Ashby vs Sac supervisors + Making period trackers confidential + Republicans don’t want MCTR taxed

Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!


Sen. Angelique Ashby, D-Sacramento, a former member of the Sacramento City Council, has introduced a bill to strip the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors of authority to conduct redistricting and placing the power with an independent commission.

“Electoral districts must be created fairly with equal representation as their guide,” Ashby said in a statement. “By establishing an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, we can better ensure that Sacramento County’s district lines accurately reflect the various communities represented and provide much needed transparency to the redistricting process.”

Ashby’s office noted that the Sacramento City Council uses an independent commission, and that elected officials should not be allowed to decide who gets to vote for them.

Her office also pointed to groups that felt left out of the latest redistricting, which was based on the results of the 2020 Census. Despite pleas from the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community of South Sacramento, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 for a map that split it between supervisorial districts.

SB 314 would require that the county convene the commission beginning with the 2030 Census.


Via Lindsey Holden...

California lawmakers continue working to strengthen the state’s abortion rights protections as erosion continues at the federal level.

Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, on Wednesday announced a bill to protect privacy for those using reproductive and sexual health apps and websites, including menstrual period trackers.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, people who use the apps to keep track of their menstrual cycles grew concerned authorities that in states where abortion is illegal would use that data to penalize them for ending pregnancies.

With some states also moving to limit or ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender people, Bauer-Kahan hopes her bill will also help that community.

Bauer-Kahan’s bill would place digital services for sexual and reproductive healthcare under the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act. It prohibits sharing or selling information that comes from a medical or pharmaceutical provider.

“Digital information about menstruation, gender-affirming healthcare, and pregnancy must be treated as confidential health information,” Bauer-Kahan said in a statement. “We will not passively watch as healthcare becomes criminalized..”

Bauer-Kahan introduced her bill as a federal judge in Texas is considering a case that could outlaw access to a widely-used abortion pill. The judge, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Donald Trump, could overturn the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug, mifepristone.

The FDA would then need to remove mifepristone from the market and go through the approval process again, even though it has been in use for more than 20 years.


Is the California Middle Class Tax Refund taxable?

The answer from the Internal Revenue Service so far has been, to borrow an internet emoji: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Despite multiple inquiries from Republican Congressman Kevin Kiley, we still don’t know if it is going to be taxed.

Now, in a letter to President Joe Biden, legislative Republicans are urging the IRS not to essentially double-tax California residents by making them pay for the refund.

“Promised as a payment to help combat soaring inflation, these limited refunds were touted as financial relief to residents — similar to the federal stimulus checks issued during the pandemic. Like the federal stimulus dollars, the refund was issued from taxes paid by Californians. Therefore, California’s Middle Class Tax Refund must be given the same federal tax exemption,” the letter reads in part.

The lawmakers, including Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, called on the IRS to “act swiftly to ease Californians’ anxiety” on the subject by issuing a decision.


“While @SarahHuckabee touts public safety, here is what she skips over: Arkansas has the one of the highest murder rates in the nation.”

- California Gov. Gavin Newsom, responding to Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ State of the Union response, via Twitter.

Best of The Bee:

  • The federal government is unlikely to recover most of the billions of dollars in unemployment insurance fraud that plagued its Covid recovery programs, independent government watchdogs said Wednesday, via David Lightman.

  • A California city that first voted in 2021 to celebrate Pride by flying the Pride flag during the month of June reversed course, calling the flag “divisive,” via Brooke Baitinger.

  • Nearly five years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law aimed at preventing “crisis pregnancy centers” from misrepresenting the prenatal and abortion services they offer, a state lawmaker is trying again with a different approach, via Andrew Sheeler.

  • Energy industry leaders cited weather swings and storage limitations Tuesday for a spike in natural gas prices that left Californians gaping at their January gas bills, but questions linger about possible market manipulation, via Ari Plachta.

  • California oil producers, fighting Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to limit drilling and cap gasoline profits, are running an advertising campaign that claims to lay out the “facts” about the state’s energy situation, via Lindsey Holden and Maggie Angst.

  • Thousands of homeless high school seniors would receive $1,000 a month for five months under a new bill proposed by Sen. Dave Cortese, D-San Jose, via Maya Miller.

  • Call it Cal-Amsterdam? The Dutch capital’s relaxed attitude toward marijuana use in cafes is the model for a California bill that would permit localities to allow cannabis lounges to offer food, drinks or live entertainment, via Andrew Sheeler.