster waiting to happen.”
Ted Toppin, a lobbyist for state scientists and engineers, called the bill to waive CalPERS’ termination fees an opportunity for employers to “stiff” their workers in retirement.
The unions want more time for the pension funds to benefit from recent changes that have employers kicking in more money for retirement plans and to recalibrate from the 2012 law that eliminated especially generous plans that the Legislature offered to public employees during the dot-com boom.
By Dan Morain
An accountant’s trick
Calling politicians self-serving can be redundant. It can be bipartisan, too.
Sen. John Moorlach, an Orange County Republican, and Congressman Brad Sherman, a San Fernando Valley Democrat, are certified public accountants. Because they haven’t kept up with their continuing education requirements, their licenses are inactive. No big deal. Lots of professionals let their licenses lapse.
So what? In 2009, the Legislature, without a single no vote, approved a measure that says all inactive CPAs must disclose their status on any business communications in which they call themselves CPAs. That includes Moorlach and Sherman.
Unlike other CPAs, however, Moorlach can carry legislation, and he is, to the delight of Sherman.Senate Bill 1159 would exempt any CPA member of the Legislature or Congress from having to disclose that they’re inactive. The bill would affect two people: Moorlach and Sherman. Sherman wrote a letter of support:
“I believe that my colleagues, as well as other interested parties, would more carefully review my letters and documents on tax and budgeting issues if I could sign them as follows: Congressman Brad Sherman, CPA.”
A rich target: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Moorlach’s bill unanimously on Monday. At an earlier hearing, Moorlach seemed somewhat sheepish, calling the bill “a little self-serving.” Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Valley Democrat, voted no at that hearing, and made a point that accountants would appreciate: pushing a single bill through the legislative process costs about $10,000.
ENTERTAINMENT: FINAL BILL COULD INCLUDE INCENTIVES ON DIVERSITY
Film Credit Clears Committees
By Matthew Blake
Los Angeles — A bill to extend California’s motion picture tax credit program sailed through Assembly and Senate committees last week.
“Clearly we have a lot of work to do – I think there is much more we should do,” said Kansen Chu, a San Jose-based Democrat and chair of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media committee.
Chu and four other members of the committee all voted on April 18 to approve Assembly Bill 1734, which would lengthen by five years California’s $330-million-a-year film and television tax credit program. The policy is due to sunset at the end of 2019.
Committee members also approved without opposition Assembly Bill 2936, a similar measure to continue the credits.
The California Senate Government and Finance Committee, meanwhile, passed its own tax credit legislation, Senate Bill 951, on April 19 by a 5-1 vote.
Chu expressed concerns the tax credits aren’t doing enough to diversify Hollywood.
Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, a Democrat from eastern L.A. County and sponsor of AB 1734, has said that a final version of the bill could include greater incentives for women and minority filmmakers.
The California legislature passed in 2014 an expansion of the state’s tax credit program for movies and television shows from $100 million a year in credits to $330 million per annum.
The legislation provides television shows relocating to the Golden State and movies that shoot in California with a refund of 20 percent to 25 percent on crew member wages, as well as production and editing costs. The policy applies statewide but has an outsized effect in Los Angeles County, which hosts more than 90 percent of shoots that use the credits.
California differs from other states, such as Georgia and Louisiana, by limiting its credit programs to film crew, without reimbursement for the wages of actors, writers and directors.
The California Chamber of Commerce and various labor unions attended the committee hearing to shower praise on tax credits, stating that they generated billions of dollars in spending including crew wages.
The lone dissenting vote came from Sen. John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa Republican.
“I don’t want to pick winners and losers” among businesses, Moorlach said in an interview. “I want to try and protect tax revenues for my state.”
With money tied up in court,
California lawmakers try again with
new plan to spend $2 billion on
By LIAM DILLON
A measure to spend $2 billion on housing homeless Californians could be on the November statewide ballot.
State Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) is pushing the idea to deal with what he said was a “burgeoning humanitarian crisis whose epicenter is here in California.”
