California and New York are two of the most populous, liberal states in the nation.

They’re rivals – but it tends to be more of a frenemy rivalry (frivalry?) than a bitter one.

Now that California’s legislative session has wrapped, I wanted to survey how the relationship between the two has played out over the last year or so.

Most notable, of course, is the fact that back in April both states passed measures that will eventually raise the minimum wage to $15. The laws were signed on the same day.

Both states celebrated their laws by trying to stick it to the other. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted that their law was “first in the nation.” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León responded by jabbing Cuomo with a pretty epic actually:

“Ours is more progressive, and ours is a smarter way to go about it,” De León said after Brown signed the bill into law. “We don’t look towards New York for any leadership; I think the rest of the country looks toward California for leadership on this issue.”

Last year, both states also passed strong equal pay protections that went into effect at the beginning of 2016, setting them apart from the rest of the country. (Massachusetts has since joined that party.)

There have been lots of other moments of overlap:

 New York proposed a bill to give NFL cheerleaders job protections, inspired by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s successful bill. Gonzalez campaigned for the New York measure, and wrote a joint New York Times op-ed on the issue with New York Assemblywoman Nily Rozic.

 New York pols also cheered on Gonzalez’s recent farmworker overtime bill, and used its success to try and drum up support for a similar effort there:

An amazing development in the national fight for farmworkers rights. Lets use this momentum to get it done in NY!

— Adriano Espaillat (@EspaillatNY) September 2, 2016

• A bill this session from San Diego Sen. Marty Block’s bill would have required new lawyers to perform 50 hours of pro bono work– an Assembly analysis of the bill notes a similar requirement has been successfully incorporated in New York. New York remains the leader on this one; Brown vetoed Block’s bill.

 Legislators in California and New York introduced measures within a few days of each other than would forbid the states from doing business with companies that support anti-Israel movements. The California bill was co-written by San Diego legislators Marie Waldron, Block and Joel Anderson. It passed and is awaiting a decision from Brown. A New York bill passed the state Senate and Cuomo signed an executive order that does something similar.

The Gonzalez Method of Responding to a Veto or Threat of One

Capital Public Radio believes Gov. Jerry Brown’s remarks this week that he feels “dour and skeptical” when it comes to new bills on his desk that involve new tax cuts is an especially bad sign for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez:

This does not bode well for potentially popular measures like sales tax exemptions on diapers and tampons that drew zero “No” votes on the Senate and Assembly floors.

The author of the diaper bill, Asm. Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), acknowledges the governor’s point about spending, but says diapers and tampons are true necessities.

“I always say, I love this governor, but he’s never had kids,” Gonzalez told Capital Public Radio on the Legislature’s final night of session last week. “And sometimes I think he needs to keep seeing these things to understand what an issue it is. Even some of us with children sometimes, if you’re upper-middle class or upper class, don’t really think about the burden that we’re placing on young families.”

That response sounds very familiar.

It seems like Gonzalez has developed a formula for reacting to Brown’s vetoes or threats of vetoes. It goes like this: (Something really nice about Jerry Brown) but (explanation of why he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.)

This was her response at the end of the last legislative session, when Brown vetoed her bill aimed at ending gender biases within the workers’ comp system:

“I have said time and time again how much I admire and believe in this governor, but on this issue, he is dead wrong. With all due respect, a woman’s breasts are worth as much as the prostate of a male coworker and they should be valued as such if they were lost in a workplace injury.”

Ed Boards Go to Bat for Weber Bills

Now that the Legislature has passed all the bills it’s going to pass this year, editorial boards, nonprofits and all kinds of advocates are ramping up the pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the measures they think are important.

Many newspaper editorial boards around the state believe some of San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s bills to be some of the most pressing.

The Mercury News is a big fan of Weber’s bill that would create a statewide school accountability plan, and calls a separate accountability plan the state passed this week “gobbledegook.”

The Union-Tribune editorial board was similarly excited over the school accountability bill, and another by Weber that would institute a more thorough system for teacher evaluations. It’s not that hopeful that either will go through, though.

 Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee makes some educated guesses about which bills Brown will sign and which he’ll veto. The authors seem to think a bill from Sen. Marty Block that bans smoking at state parks and beaches has a good shot, as does a bill from Weber that restores voting rights for convicted felons who aren’t in prison or on parole.

Golden State News

 The irony of the California measure that seeks to rein in Citizens United. (CalMatters)

• A big group of California’s congressional representatives is leading a charge to change wine-labeling rules. (L.A. Times)

 Allegations of rape and trafficking hound the secretive Northern California marijuana industry, with little enforcement from police. (Reveal)

 Gov. Jerry Brown signed another landmark climate law. (L.A. Times)

• No, CSU schools aren’t offering segregated housing now. (KPCC)

• California’s new state-run retirement plan, explained. (The Week)

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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