Report of the Legislative Committee

Report of the Legislative Committee

With our club’s support, local leaders have won their elections and are at work in the state legislature authoring and advocating for progressive policy. As a club, we can and should give them our support.

The Legislative Committee of the Culver City Democratic Club—Cynthia Hart, Alex Fisch, Leah Pressman and Bubba Fish—have worked to research and select a slate of impactful legislation to recommend for the club’s endorsement. The committee conferred with activist leaders and groups, other local democratic clubs, and state elected officials to come up with our recommendations. 

It is not a short list, so please review the materials in the newsletter so you will be prepared to vote at our next club meeting.

There will be three packages of endorsements that we will bring to the club at the next meeting:

1) Bills the club has previously endorsed that are returning to the state legislature.

2) New bills.

3) New bills endorsed by Streets For All (excluding their second-year bills, which are in Package One).

Package One: Returning Bills

Several of the bills that the Committee presents are repeats of bills that the club had endorsed last year. They were not enacted then, but they are back with new bill numbers for another try. 

AB309 (Lee)—Social Housing—re-introduces AB2053 which would add social housing to the State’s toolkit to address the shortage of affordable homes for all income levels in California.

AB610 (Holden)—Free Youth Transit Pass Program—re-introduces last year’s AB1919 which would create a five-year Youth Transit Pass Pilot Program to provide grants to transit agencies to create or expand free fare transit programs for college and K-12 students.

ASM Chris Holden on AB 610 – Free Transit for Students

AB745 (Bryan)—Reentry Housing/Workforce Development Plan—re-introduces last year’s AB1816 which would create the Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program to provide grants for innovative or evidence-based housing, housing-based services, family reunification services, women services, and employment interventions to allow people with recent histories of incarceration to exit homelessness and remain stably housed. 

AB1690 (Kalra)—CalCare—re-introduces AB1400 which would establish the intent of the Legislature to guarantee accessible, affordable, equitable, and high-quality health care for all Californians through a comprehensive universal single-payer health care program that benefits every resident of the state (factsheet from the State, message for labor from advocates).

Ryan Skolnik of CNA/CALCARE on AB 1690 at the Santa Monica Democratic Club:

This year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is beyond terrifying. It is urgent that California take action to address climate collapse. The legislative committee recommends our club endorse the Climate Accountability Package, a group of three bills that both Igor Tregub and RL Miller (the current and former chairs of the CADEM Environmental Caucus who have both been guest speakers at our meetings) wholeheartedly endorse. It includes one new bill: SB261 (Stern) “Greenhouse gasses: climate-related financial risk,” and two which were supported by our club last year: SB253 (Wiener) “Climate Corporate Data Accountability” and SB252 (Gonzalez) “Public retirement systems: fossil fuels: divestment.”

SB253 requires all large corporations that do business in California to more fully disclose the greenhouse gasses emitted by their corporate supply chain. This will help the public, investors, and others be better informed about which corporations are serious about climate action and which are engaged in greenwashing.

SB252 will require the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to divest from investments in fossil fuel companies by 2023. California cannot lead on climate while also funding the fossil fuel corporations that are the leading cause of climate collapse. Divestment will also protect civil service benefits from the fallout of the end of the carbon economy. FACT SHEET 

Package 2: New Bills

AB93 (Bryan)—Criminal procedure: consensual searches—would prohibit police officers from asking for consent to search a person or their vehicle without an evidence-based legal justification. It would require that police have a warrant or probable cause in order to conduct a search. Limiting consent searches would help limit unjustifiable police interactions that lead to more intrusive stops of people of color and often escalate to unsafe, traumatic or even lethal encounters. A large study of how policing differs by race and ethnicity conducted by the California Attorney General’s office revealed gross disparities in consent searches and recommended that the law be changed. Racial profiling does not help solve crime. Consent searches of Black individuals are the least likely to result in the discovery of contraband compared to searches of other groups. Despite this, cops ask a far higher percentage of Black individuals to consent to a search compared to any other group. ACLU Cal Action (Co-Sponsor), CalBike (Co-Sponsor) FACT SHEET