De León’s new measure is a do-over for a 2016 plan passed by the Legislature to redirect $2 billion toward building homeless housing from a voter-approved 1% income tax surcharge on millionaires that funds mental health services. A Sacramento attorney sued over that decision, arguing that the move violated constitutional rules on approving loans without a public vote and that lawmakers shouldn’t take money away from mental health treatment. The case remains active in Sacramento Superior Court and it’s unclear when, or if, the state will be able to spend the $2 billion.
De León’s Senate Bill 1206 would put the $2-billion loan on the ballot in November, freeing up the money if voters approve the measure. De León said had he been able to predict the 2016 plan would end up in court, he would have sought a ballot measure at the time.
“We thought this was like apple pie and baseball and puppies,” De León said. “Who would oppose the idea of repurposing the dollars to build immediate housing as a permanent solution for homelessness? Obviously with a crystal ball, had I anticipated the litigation, I would have worked to place it on the ballot.”
De León noted that the 2016 plan had bipartisan supermajority support in the Legislature, something his new bill also will need to get on the ballot. Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) is a coauthor of the plan.
SB 1206 is scheduled for its first hearing in the Legislature on Wednesday.
Should De León’s measure be approved, it will join a crowded list of housing issues before voters in November. Californians will decide on a separate $4-billion bond to help finance new low-income housing and home loans for veterans. De León said he’s not worried those two measures will compete against each other because voters are aware of the scale of the state’s housing problems and the proposed homeless housing bond redirects existing dollars instead of raising taxes.
“Once [voters] know that the impact on their pocketbook is not existent, I’m confident that they’ll join me and my colleague John Moorlach in support of this measure,” De León said.
California Democratic Senators Newman and Pan Caught Fabricating Racism To Exterminate Civil Rights Bill
Last week California Democratic Senators Josh Newman and Richard Pan fabricated claims of racism to exterminate a civil rights bill, and they got away with it despite their failure to provide any evidence substantiating their allegations. To date, Senators Newman and Pan have not been held accountable for their actions.
The civil rights bill these Democratic Senators exterminated was simple: it would have guaranteed individuals and families the right to self-quarantine in their homes in the event of a pandemic, without fear of being criminalized for simply existing in their natural state (i.e., free of antibiotics or experimental vaccines). Why would anyone want to exterminate a person’s obvious right to simply exist at home in an un-medicated state, especially a perfectly healthy person?
Well, apparently the California Senate Health Committee wants to exterminate such a right.
Background of this Civil Rights Bill: PANDA
The bill in question was a scientifically supported, common sense civil rights safeguard introduced by Republican Senator John Moorlach. It was originally authored and named the Peaceful and Natural Dignity Act (“PANDA”) in the year 2013 by Greg Glaser, JD, for the Pandemic Response Project. Here is the original Change.org petition from the year 2013: link.
PANDA was written and named by Glaser before virtually everyone (including Glaser) had ever heard of Senator Pan. This is because the PANDA bill was written 1-year before Senator Pan gained notoriety by introducing California’s mandatory vaccination law SB 277. Recall that Senator Pan capitalized on the 2014 Disneyland measles event to push SB 277 through the California legislature, even though not a single child was injured by those measles, or even by most measles – see here; and further, the measles-containing vaccine has not been scientifically proven to be safer than the measles – see here.
We spoke with Glaser to confirm these details. And indeed, Glaser helped us confirm the obvious: his bill “PANDA” was named before Pan’s SB 277 and it was a reference to the word “pandemic” because it came through the Pandemic Response Project.
Interestingly, when naming the bill in 2013, Glaser chose the panda bear analogy because, in his words, “The panda is a beautiful symbol of both peace and nature, especially given the legal protection pandas enjoy.
As an endangered species they are afforded legal protection to exist in their own natural home habitat. So protecting pandas in their home is a good analogy for also protecting the right of peaceful humans to live naturally in our homes, even if there is a pandemic somewhere among the public outside.”
Moreover, “PANDAS” is also the well-known acronym for the prominent vaccine injury, “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus”.
Democratic Senators Newman and Pan Fabricate a Race Card to Exterminate Civil Rights
Senator Moorlach who introduced the bill was shocked when Senator Newman claimed on the record that there were racial and offensive undertones to the pneumonic title “PANDA” (Peaceful and Natural Dignity Act). In addition to whispering something to Senator Newman before the event in question, Senator Pan nodded along in agreement with Senator Newman that the bill’s name was a personal affront to Senator Pan.
