Getting Rolled, Other News from Sen. Blakespear


Do you know what it means to “roll” the chair of a committee? Until I was elected to the state Senate‚ I had never heard this term.

Well‚ it happened to me this week! And it was NOT fun.

“Rolling the chair” means that the members of a committee vote against the recommendation of the chair. A chair’s recommendation is formed after negotiating with the author of the bill (or attempting to)‚ learning the history of the issue‚ specifically asking “what problem is this bill solving?‚” and providing authors with suggestions on the most appropriate solution.

As the chair of Elections and Constitutional Amendments‚ my committee hears bills related to campaign contributions. And me getting rolled led to the headlines below:

I attempted to negotiate amendments in good faith with the author to prevent exemptions for certain special interests from existing campaign contribution limits. Unfortunately‚ I was not successful‚ and the majority of my committee did not back me up‚ despite individual meetings with each committee member in advance.

While this was frustrating and maddening‚ my takeaway from the last month here in Sacramento is that:

-- I’m committing to sticking with my principles‚
-- I’m willing to swing and miss‚
-- I’m open to learning lessons from the school of hard knocks because it makes me better.

For those who can’t get through the paywall on the hyperlinked articles above‚ I’m copying the summary from Politico’s California Pro newsletter directly below.


ROLLY CHAIR: California lawmakers advanced a bill in the Senate Elections Committee Tuesday that dilutes new conflict-of-interest rules for local elected officials related to donors‚ overriding strong objections from chair Catherine Blakespear‚ reports POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White.

Blakespear’s loss in the 4-1 vote was a win for a formidable alliance of developers‚ unions and local governments that backed Sen. Bill Dodd’s SB 1243. The bill would roll back parts of a 2022 law barring city and county politicians from voting on matters that affect campaign donors.

“This bill is not worth moving forward‚” a visibly frustrated Blakespear said after Dodd declined to take her amendments and lawmakers ignored her plea for a “no” vote. “It has too many problems in it‚ there has been no movement on it.”

In 2022‚ Gov. Gavin Newsom signed state Sen. Steve Glazer’s bill that responded to pay-to-play corruption scandals by compelling local lawmakers to stay off votes that could benefit their political supporters.

An alliance of business groups sued to block the law but failed in court. So they pivoted to championing Dodd’s bill. They argue the 2022 law is incomprehensible‚ unworkable and unnecessary‚ creating barriers that could deter lawmakers from voting on important topics like housing developments‚ rather than actually preventing corruption.

“We don’t believe that pay-to-play is in effect for approving housing‚” the California Building Industry Organization’s Nick Cammarota testified. “If it were – I’ll put it very crassly – we would buy our permits.”

Glazer pushed back on those concerns‚ saying in a text message that Dodd’s bill “makes it easier to corrupt elected officials.”



The U.S. Coast Guard alongside public safety agencies fighting to extinguish fire at the Oceanside Pier.
The Oceanside Pier caught fire on April 25‚ and the flames devastated a vacant restaurant at the end of the pier‚ as well as causing other damage that is being assessed.

The City of Oceanside and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol‚ Tobacco‚ Firearms‚ and Explosives began their joint investigation over the weekend. While it may take time before the final cause is determined‚ their preliminary observations do not indicate it was intentionally set. The City of Oceanside will share its assessment as soon as it is final. Luckily‚ the beach was reopened to the public‚ but for safety reasons and to allow for a meticulous analysis of the cause‚ the pier will remain closed.

The U.S. Coast Guard alongside public safety agencies fighting to extinguish fire at the Oceanside Pier.
Looking west at what used to be Ruby’s Diner‚ you can see the extent of the fire damage.

Knowing the importance of this pier to the community and to the region‚ I joined with fellow San Diego County legislators to request emergency funding from the Governor to repair the pier.

Here is the letter we sent‚ which was signed by myself‚ Sen. Steve Padilla‚ Sen. Brian Jones and Assemblymembers David Alvarez‚ Tasha Boerner‚ Laurie Davies and Brian Maienschein. I will continue to work with local and state officials to support however I can.



U.S. Soccer's Woman Player of the Year Naomi Girma and Senator Blakespear waving to crowded stadium.
Naomi Girma and I waved to the crowd after I presented her with a resolution of recognition on behalf of the San Diego state legislative delegation. Photo courtesy of the San Diego Wave.

