CalWatchdog Morning Read – July 15

  • CalWatchdogLogoState senator’s death doesn’t give Democrats supermajority
  • Water cuts hurt water districts
  • Felons on the inside to vote soon?
  • Donors flee assemblyman accused of domestic violence
  • Teachers and hospitals aim to tax the rich

Good morning! It’s Friday, phew.

While the sudden death of a Republican senator Thursday morning seemingly gives Senate Democrats a two-thirds majority in the chamber, the state’s Constitution prevents it from having any effect, a Senate Rules Committee spokesman confirmed.

Sen. Sharon Runner died Thursday morning, ending a longtime battle with scleroderma — a condition that forced the Lancaster Republican from office in 2012 and required a double lung transplant that same year. Voters sent Runner back to the Senate in 2015 in a special election, but she decided not to run again in 2016.

Senate Democrats are one seat away from being in a supermajority — a two-thirds majority that would allow them to approve tax increases, gubernatorial veto overrides and constitutional amendments without Republican votes.

But staff of Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, who also chairs the Rules Committee, confirmed that the threshold is a fixed number of votes (27) based on the number of seats (40), not the number of sitting senators (39). There are currently 26 Democratic senators.

CalWatchdog has more.

In other news:

  • “It wasn’t just generous spring rains filling north-state reservoirs that had California’s urban water districts pushing back so hard against mandatory water cuts this year. All those brown lawns and shorter showers have cost them millions in customer revenue,” writes The Sacramento Bee
  • Thousands of incarcerated felons may soon be allowed to vote in California elections, reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • After being placed under a three-year restraining order from his wife, being stripped of his committee assignments, and seeing six endorsers flee from his side in his run at Congress, Assemblyman Roger Hernandez is now feeling the pain in his pocketbook — he raised only $8,849 last quarter. The Los Angeles Times has more.  
  • Teachers unions and the California Hospitals Assn. are very concerned with extending a tax on the rich that would benefit them — about $28 million worth of concern. The Los Angeles Times has more. 


  • Gone ’til August.

Gov. Brown:

  • On vacation.

Tips: [email protected]

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