In the words of Senator Newman: “Where did the acronym PANDA come from? The panda animal would seem to have very little to do with vaccinations, but it does tend to have a racial or ethnic tinge to it; it also includes the first three letters of my colleague’s name, and I could see where one might take offense.” See video at 2:03:40: link.
From the video recording, Senator Moorlach was obviously stunned and speechless at Senator Newman’s allegation. Senator Moorlach said he did not know what to say, because he had never drawn the same pneumonic association that Newman was suggesting was racial. The video also shows the Democratic chair of the Committee refused to let Glaser even speak a word to explain the bill’s name origin (naturally, Glaser would have explained that PANDA was a reference to “pandemic” because it came through the Pandemic Response Project, long before SB 277). It is currently unknown whether the chair of the committee was also collaborating with Newman to intentionally fabricate a racism allegation, especially because he was also involved in the pre-event whispers with Senator Pan.
It is also unknown how much information the other Senators had about PANDA’s name origin. Their complete silence on the video suggests they lacked context or information necessary to know that Newman and Pan’s race card had indeed been fabricated.
The notion of racism here was simply a non-issue, but as no California Senator would ever go on record supporting a civil rights bill that could be perceived or labeled as having a potentially racist title, they obviously all voted no. Perhaps the majority would have voted no anyway on the merits, but we will probably never know.
PANDA: Why It Is Necessary
Glaser says the PANDA bill is necessary to create a civil rights safeguard against current California law that allows authorities to exercise a form of absolute power, by arresting healthy individuals who simply choose to remain un-medicated at home during a pandemic:
“The local health officer may take any preventive measure that may be necessary to protect and preserve the public health from any public health hazard during any “state of war emergency,” “state of emergency,” or “local emergency”…. Any person who… refuses or neglects to conform … is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Cal. Health and Safety Code §§101040 and 120275
According to Glaser’s research submitted for the Senate hearing, PANDA was based upon a report by public health scholars at Boston University, in partnership with the ACLU, who found:
“Highly discriminatory and forcible vaccination and quarantine measures adopted in response to outbreaks of the plague and smallpox over the past century have consistently accelerated rather than slowed the spread of disease, while fomenting public distrust and, in some cases, riots…”
Annas, G., Mariner, W., Parmet, W., Pandemic Preparedness: The Need for a Public Health (Not A Law Enforcement/National Security) Approach. American Civil Liberties Union, January 2008.
And the CDC has observed the exact same phenomenon, which was reported in the CDC’s published journal in the year 2013:
“During outbreaks of plague and cholera, the fear of discrimination and mandatory quarantine and isolation led the weakest social groups and minorities to escape affected areas and, thus, contribute to spreading the disease farther and faster, as occurred regularly in towns affected by deadly disease outbreaks. [And] in the globalized world, fear, alarm, and panic, augmented by global media, can spread farther and faster and, thus, play a larger role than in the past.”
Tognotti, E., Lessons from the History of Quarantine, from Plague to Influenza A, Centers for Diseases Control EID Journal, Volume 19, Number 2—February 2013; DOI: 10.3201/eid1902.120312
Glaser also highlighted during the Senate Hearing that PANDA has a legal precedent in California’s current Tuberculosis control law:
“No examination or inspection shall be required of any person who depends exclusively on prayer for healing in accordance with the teachings of any well recognized religious sect, denomination or organization and claims exemption on that ground, except that the provisions of this code regarding compulsory reporting of communicable diseases and isolation and quarantine shall apply where there is probable cause to suspect that the person is infected with the disease in a communicable stage. Such person shall not be required to submit to any medical treatment, or to go to or be confined in a hospital or other medical institution; provided, he or she can be safely quarantined and/or isolated in his or her own home or other suitable place of his or her choice.” Cal. Health & Safety Code section 121370
Sixty physicians were on record supporting PANDA, along with several PhDs and rights groups. By contrast, the AAP was opposed to the bill. Ultimately, the Senate Health Committee voted no on the bill. But suspiciously, they never even engaged Glaser or Moorlach in dialogue regarding the substantive points raised by the ACLU and CDC Journal findings.