I was thrilled to attend the San Diego Wave FC’s game on April 27 and present Naomi Girma‚ one of the club’s players‚ with a resolution from the California State Legislature recognizing her outstanding achievement of being named U.S. Soccer’s Woman Player of the Year for 2023. You can watch my video presentation‚ which was played at the stadium‚ below.

Senator Blakespear video still.
Click on the image to watch the video.



Assemblymember Laurie Davis, U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, Senator Blakespear, Vista Mayor John Franklin, and Vista City Councilmember Katie Melendez.
I joined with (left to right) Assemblymember Laurie Davis‚ U.S. Rep. Mike Levin‚ Vista Mayor John Franklin and Vista City Councilmember Katie Melendez to provide updates on what we’re working on.

I enjoyed attending the Vista Chamber of Commerce’s “Meet the Leaders” event to talk about my first year and a half in the state Senate. I have worked hard on the biggest issues confronting our region – enhancing public safety‚ protecting our environment‚ increasing the affordability and availability of housing‚ and reducing homelessness.

I have also been committed to staying connected to the communities in my district‚ engaging with constituents‚ and addressing their concerns.

I am proud that in Vista‚ my staff and I hosted a cleanup day a year ago in March as part of the Clean California Community Days initiative across the state‚ and we collected over 425 pounds of trash!

I am also grateful that I was able to help the City of Vista establish the county’s first non-congregate shelter‚ which opened in March. I secured $5 million from the state budget to cover the Buena Creek Navigation Center’s cost of operations for three years. The center has 24 single occupancy rooms‚ with Vista using 18 and Encinitas six.

The cities of Vista and Encinitas showed what regional cooperation can look like by joining together to share the facility. This type of collaboration is crucial if we want to tackle homelessness across the county.

All in all‚ it was great to connect with constituents and answer their questions at this event.



Senator Blakespear video still.
Click on the image to watch the video.

I commemorated World Press Freedom Day‚ which is today‚ with Senate Resolution 82. On this day‚ we honor and recognize the dedication‚ integrity and bravery of journalists who work tirelessly to uncover the truth and keep the public informed.

In modern democracies‚ journalists play a crucial role. They inform us about what our governments are doing‚ and we need that information to stay engaged in the political process and be informed voters. That’s why I introduced this resolution and was proud to receive unanimous support from my colleagues to celebrate this important day.



Senator Blakespear video still.
Find resources and assistance at the California Department of Insurance’s website‚ at

The issues we’re facing with the insurance markets in California continue to be cause for great concern. I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time looking into what can be done because so many of you have written into me.

Last August‚ California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara‚ at my request‚ held a Town Hall in Laguna Niguel‚ where hundreds of professionals and residents joined to share information about the state of the insurance market in Orange County.

Since then‚ we’ve learned about the Insurance Commissioner’s plans to address the sustainability of the private insurance market‚ incentivize discounts for homeowners‚ provide a hotline‚ and offer a request for assistance option for individuals to ask for support from Insurance Commissioner’s staff.

However‚ many of you are being impacted in real time. I know some of you were recently dropped from State Farm. This is another reminder that our insurance market in California is growing ever more precarious.

Because I want to make sure we can jointly advocate for progress and solutions‚ I’m hosting a virtual town hall with the California Department of Insurance on May 16th at 3 p.m. Information will be posted on my website under District Events in the coming days so mark your calendar and see you there.

Additionally‚ I’m calling on my colleagues in the Senate Insurance Committee to hold oversight hearings of the Insurance Commissioner’s Sustainable Insurance Strategy to ensure a transparent and expedited process.

We’ve gone from a crisis to an even worse crisis. There is no time to waste – we must attack this problem! I will keep you posted‚ as I push for progress here.

Join the California Department of
Insurance in partnership with Senator
Catherine Blakespear for a Wildfire
Insurance Webinar. This wildfire
insurance webinar will address the
most pressing issues faced by
California’s homeowners. cr
May 16th
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM.

Thank you for your support. I am honored to serve you.

In partnership‚



To learn more about what I am doing, follow me on social media.


Email me at

Call my Encinitas district office at (760) 642-0809

Call my Laguna Hills district office at (949) 598-5850

Call my Capitol office in Sacramento at (916) 651-4038