Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, seems to have easily snuffed former Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael, and incumbent state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, to seize the Democratic nomination for Migden’s 3rd State Senate District seat.
Some had thought it would be a close race between the two challengers, with the troubled incumbent a distant third. But my count — with all San Francisco and Marin County precincts reporting, and all but six in Sonoma County — shows Leno at 43,732 votes, Nation at 29,713 and Migden at 28,184. That’s 43 percent, 29 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
The district is more than 3-to-1 Democrats to Republicans, so barring the unforeseen, Leno is movin’ on up to the state Senate come November.
Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
Under: California State Senate, Carole Migden, Elections, Mark Leno | No Comments »
I’ve been innundated by news releases today offering comments from elected officials, candidates, advocacy groups and your great aunt Bessie on the California Supreme Court’s decision striking down state law’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstituitional. There was room for but a fraction of them in our story, so if you want to read a slew of verbatim quotes, see ‘em (in no particular order) after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barbara Lee, Don Perata, Ellen Tauscher, Fabian Nunez, General, Karen Bass, Leland Yee, Lynn Woolsey, Mark Leno, Nancy Pelosi, Sandre Swanson | 9 Comments »
Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco — along with several co-authors including Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley — has introduced a bill to protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of California medical marijuana patients from employment discrimination.
Leno had vowed to push such a bill after the state Supreme Court ruled 5-2 last month that an employer can fire someone solely because they use medical marijauna outside the workplace.
The new bill, AB 2279, leaves intact existing state law prohibiting medical marijuana consumption in the workplace and protects employers from liability by carving out an exception for safety-sensitive positions.
“Long ago, the legislature prohibited patient use of medical cannabis in the workplace or during working hours,” Leno said in a news release. “AB 2279 is merely an affirmation of the intent of the voters and the legislature that medical marijuana patients need not be unemployed to benefit from their medicine.”
Oregon and Hawaii have introduced similar legislation. California’s is sponsored by Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit which had argued the plaintiff’s case to the state Supreme Court.
“We welcome and strongly endorse this clarification from the legislature,” ASA spokesman Kris Hermes said in a news release. “Despite the ill-conceived ruling by the California Supreme Court, the intent of state legislatures has been to recognize the civil rights of patients and to offer them reasonable protections.”
Posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2008
Under: Assembly, General, Loni Hancock, marijuana, Mark Leno | No Comments »
The California Supreme Court ruled 5-2 today that employers can fire workers who test positive for marijuana used under a physician’s recommendation, finding the state’s California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996 doesn’t extend to the workplace and the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act doesn’t protect workers using a drug still illegal under federal law.
Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has just announced he’ll introduce a bill protecting medical cannabis patients’ right to employment.
“Today’s California Supreme Court ruling strikes a serious blow to patients’ rights,” he said in the release. “In the coming weeks I will introduce legislation that secures a medical cannabis patient’s right to use their doctor recommended medication outside the workplace. Through the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996 and SB 420 in 2004, the people of California did not intend that patients be unemployed in order to use medical marijuana.”
Leno and other lawmakers in 2006 filed a friend-of-the-court brief in this case stating that the Legislature’s intent was to permit the use of medical cannabis outside the workplace and that the Fair Employment and Housing Act “generally requires accommodation of medical cannabis use by disabled persons with medical conditions.” The court, clearly, felt otherwise.
Leno’s forthcoming bill will be sponsored by Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based national organization whose chief counsel, Joe Elford, had helped argue today’s case to the Supreme Court. “We are grateful that Assemblyman Leno has come to the aid of patients by introducing a bill to prevent the kind of employment discrimination condoned by today’s ruling,” Elford said.
Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2008
Under: Assembly, General, marijuana, Mark Leno | 8 Comments »
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., announced she’ll host a briefing in the Senate Commerce Committee at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 14th, on Capitol Hill to examine last week’s oil spill in the San Francisco Bay.
Boxer already has raised concerns about the Coast Guard’s response and the delay in relaying accurate information about the magnitude of the spill to San Francisco officials and the public. Among those scheduled to take part are U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen; Rear. Adm. Brian Salerno, the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Policy and Planning; and others.
Somebody’s got some ‘splainin’ to do…
UPDATE @ 7:40 P.M. TUESDAY: Assembly Natural Resources Committee chairwoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, and Assembly Appropriations Committee chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, will convene an emergency oversight hearing to review oil-spill response efforts 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in Emeryville’s City Council Chambers, 1333 Park Ave.
From the release:
During the hearing, Committee Members and other Bay Area Assemblymembers will have an opportunity investigate what led to the spill, assess current conditions and examine the environmental damage, as well as determine what immediate steps will be necessary to ensure proper clean-up and protection of coastal and marine resources and wildlife.
“I am deeply saddened by the contamination and destruction caused by the Cosco Busan crash and ensuing oil spill into our beautiful Bay,” stated Assemblyman Mark Leno, in whose district the oil spill occurred. “The most immediate thing we must do is work to minimize the on-going environmental degradation taking place in the Bay and Pacific Ocean. There are so many questions that need answering – why this occurred, what we’re doing about it and how we can prevent it in the future. This hearing will attempt to answer these questions and generate ideas for legislation and oversight that can prevent future disasters from happening,” he said.
“This oil spill is a wake up call for the Bay Area. For a spill of relatively small size, it has quickly spread out of control, impacting not only the waters and wildlife of the Bay, but also the Pacific Ocean and our coastal beaches,” stated Assemblywoman Loni Hancock. “It is imperative that the Committee hold this hearing to evaluate the response to this spill so that we are better prepared for future events of potentially greater significance,” she said.
Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
Under: Assembly, Barbara Boxer, Loni Hancock, Mark Leno, U.S. Senate | No Comments »
Activists and advocates across the state organized by Marriage Equality USA, Equality California and other groups are planning rallies for tomorrow to urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign Assemblyman Mark Leno‘s AB 43 and legalize same-sex civil marriage in California. The Assembly passed it June 5 on a 42-34 vote and the state Senate passed it Sept. 7 on a 22-15 vote, but the governor has vowed to veto it again, just as he did in 2005.
In the greater Bay Area, rallies are set for:
Oakland – 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Frank Ogawa Plaza, at 14th Street and Broadway
San Francisco — 5:30 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market St., for a news conference with Leno followed by a march to Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro and Market streets
San Jose — 6 p.m. at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, 938 The Alameda
Stockton — 5:30 p.m. at the San Joaquin Pride Center, 4410 N. Pershing Ave., Suite C-22
San Rafael — 4-7 p.m. at Third and Irwin streets
Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, California State Senate, Mark Leno, same-sex marriage | No Comments »
Activists including a mother of the online organizing movement will be outside the downtown Oakland office of state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, today demanding a floor vote on AB 706, a bill that would ban toxic flame retardants from furniture and bedding effective Jan. 1, 2010 while updating fire-safety standards.
Speakers at the noon rally outside the state office building at 1515 Clay St. will include Joan Blades of Berkeley, co-founder of online political organizing powerhouse MoveOn.org as well as the founder of MomsRising; and Mary Brune of Alameda, founder of Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS).
The activists say brominated and chlorinated flame retardants have been linked to health effects including reproductive and neurological problems, endocrine disruption, and cancer; elevated rates of certain cancers among firefighters are believed to be a result of chemical exposure from smoke and soot created when these products burn. Thus far, AB 706 is being held in the Senate Appropriations Committee; if it doesn’t get out by Tuesday, it’ll be done for in this Legislative session. Environmentalists and firefighters are pretty solidly behind it; industry groups, not so much.
But some observers, including Beyond Chron and the Los Angeles Times, believe the bill actually is doomed because it was introduced by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who happens to be running to unseat state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco. The LA Times listed AB 706 among its “must pass” bills… but will old-fashioned electoral politics get in the way?
Posted on Monday, September 10th, 2007
Under: California State Senate, Carole Migden, Don Perata, Mark Leno, Oakland | No Comments »
The state Legislature has once again approved a bill by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, that would grant same-sex couples the right to marry; today’s state Senate vote was 22-15, and the Assembly passed it back in June on a 42-34 vote. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto it again, just as he did in 2005.
Many news releases have been issued today, but I might’ve found none so interesting as that which came from James Vaughn, director of the California Log Cabin Republicans — an exercise in careful wording:
“We’re encouraged by the show of support for marriage equality by the people of California as expressed through their representatives. This is another milestone in the ongoing discussion with California voters on this important topic. We are mindful that a decision is pending from the California Supreme Court on this matter next year as well and would prefer that the Court had weighed in first so that the Legislature could implement or respond to the court decision. Governor Schwarzenegger has expressed his personal support for marriage equality in the past and we encourage him to continue in dialogue with Log Cabin Republicans on this important issue to address his concerns about how marriage equality is to be achieved.”
Posted on Friday, September 7th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, California State Senate, Mark Leno, same-sex marriage | No Comments »
We reported in today’s editions that Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, on Tuesday began her “Food Stamp Challenge,” trying to subsist for one week on $21, the national average weekly benefit for a food-stamp recipient.
But we neglected to report that Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, also covets your lunch — he started taking the challenge on Monday, and is blogging his progress just as Lee is doing.
“He just told me that since he had his bowl of cereal he’s feeling spunky, but I think overall he’s hungry,” press secretary Shannon Velayas told me a few minutes ago. “He went for soups, cereals, milk, and today he’s splurging on a 19-cent banana.”
Leno blogged last night that he’d just finished more than 12 hours of legislative work on the Assembly floor, having dealt with about 140 bills. “I cannot fail to mention that we made history again today by passing the only marriage equality bill in the country off the Assembly floor,” he wrote. “We will have to celebrate tomorrow.”
A celebration, presumably, without snacks.
Posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2007
Under: Assembly, Barbara Lee, Mark Leno, U.S. House | No Comments »
San Francisco-based Barnes Mosher Whitehurst Lauter and Partners — one of California’s foremost political consulting and lobbying firms — will spin off a separate, new company to deal only with managing ballot measure, Democratic candidate and independent expenditure campaigns. BMWL will continue focusing on lobbying, public affairs and issues management, while founding partner John Whitehurst launches the new firm, Whitehurst Campaigns.
“The partners have spent more than a year discussing the most effective way to organize the firm for the future to best serve the needs of our clients and also grow our business,” BMWL principal Sam Lauter said in a news release. “Creating a separate firm with largely separate disciplines will really allow us to do those two things.”
This is sort of a back-to-basics move for Whitehurst, who’d founded a firm called Whitehurst Campaigns in 1990 before forming BMWL in 2000. He got his start back in 1983 working on U.S. Sen. Gary Hart’s first presidential campaign in Iowa, Pennsylvania and California. After that, he became executive director of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, managing fundraising and voter registration drives. Then he went to work for Clinton Reilly Campaigns in San Francisco, gaining experience in overall management, advertising and other areas for statewide campaigns.
In all, Whitehurst has run more than 100 campaigns and racked up an impressive record of wins; he’s particularly into public finance issues such as bond and tax measures for schools, transportation and hospitals. Among politicians he has helped elect are state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland; former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown; former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown; and Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.
Posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Don Perata, Elections, General, Jerry Brown, Mark Leno, Willie Brown | No Comments »