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Nifla v. Becerra, It’s not an abortion case

Posted by Brenda Higgins on July 9, 2018

The Reproductive FACT act was a boldly unconstitutional law that was signed by Governor Brown in October 2015. 

The Bill, AB 775 (Later codified as H&S 123470) was entitled the Reproductive FACT Act (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Accountability)  The bill provided that Pro-Life Pregnancy centers, who exist because of their objection to abortion, would be required to provide information about abortion to their clients, in their office, on their internal forms and in all advertising.  The onerous law also mandated exact language, required large font type and required in some counties that the notices would have to be provided in 13 languages.  

The case (NIFLA v. Becerra) decided by the Supreme Court was an appeal brought by NIFLA (National Institute for Life and Family Advocates) after the Ninth Circuit ruled the law to be constitutional and not in violation of the First Amendment.  There was another case brought in Riverside County Superior court, Sharpen v. Harris, challenging the constitutionality of the law.   Judge Gloria Trask  ruled in favor of the pregnancy center, finding that the FACT Act violated Article 1, section 2 of the California Constitution.
The  Riverside Superior court, relied upon U.S. Supreme Court precedent related to the U.S. constitution’s First Amendment. The court stated, “Compelled speech is that which forces a speaker to say that which he or she may or may not believe.  Compelled speech is undoubtedly necessary in many circumstances.  But compelled speech of a political or cultural nature, is not the tool of a free government.”  

The Riverside court applied Strict Scrutiny, the highest level of constitutional scrutiny, and said  that the political speech related to abortion, can not be neutral in nature.  The court found that the state of California failed to show any compelling state interest advanced by the regulation.

The FACT Act mandated two different notices.  One notice was for ‘licensed’ facilities, and another notice for ‘unlicensed’ facilities.  A ‘licensed’ facility was defined by the statute as a clinic whose ‘primary purpose is providing family planning or pregnancy related services’.  The ‘unlicensed’ facility was defined as one ‘whose primary purpose is pregnancy related services’ but who did not have a medical director on staff.

The Ninth Circuit, said that the pregnancy centers “were unable to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their First Amendment claims.”  The Ninth Circuit court went on to state that  Strict Scrutiny was not warranted and that the “Act is a neutral law of general applicability, which survived rational basis (The lowest level of constitutional scrutiny) review.” As to the notice for licensed facilities, the Ninth Circuit found that it was entitled to only Intermediate scrutiny (Heightened, but not strict) and that the FACT Act survived Intermediate Scrutiny.  The Ninth Circuit  found that the unlicensed notice survived ANY level of scrutiny.  

The Ninth Circuit opinion spent much effort discussing “professional speech”.   One of the first things noted by The Supreme Court in its ruling overturning the Ninth Circuit, is that the Supreme Court has never recognized “professional speech” as a special category of speech giving it some lower “Intermediate” threshold of consideration.  Justice Thomas writing for the majority said, “This Court has been reluctant to mark off new categories of speech for diminished constitutional protection.”

Justice Thomas, also noted,  “The licensed notice at issue here is not an informed consent requirement or any other regulation of professional conduct. The notice does not facilitate informed consent to a medical procedure. In fact, it is not tied to a procedure at all. It applies to all interactions between a covered facility and its clients, regardless of whether a medical procedure is ever sought, offered, or performed.”  Justice Thomas pointed out the gaping exceptions in the FACT Act, exempting state and federal managed and funded providers.  This regulation, was targeted toward those clinics and resource centers that are largely non-profit, pro-life and Christian.

 

The Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit both called the FACT Act, “Content Based”.  Content based regulation generally triggers the high level strict scrutiny review for constitutionality.  The Ninth Circuit veered around this standard with its created category of “professional speech”  The Supreme Court rejected that effort to find justification for the FACT Act.

Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion was clear and direct. 

“The history of the Act’s passage and its underinclusive application suggest a real 

possibility that these individuals were targeted because of their beliefs. ……”

  “It is forward thinking to begin by reading the First Amendment as ratified in 1791; to understand the history of authoritarian government as the Founders then knew it; to confirm that history since then shows how relentless authoritarian regimes are in their attempts to stifle free speech; and to carry those lessons onward as we seek to preserve and teach the necessity of freedom of speech for the generations to come.”

“Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. This law imperils those liberties.”

Breyer’s dissent laments that the court should only look to the “reasonableness of the Legislature’s belief in the existence of evils and in the effectiveness of the remedy provided.” With one fell swoop, ignoring the whole body of First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion and dismissing the viewpoint encroachment of the state of California. 

