Source: Sacramento Bee
The introduction frenzy is over. The Legislature’s deadline for introducing bills was Friday, meaning Senators and Assemblymembers now turn to the real business of the session — pushing their measures through the Capitol and hammering out a state budget. Lawmakers have more than 2,000 bills to consider, not mention a special session on oil company price gouging and a budget deficit of more than $22 billion. There is still a way to put new proposals into play. A device called “gut and amend” allows legislators to remove an existing bill’s text and replace it with language completely unrelated to the original. Here are some of the most important introduced before the deadline:
PENALIZING OIL COMPANIES FOR PRICE GOUGING
What it is: Senate Bill X1-2 , would levy a penalty on oil companies when profits exceed a certain threshold. The money would be returned to taxpayers in the form of rebates. The bill’s initial language remains vague. It does not define the profit threshold that would trigger penalties or explain who would be eligible for rebates.
Author: California Senate Budget Chair Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.
CORPORATE EMISSIONS TRANSPARENCY
What it is: Senate Bill 253 would require corporations with at least $1 billion in revenue that do business in California to annually report greenhouse gas emissions to the public. The bill passed the Senate last year but fell one vote short of clearing the Assembly.
Author: Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.
PREDICTING ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS
What it is: Assembly Bill 30 would create a program to improve predictions of atmospheric rivers and their impact on water supply, flooding and post-wildfire debris flows. A series of nine atmospheric rivers dumped record amounts of rain and mountain snow in early 2023, killing at least 19 people and sparking power outages, landslides, and levee breaches.
Author: Assemblyman Chris Ward, D-San Diego.
STREAMLINING CONSTRUCTION ON CHURCH-OWNED LAND
What it is: Senate Bill 4 would make it easier for religious institutions and nonprofit colleges to build housing on their properties. It would rezone the sites, making it more challenging for local governments to reject plans for new housing. The measure didn’t make it through an Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing in 2020.
PUSHING HOUSING IN CITIES THAT HAVE NOT MET STATE GOALS
What it is: Senate Bill 423 would streamline approval of multifamily developments in communities that haven’t met their state Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) goals. It would also require developers to pay workers prevailing wage if they’re building complexes with 10 units or more. It would make permanent a 2017 measure that is due to sunset in 2025.
HOMELESSNESS ACCOUNTABILITY GOALS FOR CITIES
What it is: Assembly Bill 799 would create an accountability framework for cities, counties and nonprofits receiving state Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) funds. It would require the state and local entities to align their goals for curbing homelessness. Recipients that fall short of some targets could lose funding to another group in the same region.
Author: Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, D-San Fernando Valley.
LIMITS ON SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
What it is: Assembly Bill 280 restricts the use of solitary confinement in prisons and jails to 15 consecutive days. It bans placement of pregnant people, those with physical or mental disabilities or anyone younger than 26 or older than 59. The bill passed in 2022 but was vetoed by Gov, Gavin Newsom.
Author: Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena.
PRISONER VOTING RIGHTS
What it is: Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 would make people incarcerated for felonies eligible to vote. Passage requires two-thirds support from both the state Assembly and Senate, then voter approval through a statewide ballot measure. It follows Proposition 17, a 2020 constitutional amendment that grants voting rights to those on state parole.
Author: Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D-Los Angeles
LIMITS ON POLICE TRAFFIC STOPS
What it is: Senate Bill 50 would curtail traffic stops of vehicles or bicycles for low-level offenses. These include issues related to vehicle registration, window tinting, a single non-working brake light, or bike equipment. It allows police to send a citation or warning letter in lieu of a stop. One goal is to address persistent racial disparities.
Author: Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena.
STRENGTHENING CONCEALED CARRY PERMITTING
What it is: Senate Bill 2 would update the concealed carry licensing process, adding new age restrictions, storage and training mandates and limits on where permit holders can carry firearms in public. Proponents include Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta. This is the second attempt in two years to rewrite California’s concealed carry law following the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down key provisions.
Author: Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Burbank.
EXCISE TAX ON FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION
What it is: Assembly Bill 28 would place an excise tax on guns and bullets, using the proceeds to fund violence prevention. The bill is the latest of several attempts to enact such a tax. It does not yet specify a rate structure.
Author: Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills.
CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS
What it is: Assembly Bill 315 bars crisis pregnancy centers from falsely advertising that they offer abortion services or referrals.
Author: Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda.
What it is: Assembly Bill 223 would seal petitions and related paperwork to change gender or sex identifiers for anyone under 18.
HOLDING SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE FOR TARGETING CHILDREN
What is is: Senate Bill 287 would sanction social media companies for using their algorithms to drive children to ghost guns, fentanyl, harmful diet products, or content that promotes suicide, eating disorders or social media addiction. Expect an all-out fight from the tech sector, likely to continue in the courts if the bill passes and is signed by Newsom.
TIKTOK BAN FOR STATE WORKERS What it is: Senate Bill 74 and Assembly Bill 227 would bar state workers from installing apps owned by companies based in certain countries, such as China. The objective is TikTok, which critics point out can be used to track a person’s location.
Authors: Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Assemblywoman Kate Sanchez, R-Temecula.
FAST FOOD COMPANIES LIABLE FOR VIOLATIONS BY FRANCHISEES
What it is: Assembly Bill 1228 would make fast food corporations liable for any health or safety violations of their California franchisees. It would apply to any fast food chain with more than 100 locations nationwide. An earlier version of the 2022 bill that established a fast food council included joint liability, but was dropped due to business opposition.
ALLOWING LEGISLATIVE STAFF TO UNIONIZE
What it is: Assembly Bill 1 would allow legislative staff to form a union. It revives a bill that died in committee last session.
Author: Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor, D-Inglewood.
FOOD SAFETY TRAINING
What it is: Senate Bill 476 would require that employers pay workers for the cost of getting a food handler’s card. That includes fees for the food handler’s certification program and the time it takes for the employee to complete the course.
Author: Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara.