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Read about the latest decisions at the state Capitol and how they impact your life (Fridays)
Pete Wilson’s pension legacy, the what ifs on legalized marijuana, California’s very, very good first dog and more in our weekly roundup of news from the capital.
Assemblyman Brian Maienschein has more campaign cash for his re-election bid than almost any other state lawmaker in California.
He’s racked up 441 donations adding up to $692,002, according to recent filings, and has a whopping $1.22 million cash on hand – second only to the speaker of the Assembly.
Maienschein’s robust fundraising is made all the more unusual because the district he represents, which encompasses Poway, Rancho Santa Fe and the northeastern communities of San Diego, is not considered especially competitive. Mainschein has defeated his challenger in the last two general elections by over 40 points. He finished first in the June primary by 15 points over Democrat Melinda Vasquez.
It’s possible that Maienschien is stockpiling funds for a run at higher office that requires a bigger spend. Candidates can roll over any excess money that they have at the end of the campaign into the next cycle, and 2020 will be a big year for down-ticket Republicans who usually see electoral gains in presidential election off-years. Perhaps most importantly, in 2020, Republican Sen. Joel Anderson has said he plans to vacate his seat to run for the County Board of Supervisors. Anderson’s district overlaps considerably with Maienschein’s, which would make it a natural target.
Many of the campaign donations Maienschein’s received come from the health care industry.
Of the companies that donated, $228,024.50 came from the health care industry (broadly defined to include insurance companies, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, and occupational political action committees.) In his time in the Assembly, Maienschein has championed legislation amenable to this cluster of industries, putting forward a number of measures related to health care and mental health facilities in the 2015-2016 legislative session. Health care and life sciences comprise a major portion of the regional economy, bringing more than $38 billion into the region 2014 in wages alone.
— Grant Oliveira
I do not want to write this section.
This section is about Sutter Brown, and the fact that he’s sick.
Sutter Brown is California’s First Dog, big brother to Colusa Lucy. Though he’s technically a corgi, he’s also a unicorn – something purely good that exists within politics.
Former aides to Gov. Jerry Brown have recalled bringing Sutter along to difficult budget discussions with Republicans in order to break the ice. He also played a starring role in 2012’s Prop. 30 campaign.
The Sacramento Bee’s editorial on Sutter Brown made me weep:
Over time, every Californian has, in a sense, become Sutter’s person. … Governors understand better than many of us the impact, [or] lack of it, one person can have. But the impact of one good dog is perhaps a less quantifiable matter. Oh, Sutter. We, too, would like you to stay.
While we’re still on a long road to licensing medical marijuana, California may have another big task ahead if voters approve state Proposition 64 to fully legalize marijuana. At the state level, the existing office of Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation would be renamed the Bureau of Marijuana Control and be given some new regulatory assignments.
There are also a bunch of local implications, many of them “what ifs?” that we explored this week: Will growers leave Northern California for Southern California to be closer to their customers? If more growers wanted to set up shop in San Diego – where there is plenty of land, enough water and experienced farmers who are looking for new crops – will local governments allow marijuana cultivation? Even though the county currently bars commercial medical marijuana growing in unincorporated areas, county government is in charge of health regulations that marijuana consumers will depend on for their safety, so what will it do?
• Another big question if Prop. 64 passes: Will we have pot breathalyzers? Here’s a good guide to the issues surrounding driving while high. (KCRW)
— Ry Rivard
In the latest installment of their series on California’s pension crisis, the L.A. Times and CalMatters examine the impact of Proposition 162, passed in 1992.
The measure wrote provisions into the state Constitution that made CalPERS, the pension system for state workers, more independent than ever. It also made it so that the pension board is supposed to prioritize giving benefits to members above all else – cutting out rules that said it should balance benefits with costs.
The L.A. Times’ John Myers writes that the initiative was a reaction to efforts by then-Gov. Pete Wilson to make big changes to the pension system, including trying to exert more control over who gets appointed to the CalPERS board.
Wilson played no formal role in the 1992 campaign sparked by his attempt to remake the pension system. But he said it’s clear that in any political battle in California, the rules written by voters can trump everything.
The giant list of state ballot propositions facing California voters has spawned a long list of guides to sort them all out.
There’s a format for however you like to ingest your news:
• Get ready to see a lot more Santa Anas – cities where Latinos have legitimate political clout – in the coming years. (New York Times)
• Because this is California, an actor from “MASH” has become one of the leading voices urging an end to the death penalty. (L.A. Times)
• Here’s a rundown of where state lawmakers stand on Donald Trump. (KQED)