No part of  Breyer’s dissent or the now discredited Ninth Circuit opinion, addressed the obvious and underlying philosophy of California that there is a ‘state interest’, in making sure women know about state funded abortion services. 

Breyer relies heavily upon Planned Parenthood v. Casey (Casey).  Interesting, in that the Ninth Circuit cites Casey as well, but in support of an opposite argument.   Breyer, criticizing Thomas and Kennedy’s majority opinion states, “one might take the majority’s decision to mean that speech about abortion is special”.  The Ninth Circuit, also relying on Casey, said that the high court had not announced a “rule regarding the level of scrutiny to apply in abortion-related disclosure cases”, implying throughout their ruling that abortion-related disclosure is in fact entitled to some yet undefined special scrutiny.  

The problem with the reliance upon Casey by both Breyer and the Ninth Circuit, is that Casey,  reaffirms Roe, which held that the Woman, not the state, has a right of Privacy and thus, a right to an abortion of an unviable fetus.  The state, as held in both of those seminal cases, has a interest in the life of the child, at the point of viability.  

The backwards application of Casey, by both the Ninth Circuit and Breyer, is not insignificant.  In the mental gymnastics they engage in to attempt to find support for this constitutionally offensive law, they attempt to create a new and unrecognized exception, and imagine a state interest in providing abortion.  

The majority and concurring opinions written by Thomas and Kennedy, do not even get to the lack of congruency in those positions of support for the law, because the FACT Act was so blatantly offensive to the First Amendment under proper scrutiny.  Judge Trask in Riverside similarly recognized the inherent flaw in the Act in that in infringed speech in a way it compelled clinics to “speak words with which it profoundly disagrees”.

The case should be an example, and a wake up call.  The fact that such a overtly biased and constitutionally offensive law made its way through the legislature and governors office, only to be defended by not one, but two Attorneys general, should tell us something about either the energy or the arrogance with which the left will go in the current environment, to silence those that it disagrees with.  

Justice Thomas put it like this:

Throughout history, governments have “manipulat[ed] the content of doctor-patient discourse” to increase state power and suppress minorities: 

“For example, during the Cultural Revolution, Chinese physicians were dispatched to the countryside to convince peasants to use contraception. In the 1930s, the Soviet government expedited completion of a construction project on the Siberian railroad by ordering doctors to both reject requests for medical leave from work and conceal this government order from their patients. In Nazi Germany, the Third Reich systematically violated the separation between state ideology and medical discourse. German physicians were taught that they owed a higher duty to the ‘health of the Volk’ than to the health of individual patients. Recently, Nicolae Ceausescu’s strategy to increase the Romanian birth rate included prohibitions against giving advice to patients about the use of birth control devices and disseminating information about the use of condoms as a means of preventing the transmission of AIDS.” Berg, Toward a First Amendment Theory of Doctor-Patient Discourse and the Right To Receive Unbiased Medical Advice, 74 B. U. L. Rev. 201, 201– 202 (1994) (footnotes omitted). 

Ultimately, the majority of the Supreme Court saw this power grab for the constitutional overreach that it was, and ruled accordingly.  

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The perpetual race for second place

Posted by Brenda Higgins on June 2, 2018

Polls are not hard to understand.  The science of polling, even with the basic college level understanding of how the math behind it works, is also easily understood to be not just subjective, but fully within the manipulation of the pollster.

It doesn’t take a scientific poll to see and comprehend what has happened in elections in the U.S. and around the world in the past three U.S election cycles.  People with a real power to vote, have done so. And, they have done so in outright rebellion to those in power who have told them what to do and how to vote.  In spite of the effort of this ruling class of politicians and pollsters and pundits, people have rejected their group-think advisements to vote as they are being told to vote, and they are voting, with a level of enthusiasm and fervor, that we have not seen in our lifetime.

People have, in massive numbers, rejected what they have been told, and voted for candidates that experts said could not win.  My opinion is based upon my own very unscientific polling. I knocked on people’s doors and talked to them about things like health insurance and abortion. I called them on the phone and talked to them about Unions and school bonds.  I knocked on their doors to remind them to vote or show up to their caucus. I have done this many thousands of times in the past few election cycles.

They want to talk about things that aren’t in the polls.  In 2014 in Arkansas, people expressed angry reflexive passion to  vote for any candidate with a “R” by their name. In 2015 there was fury over more special elections and efforts to create more special taxes to fix things they thought were already paying taxes for.  In Nevada in 2016 they only wanted to talk about Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders and had no interest in hearing anything else.  In 2018, as I talk to people on phones and at their front door, about the down-ticket, they want to talk about Travis Allen.

