June 3, 2022
Weideman Group Weekly
On Tuesday, Assembly Democrats caucused for 6 hours after Assemblymember Robert Rivas announced he had secured enough votes to replace Assemblymember Anthony Rendon as Speaker of the lower house. Neither one of them emerged from the caucus as the clear victor. Instead, they released a joint statement saying that Rivas has the support of the majority of the caucus to become speaker, but the caucus agreed that Rendon should continue as speaker through at least the end of the legislative session. In other words, Rendon will remain in power until the legislature recesses at the end of August and Rivas is in a strong but not certain position to ascend to the speakership.
Legislature Releases Budget Plan
Legislative leadership released a budget plan on Wednesday that proposes total spending over $300 billion, includes $37.5 billion in reserves, a $200 tax rebate for each Californian making up to $125,000 a year, a $21 billion climate and energy package, a $10.9 billion transportation package, expansion of Medi-Cal to all eligible Californian, and more. In a statement, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins said, “We are focused on providing struggling families the relief they need to weather rising costs of fuel and groceries, investing ongoing funding in core programs and services, funding one-time infrastructure projects that will keep California moving for years to come, and continuing to reinforce California’s ability to meet unforeseeable challenges.” This effectively kicks off budget negotiations between the Legislature and Governor with a goal of reaching a deal by the constitutional deadline of June 15. More details on the legislative budget plan can be found here.
The California Reparations Task Force released a 500 page document this week. The report lays out suggestions to combat the lingering effects of racism that include a state program to subsidize mortgages for African American Californians, raising the minimum wage and requiring health benefits and paid time off for workers in food and hospitality services, requiring that incarcerated people be paid market rate for their labor in prison and be allowed to vote, and creating a new state department to oversee these programs. The task force is expected to also submit a proposal to the legislature on a plan for reparation payments to individuals.
Get Out the Vote
This coming Tuesday is California’s Primary Election. Ballots have been mailed out and vote centers are open for Californians to cast their vote. All statewide officer seats, all 80 Assembly seats and 20 of the 40 Senate seats are up for election. Experts indicate that early voter turnout has been anemic in comparison to previous elections. Of the 21.8 million ballots mailed out to voters, just over 2 million people have returned their ballots so far, which equals about a 9% turnout statewide.