Alexei Koseff i Sameea Kamal, CalMatters
The potential cost of a new policy or program always affects the legislative process — but especially so when the state is facing a $31.5 billion budget deficit.
California's looming revenue shortfall is drawing attention as the Legislature completed a major milestone this week by deciding the fate of nearly 1,200 costly measures.
"It's a different era that we have to operate in, so that's the lens through which we have to see all the bills," said Congressman Chris Holden, the Pasadena Democrat who heads the Appropriations Committee. "In terms of the actual stress we thought needed to be addressed, we did."
Holden and his Senate opponent, La Cañada Flintridge Democrat Anthony Portantino, today announced the results of the "hangover dossier," a two-year fiscal legislative strike. The bottleneck of hundreds of bills expected to cost at least $50,000 gives the budget committee a chance to consider them — and their potential spending — holistically.
Portantino gave some tidbits about California as he read the results, then declined to speak to reporters, saying he had a flight to catch.
The hearing comes less than a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom made his recommendation.Plan to fill the budget gapAt a news conference Friday, the governor said he was "deeply concerned" by many of the spending bills, but urged them not to send him an avalanche of costly appropriations that he would be forced to veto.
"We have a collective responsibility and ultimately I think I stand behind that," Newsom said. “Now I want to better understand the nature of budget constraints. Just do it within your budget. If that's your top priority, work with your colleagues."
Even with that caveat, most bills in the suspense file are ahead of schedule. This oneThe Senate approves 326 measures, or 78%, docThe Assembly adopts 770 measures69 place
But Holden noted that those numbers will drop even further in the coming weeks as the bills fill out before a plenary vote. The bill must pass its original house by June 2 to proceed this year, a tense period in the context of budget negotiations.
"The governor obviously sent that message to our branch as well," Holden said.
Here are some suggestions that got lost in the act of uncertainty:
Expansion of tax credits for poor families
The House Resources Committee rejected two bills backed by anti-poverty advocates that would have provided tax relief to the state's lowest-income residents.
The bill was authored by Democrats Miguel Santiago of Los Angeles and Mike Gibson of Gardena,will deliverA total of $1 billion, mostly for poor families with children, by increasing the minimum payment provided by the state tax credit and expanding the list of those eligible for the early childhood tax credit.
The proposals are the latest effort by California advocates to bolster the state's Direct Cash for the Poor program, which has temporarily sent thousands of dollars to most American families with children since the extended federal child tax credit expired. , and led to a drastic reduction in child poverty.
Despite the cost, the California bill has bipartisan support.
Anna Hasselblad, director of public policy at the United Way of California, said the failure of the bill was disappointing, but lawmakers continued to support the effort. She noted that the increase in tax relief is included in the Senate's budget plan.
the oil industry wins
Two climate change laws that could be financially damaging to the oil and gas industry were struck down today.
A measure passed by a state Senate committee would allow civil penalties for oil and gas well operatorsIt is close to homes, schools and hospitals. Another bill aims to further increase California's ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets.
Environmental advocates denounced the climate action as a failure, while an oil industry official told CalMatters it's bad policy for the state's companies.
"The world desperately needs climate leaders like California to step up," Nicole Rivera, director of climate change, said in a statement.
In response, Kevin Slagle, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, said a broad coalition opposes both bills.
"These are not good notes," Slagle said. “It doesn't help that every time activist groups don't like the bill's position, well, the oil industry doesn't; ultimately it's not good politics."
Senate Bill 556It would hold owners and operators of oil and gas wells liable for diseases such as respiratory diseases, premature births, high-risk pregnancies and cancers within 3,200 feet of these sites. The bill would impose civil penalties of up to $1 million per person.
Author of the law, state senator.Lena Gonzalez, a Long Beach Democrat, introduced a related measure last year that would have banned new drilling within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, nursing homes and hospitals. But the law was put on hold after the oil industry backed a signature campaign to block the November 2024 referendum to bring the measure closer to voters.
"For decades, fossil fuel executives have known that drilling in communities puts them at risk of cancer, asthma, pregnancy complications and other diseases," said the Climate Center's Rivera. "Instead of taking action to protect public health and our shared climate, we lobby and spend millions of dollars to convince elected officials to look away."
The Petroleum Institute's Sagle said the bill would hold companies liable without proving they caused the damage, so the bill faced opposition from groups including the California Chamber of Commerce.
"It is a punishable practice until proven innocent as a practice of public policy," Sager said.
