Thousands watch hearing over Newsom powers + Machete speaks + Dirty tricks campaign?

Andrew Sheeler
·5 min read

Good morning and happy Thursday!


Via Lara Korte...

A judge in the Sutter County Superior Court on Wednesday heard arguments in a case where two California lawmakers claim Gov. Gavin Newsom exceeded his constitutional powers when he issued an executive order earlier this year. The case, brought by Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, has garnered widespread public interest, especially from those frustrated by Newsom’s handling of the pandemic. The hearing was live streamed on Facebook and received more than 200,00 views and 17,000 comments.

The Republican lawmakers argued that Newsom unlawfully acted as the Legislature when he issued Executive Order N-67-20 on June 3. The order mandated that counties adjust their election operations in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and, among other things, required all voters to receive a mail ballot.

Gallagher and Kiley said Newsom “invaded the power of the legislature,” by “fundamentally engaged in lawmaking, policy making activity, and altering and amending existing statutory law.”

But lawyers for Newsom argued that the California Emergency Services Act gives the governor power to act in urgent situations, and that ensuring the integrity of the election amidst a pandemic was critical. Furthermore, the legislature codified many of the provisions in the executive order with Assembly Bill 860 and Senate Bill 423.

Judge Sarah Heckman concluded the three hour hearing by saying she expects to issue a decision soon. Either side could appeal her ruling to a higher court.


The Yes on Prop. 25 campaign is running a new ad online and statewide, featuring actor and taco restaurateur Danny Trejo speaking out against money bail in the Golden State.

In the ad, Trejo references his own past with the criminal justice system, and says that “money bail is totally messed up.”

“Under money bail, poor people stay in jail, even for minor offenses. The wealthy? They get out. They’ve got the money to pay,” Trejo says in the ad, which you can watch here.

Just to recap, Proposition 25 would abolish cash bail, replacing it with a system that would place more power in the hands of judges, who would be guided computer algorithm-aided assessments but who ultimately would decide whether a person should be locked up pre-trial or not.

Haven’t voted yet? Still trying to make up your mind about Prop. 25? Be sure to check out our explainer piece on the ballot measure — who’s for it, who’s against it and what the research shows.

And here’s a fact check on an ad run by the No on Prop. 25 camp that features California NAACP head Alice Huffman.


The supporters of the newly passed ban on flavored tobacco in California are calling on Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla to investigate alleged dirty tricks by the campaign to put the ban up for referendum.

The American Heart Association and Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund allege in letters to Becerra and Padilla “numerous instances of illegal signature-gathering tactics that have reportedly occurred during circulation of the SB 793 referendum petition.”

“Senate Bill 793 prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products. Yet, in several instances, petition circulators for this referendum have approached voters and asked them to sign this petition under the pretense that signing the petition would support banning flavored tobacco. This is categorically false, as this referendum seeks to overturn the law prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products,” the letter reads. “In other instances, individuals have alleged that signature gatherers are misrepresenting the SB 793 referendum by stating that it will protect kids from flavored tobacco products and ban the sale of these products to children. Again, this is a blatant and clear misrepresentation of the effect of this referendum.“

SB 793 supporters have furnished photographs and videos that appear to depict a petition collector doing so under false pretenses.

“Big Tobacco is trying everything they can to stop SB 793 from going into effect, and now that includes lying to California voters,” Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement. “Big Tobacco knows that California voters won’t sign their referendum if they understand what it does, so they’re obfuscating the truth yet again to protect tens of millions of dollars in monthly revenue from candy flavors. We urge the Attorney General and Secretary of State to put a stop to the industry’s efforts to mislead California’s voters. California can’t let this predatory industry put money over kids’ health any longer.”


If we may toot our own horn for a moment, Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau Chief Adam Ashton has this Twitter thread highlighting some of the recent work done by the bureau. Go Cap Bureau!

Best of the Bee:

  • To keep your state job, do you owe more loyalty to your employer than your God? That’s a question Brianna Bolden-Hardge wants a federal court to decide in a lawsuit filed in Sacramento this week that claims the State Controller’s Office rescinded a job offer to her because of her religious beliefs, via Sam Stanton.

  • More than 3,000 California survivors of labor trafficking sought help from a state-funded program between 2016 and 2019, according to a new report from the Little Hoover Commission, via Jeong Park.

  • In June, Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, started getting the comments on social media. The Chinese American lawmaker was a traitor, they said, to the Asian American community. “Will your Assemblyman Evan Low betray you?” one attack read. The anger was sparked by a vote Low made in June to support putting Proposition 16 on the November ballot. It’s a measure that continues to divide Asian Americans in California, via Ashley Wong.