SACRAMENTO, CA- If you’re looking for the epitome of “petty”, then look no further than California’s Democratic Assemblymember Evan Low.
Low recently introduced a bill that clearly seems aimed at President Donald Trump, which would essentially look to ban state agencies from staying at any Trump hotel properties.
Yet would this actually work – or is it mere virtue signaling at best? Well, it’s a complex endeavor to examine.
According to Assembly Bill 2020, the following is stated:
“A state agency shall not pay, reimburse an employee, including travel reimbursement, provide a per diem allowance, or contract for the cost of lodging, procuring a good or service, or any other expense at a lodging establishment where the President of the United States is the highest level owner, an immediate owner, or a beneficial owner of that lodging establishment.”
Now, I wonder what president this might refer to exactly? Oh yes, the current one.
Now, reasonable people would speculate “Hey, didn’t Donald Trump relinquish ownership of his chain of hotels after being elected?”
On that note, yes, that’s correct. Donald Jr. and Eric took executive charge of the various businesses, which included the Trump Hotels, along with Allen Weisselberg. So, case closed. There’s no way that this bill, if passed, would mean anything….right? That’s where the drafting of the bill decides to introduce some ambiguous, and malleable language.
The bill also states:
“‘Beneficial owner’ means an individual who, directly or indirectly, through any contract, arrangement, understanding, relationship, or any other means exercises control over the establishment or has a substantial interest in, or receives substantial economic benefits from, the assets of the establishment.”
That verbiage right there is where things can get a little dicey.
While Eric Trump is one of the head honchos of the Trump Organization – which oversees the Trump Hotels portion of the business – President Donald Trump could still be painted as an individual that has “substantial interest” in the company’s standings.
In 2017, Eric Trump spoke with Forbes that while his father isn’t running the company anymore, he’d still give him updates on the profitability of the organization.
Evan Low stated the following regarding the proposed bill:
“Public officials, at any level, should not profit off the constituents that they were elected to serve and represent. No branch of government is above the Constitution, and this legislation will ensure that California taxpayers are not further exploited by Donald Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause.”
So, for those not familiar with the emoluments clause that every Democrat likes rambling about, we’ll explain in the easiest fashion.
Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 7 of the Constitution forbids the president from receiving any emolument (payment) from the federal government or any state, outside of payment for being the president of the United States.
Yet, Donald Trump no longer retains a legal interest in the Trump Organization – so, he’s not violating the emoluments clause at all. That is just a buzzword used by alarmists to incite emotional responses from uninformed consumers of media.
However, the manner in which Low drafted the bill could very well make it so that a myriad of individuals compensated via state funds couldn’t use their per diem to stay at a Trump Organization lodging. According to the bill, the following personas would fall under the AB2020:
“’State agency’ means every state agency, office, department, division, bureau, board, and commission, the Legislature, the judicial branch, including judicial officers, the California State University, and the University of California, including the Board of Regents of the University of California.”
Now, here’s the real kicker though: since 2016, only one state worker in California has used some sort of per diem to stay at a Trump hotel, according to the Department of General Services.
That’s because the going rate for a stay at a Trump property far surpasses the $90 per night state employees get to spend on a hotel.
Even if this bill passes, it’s not really going to make a difference in anyone’s pocketbook if their last name is “Trump”. While California’s per diem can’t cover a single night in a Trump suite, Donald Trump still manages to live in state’s leaders heads rent-free.
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For those unaware, California has a history of pretending like states no longer exist when they don’t line up to their standards on issues related to abortion or adoption.
According to the Associated Press, Oklahoma was one of the states added to the list that California won’t allow state employees to travel to on the state’s dime. In the spirit of an Uno reverse card, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt decided this past Thursday that he’d give California the same treatment back.
In the epic move that showed Governor Stitt isn’t setting aside what residents from his state value, he issued an executive order banning all non-essential state-funded travel to the state of California.
Of course, he did leave a little wiggle room for those attending college sports, business recruiting trips, and trips related to public schools. Still, Governor Stitt is one who isn’t caving to pressure from progressive states.
During the announcement of the order, Governor Stitt provided the following statement:
“California and its elected officials over the past few years have banned state travel to the State of Oklahoma in an effort to politically threaten and intimidate Oklahomans for their personal values.”