Another prominent climate change bill that was voted down todaySenate 12, by 2030 the state's goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent below the 1990 level. California law currently requires a 40% reduction in emissions.
The failure of both measures comes after Governor Newsom last week pushed through $6 billion in cuts from the $54 billion five-year climate plan approved last year.
With fiscal conditions worsening, the governor last week proposed to voters a $1.1 billion climate bond issue to avoid further cuts.
A rare failure for abortion advocates
A bill backed by the California Commission on the Future of Abortion and the Congressional Women's Caucus was quietly defeated today for the first time in the House Appropriations Committee. This onemeasure, Written by a member of the assemblyPilar the slave, directed to emergency pregnancy centers, asked the state Department of Public Health to launch an awareness campaign to ban abortion and often religiousWhat abortion options are available in California.
Abortion rights advocates have accused pregnancy crisis centers of misleading pregnant patients about their options and misrepresenting themselves as medical facilities when only a few hold such licenses. Supporters of the centers counter that they provide women with support services such as free pregnancy tests and counseling. Iformer California lawA requirement that emergency pregnancy centers provide abortion information clashed with a conservative majority on the US Supreme Court in 2018, which struck down the law as a violation of free speech protections.
"In the entire crisis in California, there are 20 percent more pregnancy centers than abortion clinics," Schiavo, a Santa Clarita Democrat, told a recent health committee hearing. "These crisis pregnancy centers shame, deliberately mislead and mislead women about their reproductive health care options in order to prevent them from accessing abortion care."
Although the legislature passed more than a dozen anti-abortion bills last year, the measure was opposed by lawmakers in rural areas where surrogacy centers run women's health clinics. Alternatives is one of the few medically licensed crisis pregnancy centers in the state that can provide ultrasounds, prenatal care and women's health screenings.
A death blow to health care affordability
Lawyers were surprised by the completion of another measure introduced by Schiavo, which was supposed to provide additional financial relief to about 900,000 policyholders enrolled in California by eliminating ongoing health care costs.
Account,AB 1208, will require the state to use funds set aside in the Health Care Affordability Reserve Fund to reduce patient costs. The money comes from tax penalties for uninsured Californians that have been the subject of controversy in recent months. Lawmakers and advocates questioned why nearly $1.4 billion in revenue was not reinvested in the state's health care system.
Althoughearly engagementapplication of tax penalties for financial assistance,newsom budgetThis year, $333 million was transferred from reserves to the general fund to help the state's growing deficit.
Rachel Linn Gish, spokeswoman for California Health Access, which sponsored the bill, said advocates will continue to do so.Struggle for funds in the budget processAnd it has strong support from legislators.
Earlier this month,Senate Democrats have vowed to keep the moneyin their budget proposals, but executive boards have not said whether the funds will be part of their budget priorities.
Homelessness efforts thwarted
Two bills meant to encourage cities to take more steps to address the nationwide homelessness crisis will not take effect this year.
the person will haveIt requires cities to plan enough housing to serve entire homeless communitiesInstead, the Senate Appropriations Committee addressed itSenate bill 7go throughEncinitas demokratka Kathleen BlackspearEnter the two-year bill, which means it won't be considered again until January.
"I'm disappointed," Blackspear said. "Homelessness is the most urgent problem in the entire state. We need to focus on tackling homelessness and making sure people don't live in our public places."
Blakespear wants to lay out the requirements for homeless shelters and permanent housing for the homeless and secure funds to finance their construction. But she did not specify where the money would come from, and that is a tricky question when the country is struggling with a large budget deficit.
Another bill that made it to the chopping block would make it easier to build temporary modular homes, like tiny houses, for homeless residents across the state. pod, belowSenate Law 634go throughJosh Becker, a Democrat from San Mateo, developers can temporarily place units on land that is currently vacant but could be used for future larger projects — taking advantage of the vacant land while developers go through the multi-year permitting process.
The bill would streamline approval of temporary projects and in some cases force city approval — preventing NIMBY neighbors from canceling projects they don't want in their backyards.
But opponents, including the Western Center for Law and Poverty, fear the temporary housing could turn out to be unsafe or of poor quality.
Becker plans to try again next year. "We'll figure out how to do it," he said.
Employment contract for an apartment?
A bill to ease housing construction — arguably the most important and controversial housing bill of the year — has been kicked out of the process, but there are changes that could help resolve labor disputes that have torn the Capitol apart. a couple of months.
