#DramaInTheDesert + A bill to strengthen abortion, gender-affirming protections

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


Lawmakers are set to be sworn in on Monday, but at least one race may still be undecided.

As of Friday afternoon, just 20 votes separated Republican Greg Wallis from Democrat Christy Holstege in Assembly District 47, with Wallis maintaining the slightest of leads.

As Alex Vassar of the California State Library pointed out, this might be the closest general or special election race in modern California history, going back to at least 1958.

“My friends, I spent some time last night trying to find a #CALeg race in the “modern” history closer than the current #AD47 @christyholstege & @gregrwallis #DramaInTheDesert. I failed. I went back to 1958 and wasn’t able to find anything closer. More research tonight,” Vassar wrote in a tweet.

The next closest race was the special election in Assembly District 79 in 1994, between Denise Ducheny and Tim Nader, which had a margin of 28 votes.


Last legislative session, California lawmakers passed bills turning the Golden State into a safe haven for people seeking abortions or gender-affirming treatment.

Now, Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, wants to make those protections stronger.

The state senator will introduce a bill Monday making it illegal for bail agents and bounty hunters to apprehend people in California if they have fled another state to avoid prosecution or imprisonment due to that state’s criminalization of abortion or gender-affirming medical care. Bounty hunters and bail agents who violate the proposed law would face a misdemeanor charge and up to a year in jail, as well as the forfeiture of their license.

The bill also would make certain that benefits, including food and housing assistance, are not denied to those people who fled so long as they are otherwise eligible.

“Last year the Legislature, Governor Newsom, and California voters took bold action, guaranteeing the right to an abortion and gender-affirming care. But a growing number of states have done the opposite, putting residents who seek essential health care at risk of being prosecuted,” Sen. Skinner said in a statement.

Skinner’s office pointed out that with 13 states now have laws making it a felony to receive or perform an abortion, while four states have passed laws banning gender-affirming care, with 15 more states considering legislation to do so.

“Now that some states have shown a willingness to aggressively enforce anti-abortion and gender-conformity laws, it won’t be surprising to see bounty hunters trying to track down people who seek refuge in California,” Skinner said.


“It’s staggering that it needs repeating: Hitler and his Nazi regime are the embodiment of evil. Being a celebrity isn’t a license to spew hatred. Every leader must condemn despicable antisemitic rhetoric & always speak out against antisemitism, no matter whatever form it takes.”

- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, via Twitter.

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