Assemblyman Kevin Kiley has come under fire recently for his proposed legislation prohibiting the state from creating a government-sanctioned “vaccine passport,” among other resolute acts befitting his office.
A recent Sacramento Bee op ed by opinion assistant Hannah Holzer claims:
“Kiley’s legislation to ban vaccine passports, Assembly Bill 327, is a mostly meaningless stunt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not announced any plans for a statewide COVID vaccination documentation policy and the White House has said there will be no federal requirement that Americans carry proof of vaccination.”
Is she arguing Kiley’s position? She says the governor isn’t going to issue a vaccine passport anyway, despite the governor clearly taking steps to impose a passport system barely a week after saying he wouldn’t, as Kiley noted. But Kiley said no one should be forced to surrender personal health information simply to go about daily activities.
Kiley also noted the important bipartisan support for his bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which recently warned against “a checkpoint society that outlasts the danger of COVID and that casually excludes people without credentials from facilities where vaccine mandates are not highly justified.”
This position should have guaranteed committee hearings on AB 327, but hearings won’t likely happen.
Kiley told the Globe that AB 327 was supposed to have been heard by the Privacy Committee, but legislative leaders suddenly transferred it to the Health Committee, whose Chairman refused to hear it and announced the bill wouldn’t get a hearing or a vote. This means the Legislature was unwilling to debate the issue – even with ACLU opposition to vaccine passports.
The University of California and California State University systems already announced they will require proof of COVID vaccines before any student will be allowed on campus. This sounds like a vaccine passport. UC and CSU are state government systems. Will other state agencies also require vaccine passports of employees to be admitted into their offices? Where does this end with state government agencies imposing “a checkpoint society that outlasts the danger of COVID and that casually excludes people without credentials from facilities where vaccine mandates are not highly justified,” as the American Civil Liberties Union warned against?
The issue of vaccine passports is so important, Kiley garnered bipartisan support across ideological lines for his legislation. But legislators punted it, as they have for over a year now on many important policy issues, yielding policy and lawmaking to Gov. Newsom while he still operates under state emergency powers due to “COVID.”
Which brings us to the next issue in the Bee op ed: Kiley’s lawsuit, together with Assemblyman James Gallagher, to determine whether the governor has the emergency authority to make law without legislative authority, by using his emergency powers during the COVID shutdown of the state.
Holzer says the following about their lawsuit in her op ed:
In April, Kiley’s overheated tactics got a reality check.
Kiley and Assemblyman James Gallagher sued Newsom on claims that he overstepped his executive power when issuing stay-at-home orders during the pandemic. According to a story by Bee reporter Lara Korte, Kiley and Gallagher “sparred with appeals court judges or talked over them during a contentious oral argument” on April 20.
“Kiley, maybe this is the time for the Legislature to end the emergency if that’s what you think has happened and it’s gone too far,” said Judge Ronald B. Robie. “That’s up to the Legislature. You’re part of the Legislature, go do it.”
On Wednesday, the appeals court officially shot down Kiley and Gallagher’s lawsuit.
Justice Robie is right – the Legislature has the power to end the emergency and has all along. But the Democratic supermajority and Democratic leadership meekly abdicated their important powers to the governor, disrupting the balance of power.
This was the very intent and objective of Kiley and Gallagher’s original lawsuit.
Kiley and Gallagher sued to stop California Governor Gavin Newsom’s “one man rule,” as California Globe has reported for more than six months. Anyone following the lawsuit knows Kiley and Gallagher say this case needs to be heard by the California Supreme Court.
The Globe has attended court hearings, written numerous articles and talked with Kiley and Gallagher about the case. This is what they wrote in their return response to the Appeals Court after Gov. Newsom filed an appeal of the State Superior Court decision favoring Kiley and Gallagher:
The die is cast and the Governor Newsom is on the road to Rome. That is the context we find ourselves in with a runaway executive who continues to push the envelope outside his clearly delineated powers. We face a serious emergency in the COVID-19 pandemic, but even during an emergency our form of government does not change. The time for a judicial check on runaway executive power has come. It begins with this case.
As for Holzer’s claim that “the appeals court officially shot down Kiley and Gallagher’s lawsuit,” the Third District Court of Appeals didn’t do anything of the sort. Justices Raye, Robie and Renner actually shot down the governor on a majority of his arguments. They even said, “the Emergency Services Act is not a statute of indefinite duration.”
However, despite that important point and the others they challenged, they pivoted at the very end and said, “We conclude the Emergency Services Act is not an unconstitutional delegation of power.”
It’s apparent the justices know this case will get appealed.
As for Kiley’s book, “Recall Newsom: The Case Against America’s Most Corrupt Governor,” Holzer apparently only made it to the first page and notes the famous quote Kiley used from historian and writer John Dalberg-Acton: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Holzer said, “Kiley should revisit another of Dalberg-Acton’s famous quotes: ‘Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.’ In this case, Kiley ought to start looking out for the best interests of his constituents.”
She must not have made it past the quote page to the preface where Kiley writes about how he made numerous attempts, even on the record in the Assembly, to work with newly elected Gov. Newsom, to no avail. The supermajority rules, and currently, Newsom is still enjoying his “one man rule.”