Here is Isaac Bryan’s Chief of Staff speaking on this bill to the Santa Monica Democratic Club:

AB421 (Bryan)—Proposition Reform. It’s been clear for awhile that California’s referendum process has strayed far from its original purpose of providing a path for grassroots democracy to speak truth to power. With enough money for an army of signature gatherers who are paid per signature, just about anybody can qualify a referendum to overturn (or at least delay) just about any good piece of legislation our elected representatives can pass. The paid gatherers are anonymous, accountable to no one, and have every incentive to say just about anything to get a signature. Last year, Governor Newsom vetoed SB660, which would have ended the practice of paying gatherers per signature. His veto message consisted of some nonsense about it being more economical and hence more democratic to use paid-per-signature gatherers. This after he was subjected to a recall in a campaign that used paid signature gatherers. So the problem continued and there was nothing we could do about it. Until now. Now our AD55 Assembly Member Isaac Bryan has crafted AB421. AB421 would require that 10 percent of the signatures be gathered by unpaid volunteers. It would require that the paid gatherers register with the State, obtain an ID badge to be worn while gathering, and receive mandatory training. AB421 would also require that petition signers must initial a statement that they have viewed the list of the top three donors. Enough is enough. We ask all of you to say “yes” to Isaac’s package of reform.

AB793 (Bonta)—Privacy: Dragnet Digital Surveillance. This bill would protect the privacy of those who seek abortion care, gender-affirming care (or simply engage in First Amendment-protected activity) from a type of dragnet digital surveillance demand known variously as “reverse warrants”, “keyword warrants”, or “geofence warrants.” Such warrants can compel tech companies to search their records and reveal the identities of all people who have driven down a certain street or looked up a particular keyword online. This bill would prohibit a California person or entity from complying with such a demand. (Are you listening, Google?) The threat grows as more states enact anti-abortion and anti-trans legislation. Google alone has received thousands of these warrants from those states. Already, this type of warrant has been used to track the locations and identities of people protesting police violence. And no probable cause is required. Assembly Member Tina McKinnor, a club endorsee, is a co-author of AB793.

ASM Mia Bonta speaks about AB 793 – Prohibiting Reverse Warrants:

AB920 (Bryan)—Unhoused as a protected category—would make being an unhoused person a protected category under California’s anti-discrimination statute. In the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) survey of unhoused people, 70.4 percent of respondents complained that they faced discrimination solely based on their housing status. Across California, unhoused people are routinely victims of assault and harassment. ACLU California Action (Co-Sponsor) Disability Rights California (Co-Sponsor) Housing California (Co-Sponsor) Public Advocates (Co-Sponsor) Western Center on Law and Poverty (Co-Sponsor). FACT SHEET.

SB4 (Wiener)—Planning and zoning: housing development: higher education institutions and religious institutions. SB4 makes it easier for churches and non-profit universities to build housing if they so choose. Thanks to the previous council’s support for affordable housing, Culver City approved a project like this, Jubilo Village, that will bring nearly 100 affordable homes to people making between 30 percent and 80 percent of the area median income. Not every city welcomes affordable housing, even when proposed by a religious institution. All SB4-eligible homes would be required to be 100 percent affordable to low- and moderate-income households, with a restriction that no more than 20 percent can be targeted to moderate-income households earning up to 120 percent of area median income. The Los Angeles Times has endorsed SB4. FACT SHEET

Sen. Scott Weiner speaks about SB 4 “Yes in God’s Backyard:”

SB238 (Wiener) mandates an automatic referral to the state’s existing Independent Medical Review process every time a private insurance company denies a child mental health treatment. Leah Pressman adds: “This is very personal to me. In 15 years as a psychologist at the UCLA child and adolescent psychiatric hospital, I constantly witnessed children with life-threatening psychiatric issues denied coverage because insurance company nurses and doctors who never meet the patients and are often not trained in child psychology deemed it “’not medically necessary.’ This leads to gross inequities in treatment, even among insured families, at a time when we are seeing an explosion of need for child mental health care.” Read the full PRESS RELEASE

SB261 helps protect consumers from the massive potential financial losses associated with the climate crisis by requiring companies to disclose these risks.