The politicians and pollsters and pundits, have told people in the past three election cycles that whatever they are feeling or thinking as an individual, sitting in their living room in front of their TV or behind their computer screen, the way that they should think because a lot of people think that way, and this is who you should vote for because all the other people are going to vote that way.  The American public has rejected that instruction out of hand, and have become inherently distrustful of the media and of ‘establishment’ politicians.  Funny thing it, the media is now telling them that this has happened because of Donald Trump.  The media misses it again.  The rebellion is not ‘because’ of Donald Trump,  Donald Trump is because of the rebellion.

So it is in 2018, California.

Here’s a poll.  How many Democrat governors have we had in California since 1959?  That is more than a half century.  Think about that, because in the past three election cycles, Democrats, Republicans, pollsters and media pundits, continue to tell Californians that they can only have a Democrat governor.

In the past 59 years, we have had three Democrat Governors.  Brown, Brown, Davis, and Brown again.  Three. And one, Grey Davis, was kicked out of office by the rulers of California, the California people.  In the same time period, we have had four Republicans, Schwarzenegger, Wilson, Deukmejian, and Reagan.

Reagan’s two terms were after the two terms of Edmund G. Brown. and before two terms of his son, Jerry Brown.  Jerry Brown had ANOTHER two terms, after Schwartzenegger ousted Grey Davis. The last time we had a one term Governor was Culbert Olson in 1938. He was a Democrat. Before Culbert Olson, sequential Republicans held the office for nearly 50 years. You have to look back to 1894 to find another Democrat Governor.  My point is, there is not a long or strong history of support for Democrat Governors in this state, and in the last three election cycles, voters in every other state have rejected Democrat governors by wide margins.  Republicans are Governors in 33 states.  In 32 states, Republicans control BOTH houses of the legislature.  In 2010, Republicans controlled ONLY FOURTEEN STATES.  14, in 2010.

The tide has changed and California citizens are missing the benefit of conservative ideals.

In the past three election cycles, the pollsters and pundits and party leaders (in both parties actually)  are telling the voting public to sit down and be quiet, that there may never be a republican Governor in California again.  In keeping with their pearl clutching and hand wringing, over their polls, and research and infinite wisdom, they have given us, Meg Whitman and Neel Kashkari in the past two races for Governor.  There was a bizarre victory lap when Neal Kashkari lost by less than expected in 2014.  These two were barely Republicans, they were wealthy people who spent their own money and the party rejoiced in that.  Kashkari, who had never held public office and supported Obama in 2008,  was outspent by something like 10 to 1, so he got more votes per dollar than Meg Whitman.  The party leaders bizarrely counted in a victory and called on Tim Donnelly to step down because (by default)  Kashkari was the party ‘standard bearer’.

Now we have another non-Californian, rich guy, and they are asking the voters to do the same.  Take one for the team, vote this way because we are telling you that everyone else is going to vote this way, and we need to have a candidate at the “top of the ticket”.

Gone is any language about reclaiming the Governors mansion at any time in the future, the strategy is simply to get someone bland enough, lack luster enough in policies, and rich enough to pay for some TV commercials, but not to win.

There is no strategy to re-take the governors mansion or find and promote a conservative candidate for governor in California.

Donald Trump did not have a path to 270.  There is a scientific poll.  The historic fact however, is that he far exceeded that necessary 270.

In 59 years, a member of the Brown family has held the Governors office for 24 years, 6 terms.  There are no more members of the Brown dynasty, but the professionals are telling us that it is time for the Newsom/Pelosi dynasty to be coronated.  There is nothing you can do about it, we have given you this proper second place finisher, please just sit down and let us tell you how to vote.  Ruling, establishment, elitism, but in their tone deafness, they miss, that THIS is precisely what the rebellion has been aimed at.

Remember, this is what they told us about Hillary.  It was her turn.  She had the money, the experience, she was the most “qualified” and that Donald Trump was a joke. The coronation of the next ruling member of the Clinton dynasty had arrived.  Sit down Peasants.   The pollsters always leave out one thing.

The ruling class are not rulers, and the people are still in charge, and their not buying this.

Cox is a big government advocate still. No matter what he tries to do to distance himself from his own ideas. His only voting record, is his vote for Pro-Choice, Open Borders, Libertarian, Gary Johnson.  Cox has never won a race.  That makes him a perfect choice for the second place strategy.

Travis Allen has never lost a race, and was never expected to be in office.  The pollsters, pundits and ruling class have counted him out, and told him to sit down and wait his turn for the entirety of his political career.

