In 2024, the fights are starting to set in – CalMatters

California’s Nov. 8 election is less than two weeks away, but battle lines are already being drawn for elections in 2024 and beyond.

Here’s a look at the two key fights:

First: Not so fast fast food companies. That was the message sent Thursday by the state’s largest labor union, SEIU California, when it asked Attorney General Rob Bonta and Secretary of State Shirley Weber to investigate the fast-food industry’s tactics in gathering signatures for a proposed 2024 referendum to repeal the new law. the establishment of a state council for the regulation of industrial wages and working conditions.

SEIU California, which sponsored the controversial bill, argued that signature gatherers hired by the fast-food industry are “deliberately deceiving voters into believing that the petition they are signing increases the minimum wage for fast-food workers.”

Save Local Restaurants, the coalition behind the referendum — led by the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association — needs to collect about 623,000 valid signatures by Dec. 5 to submit it to voters. That would put the law — which otherwise could raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers as high as $22 starting next year — on hold until voters decide its fate.

Fast food workers they said they planned to strike through California Nov. 15 to protest “fraud” in the signature-gathering process.

  • Save Local Restaurants said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that it “has been vigilant in following California’s election laws” and called the complaint “frivolous,” adding, “This is yet another brazen attempt by SEIU to force a law they don’t want and can’t afford on the people of California.” ”
  • The coalition also told the Times so far it has collected “almost a million” signatures.
  • Ingrid Vilorio, a Jack in the Box worker from Castro Valleyhe said in a statement: Thanks to the new law, “McDonald’s, Starbucks and other corporations have an opportunity to sit down with us and work together to find solutions to improve the entire fast food industry in California, but instead they are spending millions of dollars trying to mislead voters. to deny Black and Latino workers voice on the job.”

Second: Rethink who will be drawing the lines. Recently leaked racist comments made by Los Angeles City Council members during last year’s redistricting have put the politically dangerous process of redrawing legislative, congressional and other districts every 10 years after the U.S. Census back into the spotlight.

So is the case that the US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on December 7. One of his central questions: whether state courts or state legislatures should have the final say over those district maps. At the state level in California, maps are drawn by an independent commission; in some other states, they are drawn by legislators and tend to favor whichever political party happens to be in power. Courts currently have the power to decide whether maps meet constitutional requirements.

On Thursday, Bonta and 21 other attorneys general filed a brief in the case, urging the nation’s highest court to uphold current law.

  • Bonta said in a statement: “The extreme legal theory presented in this case is a recipe for national election disaster. Our democracy is built on a system of checks and balances. Allowing state legislatures to ignore the other branches of government in setting the rules for federal elections—circumventing the will of the people and the state constitution—runs counter to our nation’s history and practice.

Former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a similar argument in his own filing filed Wednesday.

  • He summed it up in the tweet thread: “First, legislators draw district lines to lock out legislature holders so people can’t resort to the ballot box, and then they tell us that only the state legislature, which they’ve now ensured people can’t throw out in a fair election, can change the law. … James Madison said, “You must first enable the government to rule the governed; and in the next place to bind it to control itself.” These legislators want uncontrollable government, and the court should not give it to them.”

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1
Understanding Election Mishaps

Ballots at the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters office in Sacramento on June 7, 2022. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters

From a CalMatters political reporter Sameea Kamal: As long as there have been elections in the US, there have been accidents – yes, even back in 1789. This year is no different. Here’s what we’re seeing in California as November 8 approaches:

  • In Riverside County, 5,000 voters in Canyon Lake, Menifee, Murrieta, Wildomar and Winchester received duplicate ballots due to a computer error. Officials assured the public that those voters’ ballots would not be counted more than once and that the error had been corrected.
  • A software company executive has been arrested in Los Angeles County during an investigation into the possible theft of election workers’ personal identification information. According to District Attorney George Gascón’s office, it had no impact on the ballots: “In this case, the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and did not change the results of the election. But security in all aspects of any election is essential for all of us to have full faith in the integrity of the electoral process.
  • 780 voter guides were found in recycling bins in Elk Grove and redelivered on October 19th. The Sacramento County Department of Voter Registration and Elections said in a statement that it is “working closely with local, state and federal officials to investigate how this incident occurred and is working to prevent any future incidents.”