SB466 (Wahab) would amend the statewide limitations on local power to enact rent control by allowing cities to regulate rents on projects more than 15 years old, instead of only projects completed before 1995. It would also allow local rent control ordinances to apply to single family homes and condominiums.

Sen Aisha Wahab on SB 466 (and SB 555)- Costa Hawkins Reform:

SB567 (Durazo) builds on the Tenant Protection Act (AB1482). The Bill expands protections from no-fault evictions, lowers the amount that rent may be increased to inflation or 5 percent, whichever is lower (like Culver City), makes statewide tenant protections applicable to single family homes, condos and mobile homes, and creates new enforcement mechanisms. Our own Senator Smallwood-Cuevas is a co-author. The LA Times recently highlighted it along with other proposed housing legislation.

ACA4 (Bryan) would allow voters the opportunity to extend the right to vote to incarcerated people. Expanding the franchise will more closely connect people in prison with society, potentially reducing recidivism. It will also ameliorate an injustice where districts with prisons, which are often more conservative, are allowed to count incarcerated people in their area for redistricting, even though incarcerated people cannot vote in that district. Our Assembly Member Isaac Bryan is the author. Capital and Main has covered ACA4 in some depth, and here is a short video of Bryan announcing the bill:

Here is Bryan’s Chief of Staff on the bill:

ACA8 (Wilson) California Abolition Act. We all learned in school that the Constitution prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude (so far, so good) “except to punish crime.” Yeah. About that. Jim Crow used that exception to re-enslave. Inmate labor is often compensated for as little as 8 cents an hour. Inmate fire fighters risk their lives for little pay, and a skilled plumber might receive eighty cents an hour. “How is that not a workers’ rights issue?” asks State Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, who is co-authoring ACA8. The California Abolition Act seeks to amend Article 1, Section 6 of the California Constitution to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude without exception.

Package 3: Streets For All

AB251 (Ward) Requires the state to study the impact of vehicle weight on pedestrian safety to inform possible policy decisions about registration fees. FACT SHEET

AB364 (Bryan) Collects data on street furniture across the state, such as bus shelters, trash cans, and benches. FACT SHEET 

AB413 (Lee) Increases the visibility of people crossing the street by preventing cars from parking immediately before the crosswalk. FACT SHEET

AB645 (Friedman) Creates a speed safety cameras pilot program to slow down drivers on high-injury streets and areas with a history of street racing. FACT SHEETEQUITY FACT SHEET FROM LAST YEAR

AB819 (Bryan) Decriminalizes fare evasion, removing the threat of a misdemeanor and jail time for not paying a few dollars for bus or transit. FACT SHEET

AB825 (Bryan) Legalizes biking on the sidewalk in areas without safe bicycle infrastructure, so you don’t have to choose between riding your bike on dangerous streets or breaking the law. FACT SHEETLA Times ArticleBubba on Instagram

AB1317 (Carillo) Separates parking costs from rent, making sure people who don’t need a parking spot aren’t paying for one. FACT SHEET

SB411 (Portantino) Requires a virtual option for public meetings of Los Angeles agencies. FACT SHEET

SB538 (Portantino) Establishes a Bicycle Czar. FACT SHEET

SB695 (Gonzalez) Requires Caltrans to report annual data on state highway widening projects, including miles built, dollars spent, vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gasses emitted.  FACT SHEET

SB712 (Portantino) Prevents Landlords from prohibiting e-bikes.