Instead, Senator Pan conducted a unilateral dialogue with a single opposition witness regarding cherry-picked measles cases. Senator Pan did not question the expert witness in support of PANDA, Tina Kimmel, PhD, MPH, who worked for the California Department of Public Health for most of her career, including within the Immunization Branch.
Dr. Kimmel provided testimony that emphasized why mandating vaccination has been proven to be counterproductive to public health goals. Indeed, none of the Senators asked Dr. Kimmel any questions. So on multiple levels, it does not appear that PANDA was given a fair or honest hearing.
If PANDA Had Been Given A Fair Hearing
Let’s consider why this bill – PANDA – is much more effective than mass coercive vaccination in the event of a public health emergency.
Even if we ignore the studies and surveys that show unvaccinated people are statistically healthier than vaccinated people, we cannot ignore the large, time-tested and statistically validated fact that isolation, sanitization and self-quarantine is far and away the most effective method whereby infectious disease transmission is obviated.
Note for example the figure below: it compares smallpox fatality rates in virtually unvaccinated and “unprotected” Leicester versus vaccinated/revaccinated populations in various areas (Japan, London, etc.). What does one see? The smallpox fatality rates are significantly lower in unvaccinated Leicester – a region which utilized the self-quarantine method to preclude infectious disease transmission.
The facts ostensibly demonstrate that mass coercive vaccination is not the most effective method (in fact, evidence indicates it worsens mortality).
Beyond the scientific aspect, coercive vaccination (in public health emergencies) that abrogates civil liberties, constitutional rights, and bioethical principles internationally regarded (bodily autonomy, inviolability, self-determination, etc.) acts to foster distrust of governmental authorities, and actually elicits greater rebellion and associated chaos. These legal concerns from the ACLU and CDC were the primary point that Glaser emphasized during the hearing, while his fellow witness, Dr. Kimmel, focused her testimony on the public health benefits of PANDA.
So, what could possibly be the impetus for opposition to this logical, scientifically/statistically proven method, which sensibly balances public health with respect for civil liberties? Did Big Pharma strike again?
We contacted Glaser after the hearing to obtain his impression of the day’s events. In his own words:
“When Senator Newman challenged the name PANDA as derogatory, I was shocked. I know Senator Moorlach was shocked too. He was just standing there and didn’t know what to say. Obviously racism isn’t something our offices had ever talked about or even considered.
The Committee chair wouldn’t even let me speak to explain the bill’s origins from the word “pandemic”. I found it strange that a surprise, fabricated side-issue could actually derail a very serious civil rights bill. I’m not a political guy, so I didn’t really understand what was happening in that Senate room. All I know is what I saw.
The Senators asked no questions about the ACLU or CDC references that we provided. Perhaps that’s just how these hearings go, but it didn’t seem like an honest hearing to me. From my experience in courtrooms, I can only say that ignoring actual evidence in favor of an unsubstantiated sideshow would never happen in an honest courtroom.
I also observed several other bills on calendar at this Health Committee, and there was an obvious pattern – this Health Committee has taken up the banner of financing the public’s demand for drugs and surgery.
I would say that even appears to be their primary purpose. Natural health and organic living are not discussed or considered among these Senators, let alone respected as the primary means for good health. If mass financing of drugs and surgery is what California health politics has devolved into, I have no interest.”
Glaser also advised that he is uncertain where his PANDA bill may go from here. But he did offer a parting insight:
“If you believe that we can trust pharmaceutical companies to inject people only with drugs and toxins that are good for them, then you are neither a historian nor a critical thinker. There is a reason these companies demanded legal immunity from lawsuits – their products are inherently dangerous. And government officials are also immune from lawsuits. So the system inherently lacks accountability, regardless of one’s position on vaccination. Sadly, the political system is ironically dismissing the scientific method to promote a one-size-fits-all experimental pharmacy for the American people. Even vaccine-enthusiasts must admit that mandatory vaccination policies eliminate the continued availability of a control sample – a group of healthy and natural people – who check and balance their assumptions about the science of immunity.”
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