Assemblywoman Shirley Weber and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez take part in a Politifest panel. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Two state bills written by San Diego lawmakers haven’t even become law yet, but they’re already serving as inspiration for potential copycat measures on the national level.

AB 392, written by San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, would limit police use of deadly force to instances in which it’s necessary to stave off an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. The measure has passed the Legislature and is expected to be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom any day.

California Rep. Ro Khanna and Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay recently introduced the PEACE Act in the House, and similarly seeks to narrow the standards under which police can legally kill.

As Rolling Stone reports, it was modeled on Weber’s measure:

The proposed bill is modeled upon California’s Act to Save Lives, the “necessity” standard that passed in the state senate in July and is now on its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature. Formed over the course of six months with the help of civil rights organizations such as Sharpton’s National Action Network, the ACLU, NAACP, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the federal standard would be enforced, essentially, through funding. If states want to keep receiving Department of Justice public safety funds, they would also need a comparable version of the “necessity” standard for their own local police officers.

Meanwhile, though Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s AB 5, which would limit the circumstances in which employers can classify workers as independent contractors, is as contentious as ever (more on that in a moment) but it too is being touted by national politicians as a model for potential national legislation.

Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote legislation he said is aimed at preventing employers “from continuing to misclassify their employees.” He confirmed to CALmatters that he supports AB 5. Pete Buttigieg, who like Sanders is running for president, proposed a plan that would give gig workers the right to unionize and includes the same three-part “ABC” test for classifying workers that is at the heart of AB 5 and a state Supreme Court ruling.

A third presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, endorsed AB 5 itself this week in a Sacramento Bee op-ed. One passage from that piece that caught our eye: “The test is flexible enough that there is no need for an extensive array of exclusions. Working within the framework of the test, doctors or hair stylists or lawyers can set up their businesses to preserve the use of independent contractor status. Carving up the statute with scores of exclusions only serves to weaken protections for millions of workers who need it.”

AB 5 as currently written, however, includes plenty of exclusions – an “array,” in fact. Gonzalez wrote on Twitter that that’s “to clarify that they can serve as independent contractors under certain situations. They have to meet criteria, they’re not automatically exempted.”

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins made waves this week when she told Capitol Public Radio that discussions over the central question at the heart of AB 5 – the classification of gig workers – would keep going into next year:

“I have no doubt that we will discuss this into next year,” Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) told CapRadio in an interview Wednesday, adding that she hopes “we will strike a balance” in the high-stakes debate that’s pitting business groups against labor unions.

Gloria Campaign Committee Becomes a Whole Thing

Assemblyman Todd Gloria / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s re-election campaign this week became a major issue in the city’s mayoral race, primarily because he is not seeking re-election and is instead looking to become San Diego’s next mayor.

Gloria has an open campaign committee for a 2020 Assembly race, one with a not-paltry $275,000 in the bank. His mayoral campaign has another $475,000 in the bank.

Councilwoman Barbara Bry, Gloria’s mayoral opponent, criticized the open Assembly committee at a debate last week. La Prensa then reported Monday Gloria had failed to file a form announcing his intention to run before opening the Assembly committee, a potential violation of state law. A lawyer for two residents then sent a letter to the district attorney and city attorney requesting prosecution of Gloria for violating the Political Reform Act.

There’s no question Gloria failed to file the required Form 501, announcing his intention to run for Assembly, before opening the committee. Gloria’s team copped to the error when it filed the form Tuesday, five months late. Nick Serrano, a Gloria campaign spokesman, said the campaign reported the error to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission this week.

Each Political Reform Act violation could result in up to a $5,000 penalty.

Having committees open for multiple seats, however, is not against the rules, as the letter to prosecutors suggested. It’s not even out of the norm.

“I can say generally speaking, it is OK and not uncommon for a person to have multiple committees,” Jay Wierenga, an FPPC spokesman, wrote in an email.

Typically, that happens when an incumbent opens a re-election committee at the same time she’s considering a run for another office. Candidates can have backup plans – a long as they follow the state’s disclosure requirements.

Gloria, though, knows he’s not running for Assembly. The committee is raising funds to fulfill Gloria’s obligation as the Assembly’s majority whip, Serrano said. In that role, he’s expected to help fundraise for fellow Democratic Assembly members.

Indeed, of the $44,256 Gloria’s Assembly committee spent this year, about a third went to other candidates or to the state Democratic Party. Gloria raised about $25,000 into the committee this year, but most of the committee’s money ($293,000) was unspent from his 2018 re-election campaign.

“This complaint is baseless and politically motivated,” Serrano said in a statement. “There was an administrative oversight by Assemblymember Gloria’s committee that has been corrected and he has taken full responsibility for.”

Gloria can’t directly use the remaining state funds on his mayoral campaign. The city has its own campaign fundraising limits and requires donations to come from individuals.

There wouldn’t be anything keeping him, however, from donating the money to the county Democratic Party, which could then spend the money telling registered Democrats to vote for him if he receives the party’s endorsement. It’s a legal workaround of local contribution limits, as long as the party only communicating with its members and not the general public.

Golden State News

Sara Libby

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

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org...

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