He didn’t miss the mark there at all. Like a kid at a playground who threatens to take their ball home, California has been trying this tactic to bully states into adopting laws that mirror their own.
While California champions notions like “my body, my choice”, Oklahoma is one of the states that understand that a child in the womb deserves a shot at life:
“Enough is enough. If California’s elected officials don’t want public employees traveling to Oklahoma, I am eager to return the gesture on behalf of Oklahoma’s pro-life stance. I am proud to be Governor of a state that fights for the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.”
California started these shenanigans of banning travel to Oklahoma in response to the state bringing about conservative legislation around both abortion and adoption.
Oklahoma’s adoption agencies can deny placement of children into same-sex couple’s homes. San Francisco started kicking off their own bans last year to any state that passed abortion laws that they deemed as “restrictive”.
One could hardly call Oklahoma’s abortion laws restrictive though. Once a child has been in the womb for 20 weeks, then all bets are off for abortions that are deemed to be of “convenience” – i.e. someone not being financially ready, they don’t want to be a parent, and so on.
After 20 weeks, the only time someone can get an abortion in the state is if the mother’s health or life is at risk.
This is also in concurrence with mothers who are seeking to end their pregnancies within the 20-week period receive counseling information and wait 72 hours after their consultation. Essentially, they want the mother to give abortion a long period of thought before going through with it.
Then again, California can’t help but ban travel over the more ridiculous side of leftism ideology. Iowa was one of the banned travel states after they decided that Medicaid won’t direct funds to people wanting to get gender-transition surgeries.
California employs a travel ban to any state that enacts “a law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
Well, the growing list now includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, as well as the mentioned Oklahoma and Iowa.
As we reported earlier this month, California has some incredibly progressive ‘health’ policies besides abortion. That includes giving millions of dollars in taxpayer money to illegal immigrants for their healthcare.
It looks like California’s unfunded pension burden of $1 trillion dollars is of no concern to Gov Gavin Newsom, who fancies himself as a future presidential candidate, probably in 2024. After all, California fancies itself a sanctuary for anyone who wants to move there, be they legal or illegal.
Newsom unveiled a $222 billion state budget that proposes to use $80.5 million to extend health coverage to 27,000 illegal aliens in the state.
The state, which fancies itself a “sanctuary” where illegals are welcome with open arms, in many cases to commit crimes and even kill people, is in the throes of a homeless problem and its two major cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles are getting a reputation for feces infested ratholes.
But we are worried about extending health insurance for illegals. Got it.
Since California started its state-run health care program, it has steadily added different groups of illegal aliens to the program. The latest expansion, which includes illegals 65 and over has gotten the attention of people who question the cost of adding this demographic, which is more expensive to insure due to increased health issues.
State Sen. Patricia Bates told the Los Angeles Times that extending coverage would increase wait times and magnify doctor shortages.
“There are issues with access,” she said.
She said extending coverage to more people when those currently enrolled struggle to get appointments would constitute a “false promise.”
The number of people who will receive coverage under the expansion is relatively small in the grand scheme of things, and the estimated costs are a fraction of the state budget.
However, the state’s health insurance program, Medi-Cal already covers one-third of state residents. Critics of expanding the program say it is already struggling with long wait times (can you say Canada?) because of a shortage of doctors who are willing to accept the state’s low reimbursement rates.
So, what does an already broke state do when it has a shortage of doctors? Pay off student loans to coerce, um, convince doctors to participate in Medi-Cal. The program requires physicians or dentists to commit to taking 30% of their caseloads from Medi-Cal patients.
Supporters of the program believe this is a good step toward eventual universal health coverage in the state, which was part of Newsom’s campaign platform.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a consumer advocacy group, believes it’s a step in the right direction.
“We believe fundamentally that primary and preventative care makes our healthcare system more efficient and effective for everyone,” he said.
“It’s important that we take these important steps to provide real relief to Californians who are excluded due to eligibility or affordability.”
He said it’s not right.
“For many of these seniors, they have made a lifetime of contributions to California—to our economy, tax base and our society—and right now they are excluded from healthcare programs,” Wright said.
“It makes sense to focus on those who need this the most. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to get everyone, so we will continue to press on that as well.”
Got it. Illegals over citizens. Right in the California playbook.
Medi-Cal is funded by both state and federal money, however Obamacare prevents the use of federal dollars for covering illegal immigrants, so responsibility for that falls strictly on California.
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