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Sacramento Weekly Update November 14, 2018

Important Dates & Deadlines.
Dec. 3rd     2019-20 Regular Session Convenes

Jan. 1st 2018 Statutes Take Effect, Unless Otherwise Provided
Jan. 7th Legislature Reconvenes
Jan. 10th Budget must be submitted by Governor
Jan. 20th Last Day to Submit Bill Requests to the Office of Legislative Counsel
Jan. 21st Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observed

Election Update
State officials have said that plenty of ballots remain unprocessed and several races are still too close to call. Counties have 30 days, until December 7th, to count the votes. Then, the Secretary of State will certify the results to the Governor by December 14th. As updates come in, here are some of the key takeaways as of earlier this morning:

  • As it pertains to Congressional races, Democrats picked up at least four seats. Republican Representative Steve Knight conceded to Democrat Katie Hill in CD 25. Similarly, in CD 49, Democrat Mike Levin defeated Republican Diane Harkey; and in CD 48, Harley Rouda, a Democratic newcomer, was declared the winner on Saturday over Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher. On Tuesday, in CD 10, Democrat Josh Harder won over Republican Representative Jeff Denham.

  • Additionally, there are a number of close congressional contests still in play. In CD 45, GOP incumbent Mimi Walters lost her lead over Katie Porter. In CD 21, GOP incumbent David Valadao saw his leads hold, but noticeably shrink. CD 39 is also trending toward the Democratic candidate Gil Cisneros, but Republican Young Kim maintains the lead.

  • Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara solidified his lead over no party preference Steve Poizner in the race for Insurance Commissioner. His victory appears inevitable.

  • Education reform candidate Marshall Tuck lost his lead over Assemblymember Tony Thurmond in the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Thurmond is now up by 0.9 percentage points

  • In the State Senate, Democrats picked up two seats, giving them a supermajority. Democrat Melissa Hurtado will unseat Republican Senator Andy Vidak in SD 14, while in SD 12 Democratic Assemblymember Anna Caballero has won over Republican Rob Poythress.

  • Also, in the State Senate, we can expect two special elections to take place in the near future, given Senator Ted Gaines election to the state Board of Equalization and Senator Ricardo Lara winning the bid for Insurance Commissioner.
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  • Assembly races still too close to call include AD 16 where Republican incumbent Catherine Baker has a narrow lead over Rebecca Bauer-Kahan; AD 38 where incumbent Republican Assemblyman Dante Acosta is trailing behind Democrat Christy Smith; AD 60 where Democrat incumbent Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes leads Republican Bill Essayli; and AD 74 where Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris is in prime position to unseat Republican Assemblymember, Matthew Harper. It is also worth noting that in AD 77, Republican Assemblymember Brian Maienschein is holding onto a narrow lead over Democratic challenger Sunday Gover.

  • Insurance Commissioner

    (Jones, D) Ricardo Lara (D) vs. Steve Poizner (NPP) ** Lara leading Poizner by a margin of 51.5% to 48.5% and 258,183 votes.

    Superintendent of Public Instruction

    (Torlakson, D) Marshall Tuck vs. Tony Thurmond ** Thurmond leading Tuck by a margin of 50.5% to 49.5% and 74,701 votes.

    Board of Equalization Member District 4

    (Harkey, R) Mike Schaefer (D) vs. Joel Anderson (R) ** Schaefer leading Anderson by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% and 5,048 votes

    Congressional Races

    CD 10 (Denham, R) Jeff Denham (R) vs. Josh Harder (D)

    ** Harder defeats Denham by a margin of 51.3% to 48.7% and 4,919 votes. **Incumbent Upset, Seat/Party Change**
    CD 21 (Valadao, R) David G. Valadao (R) vs. TJ Cox (D)

    ** Valadao leading Cox by a margin of 51.4% to 48.6% and 2,444 votes. ** Possible Incumbent Upset, Seat/Party Change**
    CD 25 (Knight, R) Steve Knight (R) vs. Katie Hill (D)