Misfortune does not equal fraud. But it may shake some voters’ confidence in the process. This comprehensive CalMatters explainer has more on how officials are trying to keep your vote safe.

If you see anything suspicious, you can report it to your county elections office or the Secretary of State’s office. You can also contact Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Khasigian, who was named District Election Officer for the Eastern District of California based in Sacramento on Thursday. Khasigian will work with the federal Department of Justice to oversee complaints of election fraud and voting rights violations, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Scott will prepare for and respond to digital election threats. Khasigian can be reached at (916) 554-2700 or (916) 554-2723.

2
The zero-emissions truck rule is dividing Democrats

The California Air Resources Board meets at the California Environmental Protection Agency building in Sacramento on June 23, 2022. Photo: Rahul Lal, CalMatters

How controversial is a proposal by California aviation regulators to ban the sale of new gas-powered big rigs and other trucks by 2040 and force trucking companies to convert their existing fleets to zero-emission vehicles? Contentious enough to divide Democrats in the state Legislature, who attended the first of two public hearings Thursday by the California Air Resources Board ahead of a vote planned for spring, CalMatters’ Nadia Lopez reports. Some Democratic lawmakers have sided with environmental justice advocates, urging the board to adopt more aggressive rules that would require 100 percent zero-emissions sales by 2036. But another group of Democrats sided with the trucking industry, citing concerns that the proposed rules would hurt small businesses. and strain the state’s already overburdened power grid.

  • Andrea Vidaurre, political analyst for the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice: “Our immigrant and black majority communities have to deal with higher levels of asthma, respiratory problems, cancer and literally shortened lives due to diesel truck pollution. Please take this opportunity to transform this logistics system that has historically done so much harm.”
  • Jeff Cox, owner of Madeira-based shipping company Best Drayage: “Obviously we all want cleaner air, but that would be disastrous for the industry. … Putting the cart before the horse does nothing by forcing the purchase of a vehicle that does not exist today. This is both impractical and impossible to comply with.’

In other California environmental news:

  • Some of the world’s largest oil companies, including Shell and ExxonMobil, are selling thousands of wells in California— raising concerns that taxpayers could be on the hook for the cleanup, ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times report.
  • A whopping 30% of the Sierra Nevada Mountains between Lake Tahoe and Kern County are forested were killed between 2011 and 2020 due to the combined devastation of fire, drought and bark beetles, according to a UC Berkeley study published Thursday in Ecological Applications. “It’s kind of a wake-up call, even for those of us who are kind of immersed in the field,” Zackary Steel, lead author of the study, told the Sacramento Bee.

3
Will the new law improve access to cancer care?

A nurse places a patient’s chemotherapy on an intravenous stand. Photo by Matt Rourke, AP Photo

California is set to become the first state in the nation to offer universal health care to all residents with income — but coverage doesn’t always mean equal access. Take cancer: Although it’s the second leading cause of death in California, studies have shown that cancer patients covered by Medi-Cal — the state’s health insurance program for the poor — are less likely to receive recommended treatment and have lower survival rates than people with private insurance. A new state law aims to address that disparity by requiring Medi-Cal plans to try to contract with state-of-the-art cancer centers, but some supporters worry it doesn’t go far enough, reports Ana B. Ibarra of CalMatters.

  • Linda Nguyen, attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty: “Actually requiring plans (to contract with cancer centers) — that would bring some meat to the table. From our understanding, plans are already trying to contract with as many providers as possible, but it’s a reimbursement issue.”
  • Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino of Glendale, author of the bill: “I think making incremental changes has the ability to save lives, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

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