Historically, it is time for the Governor’s Mansion to be turned back to the Republicans.  Someone needs to tell the leadership of the Republican party, they dont know it yet.   There is no justification for rolling over and paying dead with a second place candidate.   Californians, just like Americans across the country in the past three elections, have risen up to remind you, who is in charge, and they seem to be pretty tired of Second Place.

 

Posted in California, Campaign Finance | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

I’m a Pro Life Activist and I’m voting for Travis Allen

Posted by Brenda Higgins on May 22, 2018

 As I have researched the alleged issues, I realize that there has been not only disinformation, but combined with short sightedness and lack of thorough analysis, the reactionary ‘endorsements’ of Cox have been sorely misplaced.  John Cox has simply stated that he is Pro-Life, which is inconsistent with his vote for Pro-choice Libertarian  Gary Johnson for president.  Yet, the ‘movement’ seems disinclined to exact any consequences upon him for that.  The primarily cited reason for rejection Travis Allen’s representation that he is Pro-Life is the number of time he abstained on legislation that was of interest to the Pro-Life lobby.  The most oft cited of those is dealt with here, but the analysis of the other pieces of legislation that Travis Allen is faulted for, are similarly innocuous when looked at in the detail of impact his vote may have had.

Labels are funny things.  They have become a knee jerk reactive prompt, that we respond to like Pavlov’s dog.  We have to, above all, bring humanity back into policy and politics, or we truly have accomplished nothing, in particular, when we call ourselves advocates for “life”.  We should be more careful with words like “choice” and “family planning” and realize that they are just words.  We should also be up to speed on what is happening in Pro-Life non-profits, charities and life affirming medical clinics.  Organizations that not only affirm life, but provide….choices, AND, Family Planning.  Just because we use words that are used by bad guys, does not mean, we are bad guys.

 SB 743, was entitled, The Protection of Choice for Family Planning Providers. It was presented to the Assembly on 9/13/17.  The problem that many “Pro Life” leaders are having on this particular bill is that Travis Allen did NOT vote on it, he abstained.  In discussion this with those conservatives who oppose Travis Allen as a governor candidate, no one could tell me exactly what difference his vote would have made.  The answer lies in the 55-21 split, in favor of passage.  Travis Allen’s vote, yes, no, or abstain, was in fact, irrelevant.  It would have passed no matter what Travis Allen did.  

Travis Allen is further faulted by these “Pro Life” advocates, for abstaining on other “Pro Life” bills.  Anyone who has ever been in Sacramento and conversed with conservative legislators there in the past three decades, knows, that you must pick your battles.  In the interests of what you can get done, you might have to ignore and let go of what you can not get done.  A few years ago, a California Senator told me that Jerry Brown was the best ally we conservatives had in Sacramento. It puzzled me at first, but I realized it was because the Governor, with his veto power, was holding a fiscally conservative line periodically, which provided the conservatives some maneuvering ability, not much, but some.  During the 6 years that Travis Allen has been in the State Assembly in Sacramento, the Democrats have had a majority, (more than half) and for all but two years it was a Super-majority (More than two thirds).  The minority in such a hostile environment, must have some shrewd strategy and survival skills. 

The passage of SB 743, is not in any way the apolcalyptic defeat of the Pro Life Movement that they are making it out to be.  In reviewing the listed advocates and opponents of this legislation, I am (again) puzzled as to whether anyone taking a side,  actually read it.  Of course, a variety of Planned Parenthood organizations supported it.  Particularly puzzling though, is the Catholic opposition to it.   Catholic charities strongly support many pro-life pregnancy centers that will benefit greatly from this legislation.
The legislation, SB 743, does not specifically, or exclusively, fund abortion.

It provides that if a woman is receiving funding for her medical care through a government subsidized health plan, she should be able to CHOOSE her provider.  What is unreasonable about that?  She may choose abortion with that blank check of benefits given her, but she can ALSO choose life affirming medical care for herself and her unborn child.  These medi-cal and medicaid benefits are a tremendous help to those life affirming medical centers, and those centers offer so much more to mothers than Planned Parenthood does. 

“Medi-Cal managed care plan shall not restrict the choice of the qualified provider from whom a beneficiary enrolled in the managed care plan may receive family planning services covered by the Medi-Cal program”  SB743 (

Maybe their issue is that women might choose Planned Parenthood.  She may, however, choose a life affirming medical clinic for her ‘family planning services’.   Choice, it is not a bad thing, and it is not a bad word. The question the Pro Life Lobby should be asking itself, is are WE doing ENOUGH to support these kinds of centers and divert these women to them?  Are we making these known?  Are they as easily recognized, branded and exposed and familiar to the public as Planned Parenthood.  Women, and men, go to Planned Parenthood because they are shocked, surprised, overwhelmed, unsure and immensely afraid.  They go to what they know.  Why cant we change what they know?  There are other OPTIONS.  They have real CHOICES.