    ** Hill defeats Knight by a margin of 52.6% to 47.4% and 9,913 votes. **Incumbent Upset, Seat/Party Change**
    CD 39 (Royce, R) Young Kim (R) vs. Gil Cisneros (D)

    ** Kim leading Cisneros by a margin of 50.2% to 49.8% and 711 votes. ** Possible Seat/Party Change**
    CD 45 (Walters, R) Mimi Walters (R) vs. Katie Porter (D)

    ** Porter leading Walters by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% and 261 votes. ** Possible Incumbent Upset, Seat/Party Change**
    CD 48 (Rohrabacher, R) Dana Rohrabacher (R) vs. Harley Rouda (D)

    ** Rouda defeats Rohrabacher by a margin of 52.3% to 47.7% and 10,598 votes. **Incumbent Upset, Seat/Party Change**
    CD 49 (Issa, R) Diane L. Harkey (R) vs. Mike Levin (D)

    ** Levin defeats Harkey by a margin of 55.0% to 45.0% and 22,280 votes. **Seat/Party Change**

    Senate Races

    SD 12 (Cannella, R) Anna Caballero (D) vs. Rob Poythress (R)

    **Caballero defeats Poythress by a margin of 52.4% to 47.6% and 6,883 votes. **Seat/Party Change**
    SD 14 (Vidak, R) Andy Vidak (R) vs. Melissa Hurtado (D)

    ** Hurtado defeats Vidak by a margin of 53.5% to 46.5% and 7,197 votes. **Incumbent upset, Seat/Party Change**

    Assembly Races

    AD 16 (Baker, R) Catharine Baker (R) vs. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D)

    ** Baker leading Bauer-Kahan by a margin of 50.1% to 49.1% and 339 votes. ** Possible Incumbent Upset & Seat/Party Change**
    AD 38 (Acosta, R) Dante Acosta (R) vs. Christy Smith (D)

    ** Smith leading Acosta by a margin of 50.6% to 49.4% and 1,718 votes. ** Possible Incumbent Upset & Seat/Party Change**
    AD 60 (Cervantes, D) Sabrina Cervantes (D) vs. Bill Essayli (R)

    ** Cervantes leading Essayli by a margin of 50.7% to 49.3% and 945 votes. ** Possible Incumbent Upset & Seat/Party Change**
    AD 74 (Harper, R) Matthew Harper (R) vs. Cottie Petrie- Norris (D)

    ** Petrie-Norris leading Harper by a margin of 51.1% to 48.9% and 3,430 votes. ** Possible Incumbent Upset & Seat/Party Change**
    AD 77 (Maienschein, R) Brian Maienschein (R) vs. Sunday Gover (D)

    ** Maienschein leading Gover by a margin of 51.1% to 48.9% and 4,349 votes. ** Possible Incumbent Upset & Seat/Party Change**
    For more information, please see

    Upon Taking Office, Newsom Will Tackle Key Policy Issues

    With the election behind us, the focus shifts from campaigning to governing. When Governor-elect Gavin Newsom is officially sworn in, he will be tasked with addressing the myriad of daunting issues facing California. Currently, the state is grappling with a housing storage, high levels of poverty, increasing pension costs, raging wildfires, an academic achievement gap, as well as a strained relationship with the Trump Administration, among other things. Balancing these challenges with his own policy priorities will require making tough decisions. During his candidacy, Newsom laid out some rather ambitions promises, including: "Guaranteed health care for all. A 'Marshall Plan' for affordable housing. A master plan for aging with dignity. A middle-class workforce strategy. A cradle-to-college promise for the next generation. An all-hands approach to ending child poverty. Implementing this vision will be costly, and details pertaining to how he intends to pay for it have been vague. However, it is worth noting that Newsom has already pledged to emulate Governor Jerry Brown's cautious approach to state finances.

