Report of the Legislative Committee

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“In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, you need to accept finite disappointment but have infinite hope,” State Senator Steven Bradford told the public after several of his bills were among the hundreds held in appropriations this year.

Each year, the all-powerful Senate and Assembly appropriations committees hold scores of bills in “suspense”—preventing them from moving forward after the committee flags them as having burdensome costs. The authors can sometimes amend the bills to reduce the costs and get them passed, but quite often the suspense file means the bill fails to pass. 

This year, five of the twenty-four bills our Club supported won’t make it out of suspense: Assemblymember Ash Kalra’s CalCare bill, Assemblymember Alex Lee’s Social Housing and Mixed Income Affordable Housing Loan bills, Assemblymember Laura Friedman’s bill to save solar energy, and Senator Lola Smallwood Cuevas’s efforts to reimburse the Culver City Schools for the costs of an emergency closure due to COVID.

On the brighter side, most of the bills that our Club voted to support passed their house of origin by the May 24 deadline. The one bill our Club opposed, a bill to ban unhoused from camping on city streets, was voted down in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. Here is a comprehensive list of all the bills our Club supports and opposes and their current status:

Criminal Justice Reform/Reparations

ACA 8  (Wilson)—Ending Slavery in California. Currently, the California Constitution prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime. This bill would create a ballot measure to abolish slavery in any form. ACA 8 passed the Assembly last year and will be heard in the Senate.

AB 1810 (Isaac Bryan, Tina McKinnor, and Mia Bonta)—Menstrual Products in Prisons—would require prisons to provide menstrual products without inmates having to request. Mother Jones. Isaac Bryan speaks about the law. AB 1810 was passed by the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate.

AB 1986 (Isaac Bryan)—State prisons: banned books would require that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) make available to the public their list of banned books and the reasons for the bans. It also creates an oversight process to challenge the bans. Isaac Bryan on Instagram FACT SHEET. AB 1986 was passed by the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate.

Environment/Utilities & Energy

ACA 16 (Isaac Bryan) — The Green Amendment — will amend the state constitution to affirm the right to clean air, water, and a healthy environment for every Californian. If this passes, a proposition will appear on the ballot in 2024. Isaac Bryan Video. ACA 16 has passed two committees and will be heard on the Assembly floor. ACA 16 requires a two-thirds majority to pass, but proposed constitutional amendments do not have to pass out of their house of origin prior to May 24.

AB 2684 (Isaac Bryan) Safety Element-Extreme Heat — requires local jurisdictions to address extreme heat in the safety element of their general plans or local hazard mitigation plans. AB 2684 was passed by the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate.

AB 2716 (Isaac Bryan) Oil and gas: low-production wells: sensitive receptors — imposes penalties of $10,000 a day for each oil or gas well that continues to be operated despite being “low producing” for over a period of two years within a 3200 foot setback zone. Article / Fact Sheet / Video: Isaac Bryan. AB 2716 passed the Assembly on May 21st and will be heard in the Senate.

SB 252 (Gonzalez, Stern, Wiener) Public retirement systems: fossil fuels: divestment—will require the pension funds of state employees and teachers to divest from fossil fuel companies. SB 252 was passed by the Senate and has been in the Assembly Committee on Pensions Employment and Retirement since June 8, 2023. Committee Chair Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (916) 319-2061) wants to hear from people who have CalPERS or CalSTRS pensions.

SB 1053 and AB 2236 (Allen, Bleakespear) Solid waste: reusable grocery bags: standards: plastic film prohibition —will close loopholes in California’s initial ban to ensure consumers are using either reusable bags or paper bags: Press Release  LA Times On May 21, SB 1053 passed by the Senate and AB 2236 was passed by the Assembly. SB 1053 will now be heard in the Assembly and AB 2236 will be heard in the Senate.

SB 1374 (Becker) would restore the right of renters, farmers, and schools to make and consume their own solar energy, a right that the state took away last year. Fact Sheet PUC decision for VNBT & NBT-A. SB 1374 was passed by the Senate and will be heard in the Assembly.

AB 2256 (Friedman, Berman) Public Utilities: Low-income customers-would roll back the CPUC decision to sharply reduce the amount utilities pay people with solar panels for surplus power. Press conference. AB 2256 was gutted and died in Appropriations.

Healthcare

AB 2200 (Kalra) – CalCare. This bill is the current year’s version of CalCare with some improvements. AB 2200 died in Appropriations.

SB 294 (Wiener) Health care coverage: independent medical review—removes barriers to youth accessing mental health treatments by requiring that any private insurance treatment denials be automatically referred to the state’s existing Independent Medical Review process. SB 294 was passed by the Senate and went on to the Assembly in 2023. The Assembly Committee on Appropriations will hear the bill on September 1.

AB 1975 (Bonta) Medi-Cal: medically supportive food and nutrition intervention—would make medically supportive food and nutrition programs a permanent part of Medi-Cal benefits. CalMatters Press release SFEXaminer AB 1975 was passed by the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate.

LGBTQ-IA Rights

ACA 5 (Low) The California Right to Marry—would allow voters to overturn the 2008 amendment to the California state constitution that defined marriage as being exclusively “between a man and a woman.” ACA 5 was passed by the Assembly and Senate in 2023 and will appear on the November 2024 ballot.

Human Services

AB 3145 (Bryan) Family preservation services: standards—would require that all court-ordered parenting classes in child welfare cases be evidence-based, “culturally competent” and provided by qualified professionals. The bill would require the state to collect data on outcomes. LA Times1 LA Times2 AB 3145 was passed by the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate.

Housing

AB 2665 (Lee) mixed income revolving loan program—would establish a mechanism for the state to offer zero-interest loans for deed-restricted affordable housing construction. CalMatters AB 2665 died in Appropriations.

AB 2881 (Lee) Social Housing—will establish the California Housing Authority to produce mixed-income housing that is affordable and financially self-sustaining. Press releaseAlfred Twu. AB 2881 died in Appropriations.

SB 1011 (Jones) Encampments: penalties—OPPOSE—prohibits encampments within 500 feet of schools, open spaces and major transit stops. Mike Bonin CalMatters: Democrats kill California homeless camp ban, again. SB 1011 died in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. 

AB 1657 (Wicks) The Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2024—authorizes a ten billion dollar bond to fund the state’s affordable housing programs. Press release. AB 1657 passed the Assembly and is being held in suspense in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Education

AB 2441 (Ash Kalra) School safety: mandatory notifications—decreases law enforcement involvement in student behavioral issues at school and provides educators the flexibility they need to respond appropriately to student behavior. Press release AB 2441 passed the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate.

SB 1338 (Smallwood Cuevas) would exempt Culver City Unified School District from fiscal penalties for failing to maintain the requisite number of instructional days due to the emergency closure of its schools from January 19, 2022, to January 21, 2022 due to COVID. SB 1338 died in Appropriations.

Economic Justice

SB 1116 (Portantino, Durazo) – Unemployment insurance: trade disputes: eligibility for benefits- would provide unemployment insurance benefits for striking workers. Press release. SB 1116 passed the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate.

Elections/Democracy

SB 1174 (David Min) Elections: voter identification—would prevent California cities from enacting voter identification requirements. Press release. SB 1174 passed by the Senate and will be heard in the Assembly.

SCA 1  (Newman) Elections: recall of state officers – would put recall election reform on the November ballot. Press Release. SCA 1 was passed by the Senate on and will be heard in the Assembly.