With the woman having a real choice, she can choose a life affirming center.  It is up to the Pro Life movement to step up the game to reach these women.  With President Trump signaling that he will be enforcing Title X limitations on funding to abortion providers, this opportunity is truly wide open for life affirming medical centers to expand their reach and their market share.  While we myopically focus on old battle fields, opposing anything and everything that might benefit Planned Parenthood, an entirely new opportunity is springing up to simply put them out of business.  We will miss it if we keep splitting hairs over whom is Pro-Life enough for us.

Planned Parenthood performs over 300,000 abortions each year. They offer no prenatal care, no parenting support and refer only 2,500 adoptions.  That is not any range of CHOICE.  Pro Life Pregnancy clinics offer real support, and, real choice.  Choice is not a bad word, we just surrendered it and let them have it.  We should take it back.  Choices, when they are real and meaningful, are good things.  

It does not seem that any of Travis Allen’s opponents thought of this.  Again, though, Travis Allen did not vote on this, did not sponsor this, and was not a deciding factor in its passage.  It remains however a deciding factor in Pro Life organizations and activists rejecting him as a candidate.

The failure to fully consider the scope of this and other legislation, the full impact of life affirming ministries and organizations is incredibly short sighted of “Pro-Life” activists, but to compound their error of improperly analyzing the impact of this law, by saddling an illusive negative impact, upon a legislator and now governor candidate who had NOTHING to do with its passage, is just simple incompetence, and utter unfairness.

Travis Allen, is by far the best candidate we have seen for Governor of California in many years.  I just hope it is not too late to undo the misinformation damage that has occurred from these improper analyses.

I am a Pro Life Activist, I work in Life Affirming ministry, and I will be voting for Travis Allen.  

Posted in California, Orange County, U.S. Politics | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Breaking: Mayes Survives for Now by 3 Votes; Another Leadership Vote Next Week

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 21, 2017

Chad Mayes

Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley)

Embattled Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) survived a vote this evening that leaves him in place as head of the Assembly Republican Caucus, according to Chris Megerian of the Los Angeles Times, quoting Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore).  Guy Marzorati of KQED radio reported the same information, with a leadership election to be held Tuesday, August 29.

The 25-member caucus needed 13 votes to oust Mayes, but only reached 10.

Mayes has been under heavy pressure to resign in light of his role in supporting the controversial cap-and-trade program.  The California Republican Party Board, two dozen county central committees, four Lincoln Clubs, and the Impact Republicans have all called for an end to Mayes’s tenure as Assembly Republican Leader.  The Lincoln Club of Orange County and Orange County Republican Party Chairman Fred Whitaker have already called on Mayes to step aside, and tonight, the Orange County Central Committee will be voting on a resolution calling on Mayes to resign.

There have been three rumored candidates to replace Mayes:

  • Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake), who appears to be the frontrunner
  • Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore), who entered the race late last week
  • Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), who is rumored to have lost interest in the race

This is pure speculation, but it’s entirely possible the split in the race to replace Mayes may be unintentionally keeping Mayes in his position if none of the three can get to 13 votes to become the new leader.  The motion to “vacate the chair” may have failed because members were reluctant to have the position simply sit vacant.  These Republican Assembly members need to coalesce by the leadership vote on Tuesday because each additional failed vote against Mayes makes the caucus look more ineffectual and out of touch with their own base.  Additionally, the longer the caucus remains in chaos, the less time there is spent raising money to win seats.

 

 

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Breaking News: Eight Republicans Cross Aisle to Vote for Cap-and-Trade, Quirk-Silva Crosses Aisle to Vote Against Cap-and-Trade

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 17, 2017

California State CapitolTonight, the State Legislature passed AB 398, the legislation extending cap-and-trade, passed the Senate 28-12 and the Assembly 55-22. The bill required 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly.

Governor Jerry Brown will definitely sign the bill, considering his active efforts to lobby for cap-and-trade, his rare testimony in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee in favor of cap-and-trade, and his ebullient press conference tonight celebrating cap-and-trade’s passage.

All 27 Senate Democrats voted for cap-and-trade. 48 out of 54 Assembly Democrats voted for it. Eight Republicans in the Legislature voted for cap-and-trade: one Senator and seven Assemblymembers.