    Additionally, Newsom will be faced with political pressures from powerful interests such as labor unions, law enforcement, the business community, and others. Each of these stakeholder groups hopes he can deliver for them on their priorities. Some of the items on the agenda for next year include labor's push for a ban forced arbitration agreements; split-roll and tax reform; a controversial Supreme Court decision on employee classification; issues surrounding the legal standard for police use of force; and revisiting the California Consumer Privacy Act. It is also anticipated that lawmakers will be itching to revive proposals vetoed by Brown. Stay tuned..

    Marie Waldron Selected As New Assembly GOP Leader

    Days after the election, Assembly Republicans unanimously selected Assemblymember Marie Waldron to succeed Assemblymember Brian Dahle as caucus leader. Waldron will assume her new leadership post immediately, as Dahle is stepping down to run for a Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Ted Gaines. Waldron, who was elected to the Assembly in 2012, previously served as Assembly Minority Floor Leader. She is a business owner who represents parts of San Diego and Riverside counties.

    Interestingly enough, her ascension to a position in leadership means someone who represents a portion of San Diego now leads all but one faction of the Legislature. Both Senate leaders, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Senate Republican Leader Pat Bates, also have San Diego constituencies.

    Governor-Elect Newsom Names Chief of Staff and Cabinet Secretary

    On Friday, Governor-elect Gavin Newsom announced his first two appointees. Ann O'Leary, a senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton, will serve as chief of staff. O'Leary will also be helping to lead the transition effort. Newsom also named Ana Matosantos as his Cabinet secretary. Matosantos has been a director of the state Department of Finance under the last two governors and brings with her plenty of Sacramento experience. Both women will have plenty to do before Newsom is sworn in on January 7th. The governor-elect also unveiled a new website where people can apply for administration jobs.

    Governor Jerry Brown's Election Day Takeaways

    In an interview last week, Governor Jerry Brown shared a few of his thoughts on the election results. On a national level, with Democrats now controlling the House and Republicans leading in the Senate, Brown expressed some optimism over the new balance-of-power, saying it may foster civil negotiations and even compromise moving forward. He also noted that it is imperative for the country to find a way to pull together.

    Pertaining to Proposition 6, Governor Brown is pleased the measure failed. "People knew what they were voting for and they voted to build," Brown said. "That is a very hopeful sign." Further, in discussing plans for after his term expires, the Governor said he will remain involved in addressing the issue of climate change.

    New Employment Law Will Impact Litigation of FEHA Claims in 2019

    This past September, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1300 which amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to limit the use of nondisparagement agreements and general releases; restrict the ability to summarily adjudicate harassment claims, and lower the legal standard for actionable harassment claims. This new law will take effect on January 1st. More specifically, SB 1300 notably rejects a federal court decision in Brooks v. City of San Mateo by stating that a single incident of harassing conduct is sufficient to bring a hostile work environment claim. Similarly, the new law also expressly rejects the "stray remarks doctrine" and instead provides that any discriminatory remark, even if made by a non-decision maker or not made directly in the context of an employment decision, may be relevant evidence of discrimination in a FEHA claim.

    In summary, businesses should familiarize themselves with SB 1300's changes to FEHA. While the legislation did not expressly provide any new protections for employees or impose any additional requirements on employers per se, it will make it much easier for employees to file, litigate, and ultimately prevail on harassment and discrimination claims against employers. This being the case, employers may wish to review their workplace policies to ensure they are fully compliant with the new law.

    Utilities Face Growing Scrutiny Over Role in Deadly Wildfires

    On Monday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) launched investigations into the regulatory compliance of electric facilities owned by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) related to three deadly fires. The investor-owned utilities (IOUs) had each filed electric safety incident reports on Thursday, alerting regulators of problems with a PG&E transmission line around the source of Butte County's Camp Fire and with SCE transmission lines near the Ventura County Hill Fire and the Los Angeles County Woolsey Fire. However, the cause of the fires has not been determined. Additionally, Senator Jerry Hill who has been a big critic of PG&E since 2010 has said that he is considering legislation that would break up the state's investor-owned utilities or make them public. Stay tuned...