The bill was introduced by a Democratic senator from San Francisco.Scott Wienerwill make permanent a 2017 state law that allows multifamily developers to bypass a lengthy and expensive permitting process in parts of California where they might not build, state housing officials said. In return, developers must reserve a portion of housing for low-income residents and adhere to stricter labor standards.
These labor rules take two forms: For 100 percent affordable housing projects, developers must pay higher wages. For those units that include market rate units, the developer must also employ a certain number of graduate interns, the vast majority of whom are unionized.
Wiener struck down union hiring rules in this year's bill, statingless encouraging resultsActually build a house. It represents union carpenters as well as several of themother trade unions of construction workersSupport the Wiener movement on the assumption that they will gain more from a simplified program than from adhering to strict union employment standards.
But the National Building Trades Council, an influential organized labor union, led a legislative war against the change.
The Senate Budget Committee may finally break the deadlock.
According to the new conditions:
- Union Hiring Language is back, but only for 85-foot mixed-income projects;
- If a developer tries to meet the rule but can't get more than two acceptable bids, they simply move on and revert to the higher pay rule.
It is not known whether this will be enough to conclude a truce with the Construction Council. INwritten statementChairman Andrew Meredith said the amendments made the bill "better", but the group's branches had yet to meet "to discuss the next steps".
Another big change in the bill's language: The bill is no longer a permanent part of state law, but expires at the end of 2035. That means we'll be doing it all over again in 12 years.
New year, same story for Community College teaching staff
Assistant professors have missed out on several big raises. The General Assembly's Appropriations Committee rejected two bills from the Los Angeles Democratic Party that would have paid part-time faculty members the same as their full-time counterparts.
account ofCounselor Miguel Santiago, will provide equal hourly wages to both types of employees. Last year, he introduced a similar law,just let it fail in the same commissionaccount ofMP Jacqui IrwinPart-time teachers will be paid the same hourly rate as full-time teachers. the country hasInvest over $100 millionsolve this gap.
According to the analysis of the legislation, most of the faculties are part-time lecturers, who teach about half of the courses. However, by 2021, full-time teachers will earn approxmore than three times.
The California Association of Community College Administrators said in a statement to the Legislature that the wording of the San Diego Act is "ambiguous" and that both bills would reduce the "autonomy" of local districts.
Meanwhile, community college students are still struggling to graduate on time. Since 2017, the state has invested approximately $175 million to improve vocational and educational programs so students can earn a degree in two years, but success so far has been mixed.
Eloise Reyes MPSan Bernardino Democrats want to reorganize the system, costing the state more than $245 million, according to an analysis by the Legislature.
These changes will have to wait: the parliamentary committee also rejected her draft.
criminal background check
The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected a proposal by Los Angeles state Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas to further tighten restrictions on when employers can conduct criminal background checks on job applicants. Supporters say the bill is necessary — despite a 2017 law barring employers from asking about criminal records before making temporary job offers — because bosses can investigate candidates in other ways.
Originally a blanket ban on applicants' criminal records, this year's bill passed a second committee after opposition from business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, which added them to its list of "job killers." House spokeswoman Denise Davis said employers continue to find the bill's "substantial administrative requirements" burdensome.
who can own agricultural land
So many bills are moving through the legislature that in the rush of action, some legislation might even escape the attention of dedicated industry lobbyists.
2022.,AccountIt would prohibit foreign governments from buying, leasing or retaining control of California farmland through which they pass. He did not receive a single 'no' vote, nor official support or opposition from agricultural groups.
"Frankly, this bill got a lot of attention last year," Ian LeMay, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association, said last month. LeMay confirmed that his organization lobbied the Newsom administration to veto it.
Newsom finally did itact sentence, saying that part of the data collection law would create "daunting accountability."
senator to the apartmentMelissa HurtadoBakersfield Democratcharge this year as wellThere are several fixes. But this time it has to navigate choppy waters: More than a dozen agricultural and industry groups have united against it, calling for changes to the bill. Some want the bill to ban a small group of foreign governments -- countries with "non-market" economies and those deemed by the federal government to be a threat to national security.
The bill also raised eyebrows among some lawmakers during debates in April. the seaDave Min"I think if we pass this bill, we will send a signal to the country...California is joining the xenophobic and anti-Chinese attacks on what we're seeing."
Today, the bill was rejected early in the legislative process - at least this year.
Follow us to see more stories like this
CapRadio is your trusted news source thanks to you.As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you support journalism and enable us to uncover stories that matter to our audience. If you believe in our work and support our mission,please pay today.