Most of the Orange County legislative delegation voted along party lines, with Republicans voting against cap-and-trade and Democrats voting for it.  The sole exception was Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) who crossed the aisle to join the Republicans in voting against cap-and-trade.

Here are the eight Republicans who joined with most of the Democrats to vote for cap-and-trade:

Senate

Assembly

Posted in 65th Assembly District, California, State Assembly, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Allen Suing Attorney General for Questionable Title and Summary for Gas Tax Repeal Initiative

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 13, 2017

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

California law requires the Attorney General to prepare the title and summary of every proposed statewide ballot initiative before it is allowed to circulate for signatures.  As I briefly mentioned in my live blog of the OC GOP Central Committee’s unanimous vote to endorse the proposed initiative by Gubernatorial Candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) to repeal the gas tax and car tax that were recently passed by the Legislature and will take effect in the next few months (the gas tax in November, the car tax in January), a number of committee members jeered when the title and summary were read, due to the biased title and summary written by the office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).  Here is the full text of that title and summary:

ELIMINATES RECENTLY ENACTED ROAD REPAIR AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING BY REPEALING REVENUES DEDICATED FOR THOSE PURPOSES. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Eliminates recently enacted state and local transportation funding for repair and maintenance of streets, highways, bridges, safety projects, and public transportation by repealing portions of the tax on gasoline ($0.12 per gallon) and diesel fuel ($0.20 per gallon), sales and excise taxes on diesel fuel (4% per gallon), vehicle registration fees ($25-$175, depending on vehicle value), and $100 zero-emission vehicle fee. Eliminates Independent Office of Audits and Investigations, which is responsible for ensuring accountability in the use of revenue for transportation projects. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Reduced annual state transportation revenues of $2.9 billion in 2018-19, increasing to $4.9 billion annually by 2020-21. These revenues would otherwise primarily support state highway maintenance and rehabilitation, local streets and roads, and mass transit. (17-0004).

(Note: the bolding and all-caps are required by law.  It’s the content that is disputed.)

Assemblyman Allen intends to sue the Attorney General to force the title and summary to be changed to more neutral wording.  As I have spoken to Assemblyman Allen and his attorneys regarding the lawsuit, out of an abundance of caution, so as not to accidentally endanger his lawsuit, I will simply share snippets of other people’s commentary on this.

Though opposed to the gas tax repeal, the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board (yes, the San Francisco Chronicle) actually condemned Becerra’s title and summary:

California AG stacks the deck on gas-tax measure

Once again, California voters are getting more spin than clarity from a ballot summary of gas tax repeal that’s at the signature gathering stage. The hazy wording from Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office is rightly infuriating the conservative architect of the measure…

Make no mistake, repealing the gas tax passed by Democrats in the state Legislature is a bad idea, given the crumbling condition of California’s roads. But the Becerra summary of the issue shades the argument unfairly. It shortchanges criticism that the money may be sent elsewhere and states that an oversight agency will be eliminated — though it doesn’t exist now.

It’s just plain wrong for a Democratic attorney general to offer a skewed legal summary of a Republican-backed initiative…

Click here for the rest of the San Francisco Chronicle editorial…

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley is a former Deputy Attorney General, and here are his comments, as quoted by Joel Fox, Editor and Co-Publisher of the Fox and Hounds Daily:

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who authored a bill to give the Legislative Analyst the power to write titles and summaries on initiatives, said of the gas tax repeal measure,  “There is no question that the ballot title and summary are a cynical effort to mislead, misdirect, and misinform.”

And here’s Joel Fox’s own commentary:

The title of the initiative written by the Attorney General is a dodge avoiding the blistering word “tax.”…Feels like funding headed for the roads is being taken away but doesn’t indicate that the money comes from the new “tax.”

However, in the body of the summary the AG makes up for the absent word “tax” by being quite specific that a 12-cent gas tax, 20-cent diesel tax, and vehicle fees up to $175 would be eliminated. All, well and good, although the summary did not mention that the taxes and fees are tied to inflation.

…there are features of the tax increase bill, such as bicycle and pedestrian projects and state park and agricultural programs outside of road repair that a reader of the title and summary would know nothing about.

The financial analysis as part of the summary says the money is “primarily” for state and local highways and roads and mass transit. I suppose “primarily” is supposed to cover bicycles and parks.

Allen also protests the sentence in the summary that the Independent Office of Audits and Investigations will be eliminated. That office was created by the bill in which the gas tax was increased and the office does not exist yet. Allen argues that when gathering signatures for the initiative the summary speaks of eliminating an office that is not there. From the Attorney General’s perspective, the argument is that if and when the measure is on the ballot in November 2018, the office will exist and that the initiative would cancel it.

…clarity for the voters understanding a measure and facts should prevail in writing titles and summaries. Including the direct fact that the initiative repeals a tax in the title would have been fairer and more accurate.

Click here for the rest of Joel Fox’s piece in Fox and Hounds Daily

Here’s the Los Angeles Times, including a quote from Assemblyman Allen himself:

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), the leading proponent of the initiative, said he will go to court to have the title and summary changed.

“We’re going to challenge it in Superior Court,” Allen said late Monday. “Gov. Brown’s attorney general has issued a misleading title and summary,” Allen said. The lawmaker said “almost everything” in the short summary would mislead voters. We will wait to win in court and then we will be gathering signatures up and down the state…

Critics of the new law have said it lacks sufficient safeguards for the money to be spent only on road repairs and transportation and could allow money to be spent on other functions.

The summary also highlights that the ballot measure “Eliminates Independent Office of Audits and Investigations, which is responsible for ensuring accountability in the use of revenue for transportation projects.” Such an office has not existed and is called for by the new law.

Click here for the rest of the Los Angeles Times article…

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

CRP: 84,988 Signatures Submitted to Recall State Senator Josh Newman

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on June 30, 2017

This came over the wire from the California Republican Party on Tuesday…

84,988 Signatures Submitted to Recall State Senator Josh Newman

Today, the California Republican Party (CRP) announced that it has collected and submitted 84,988 signatures in the effort to recall State Senator Josh Newman. The campaign needs at least 63,593 signatures from voters within Senate District 29 by mid-October to qualify the recall for a vote.

“Voters in Senate District 29 have made their opposition to Newman’s vote on the gas tax and car tax increases very clear. The speed with which voters signed the petitions is a testament to the anger they feel towards these tax increases and a fear of what liberal Josh Newman might decide to tax next,” stated California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte.

In a cynically corrupt attempt to shield Senator Newman from the impending recall, Democrats in the Legislature scrambled to pass Senate Bill 96, a gut and amend bill that would needlessly extend the state’s recall approval process, denying voters in Senate District 29 the due process of a speedy election.

“It is a clear abuse of power for the same legislators who voted for a wildly unpopular gas tax to now change the rules applying to recall elections in order to protect their colleague form the voters of his community,” stated Brulte. “The Democrats’ attempt to quell the movement by retroactively changing the rules is pure political gamesmanship and completely undermines our democratic process.”

In light of the legislative tomfoolery the CRP will continue to circulate recall petitions and turn in signatures to ensure all voters who desire to sign have the ability to do so.

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Posted in 29th Senate District, California | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Republican OC Assemblyman Travis Allen Enters Race for Governor

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on June 22, 2017

This video came over the wire this morning from Travis Allen for Governor

Posted in California | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee on Efforts to Stop the Car Tax

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 19, 2017

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpgWe are live from the OC GOP Central Committee, where the committee is considering a resolution of support for Assemblyman Travis Allen’s effort to repeal the gas tax via his plan to qualify a statewide ballot measure to repeal SB 1 in the next statewide general election (in November 2018). After the Attorney General issues the title and summary of the proposed measure, Allen will need the signatures of 365,880 California voters to put the measure on the ballot. Upon reaching the ballot, the measure needs a simple majority of voters to pass.

Tonight, however, to get the resolution of support for the proposed ballot measure, Allen needs 2/3 of the Central Committee members to vote in favor of the resolution.

Before that, general Central Committee business must be completed.

OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker gives opening remarks.

RNC Western Regional Political Director Alexis Valdez-Darnell explains her role, the RNC’s efforts in Orange County, and what they can do to help the OC GOP.

Chairman Whitaker recognizes each of the local elected officials present.

OC GOP Secretary Peggy Huang recognized the OC GOP Volunteer of the Month for April: longtime activist Joyce Van Schaack, who also received certificates from Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, the office of Assemblyman Bill Brough, the office of Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, the office of Board of Equalization Chair Diane Harkey, the office of Assessor Claude Parrish, the Laguna Niguel Republican Women Federated, the Orange County Federation of Republican Women, and OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker, joined by his father, former LA GOP 41st Assembly District Chairman Fred Whitaker, Sr.

OC GOP Secretary Peggy Huang recognized the OC GOP Volunteer of the Month for May: college student Thea Dunlevie, who also received certificates from Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, the office of Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, the office of Assemblyman Bill Brough, the office of Congressman Darrell Issa, the office of Board of Equalization Chair Diane Harkey, the NextGen Republicans, and OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker.

Chairman Whitaker discusses the work of First Vice Chairman John Warner for Saturday’s Flag Day dinner, as Warner is out ill.

Second Vice Chairman TJ Fuentes, Treasurer Erik Weigand, and Assistant Treasurer Laurie Davies 

Sergeant-at-Arms Tim Whitacre and Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh had no report.

Assemblyman Allen speaks in favor of the urgency. He describes the measure’s provisions repealing the gas tax and car tax.

Chairman Whitaker speaks against the urgency. He states that Carl DeMaio, who is leading the recall effort against Senator Josh Newman, is not yet on board with this measure because DeMaio may be drafting another one.

Committee Member Mike Munzing asks if it is possible to endorse Allen’s now and then endorse the other if it materializes.

Chairman Whitaker states it is possible but not advisable.

Committee Treasurer Erik Weigand asks if a special meeting is possible.

Parliamentarian Marsh express concern about the ability to get quorum.

Committee Member Taylor Strand asks if a special meeting would be timely to meet Assemblyman Allen’s measure deadlines.

Parliamentarian Marsh states it is possible to call an electronic meeting.

Chairman Whitaker suggests July 10 or July 12 for a special meeting.

Committee Member Baron Night asks about the timeline for the measure.

Allen explains that title and summary will be released in early July and signatures due in early December.

Allen states the special meeting would be fine for endorsement but he requests the resolution of support tonight.

Because Whitaker is the only speaker in opposition to declaring an urgency regarding the repeal of the gas tax and car tax, Allen is the only speaker in favor allowed to speak despite others wanting to speak in favor.

Committee Member Deborah Pauly asks about getting quorum at a special meeting.

Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh notes that quorum is easy to attain because Central Committee members can appoint and remove alternates at will.

Committee Member Anthony Kuo asks if the Central Committee action will affect signature gathering.

Allen explains that the endorsement would be helpful in getting donations and volunteers for the ballot measure signature gathering effort.

Committee Member Jennifer Beall asks if any other measure has actually been filed. She notes Allen is a member of the OC legislative delegation and therefore, a member of the Central Committee.

Chairman Whitaker is unsure.

Allen says no other proposed measure has been filed.

Committee Member John W. Briscoe asks if it would be possible to pass the resolution now and the endorsement in July.

Chairman Whitaker says it would be possible.

Committee Member Jennifer Beall asks about resolutions of support and opposition in the past two months on various recalls.

Chairman Whitaker states they were general resolutions of support, not endorsements.

The vote is 31 in favor of declaring an urgency and 19 against declaring an urgency. The urgency fails to achieve 2/3. With 50 people voting, 34 votes in favor were needed to declare an urgency. Consequently, the resolution will not be considered tonight.

The committee goes to club reports.

The committee adjourns at 8:48 PM.

Posted in 72nd Assembly District, California, Orange County, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Unions Only Care About Privacy When It Benefits Them

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on June 7, 2017

This came over the wire from the Freedom Foundation…

“As always, the left’s outrage is selective and its principles a moving target. When it suits them to stand for privacy rights, no one can muster more righteous indignation. When it doesn’t, the silence is deafening.”
– Sam Han, California Director of the Freedom Foundation

OLYMPIA – This weekend, the Freedom Foundation’s California director Sam Han penned an op-ed for The Orange County Register detailing the hypocrisy of labor unions on the issue of privacy and the efforts by the Freedom Foundation in Washington, Oregon, and California to inform workers of their rights.

Check out excerpts from the piece below or read the whole thing here.

OC Register: Unions Only Care About Privacy When It Benefits Them
by Sam Han
June 4, 2017

It turns out the much-heralded commitment of the political left and its allies in organized labor to the ideal of privacy rights has its limits.

And that limit once again manages to expire just short of themselves.

For example, they’re all for protecting the identities of taxpayer-subsidized home health care providers already represented by the same public-sector unions that fund liberal candidates and causes.

Meanwhile, under a bill currently working its way through the state Legislature, the names and contact information for tens of thousands of private-sector workers would be divulged for no other reason than exposing them to union organizers.

Naturally, this information would be handed only to the union, but not to anyone who might have a conflicting message to share.

The hypocrisy is stupefying.

As always, the left’s outrage is selective and its principles a moving target.

When it suits them to stand for privacy rights, no one can muster more righteous indignation. When it doesn’t, the silence is deafening.

Continue reading here.

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