Policy News

The California Suspense Files

 
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It was pass-or-perish for hundreds of bills whose fates were revealed, auctioneer-style, in Appropriations Committee suspense file hearings this past Thursday. Some high-profile measures advanced to the floor and some were left to wither on the shelf; here’s a sampling of the legislation we’re keeping an eye on:

 

THE ENVIRONMENT:


Environmentalists and labor are on opposite sides of a bill to keep oil exploration away from schools and homes, with unions concerned about economic pain allying with environmental nemeses like oil companies. The struggle over Cadiz Inc.’s Mojave Desert water project continues with a measure to impose more environmental reviews — backed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein — framed as repudiating the Trump administration pushing the project forward.

TAXES AND FEES:


Democrats have plenty of ideas for raising revenue, as Republicans are happy to point out: up tomorrow are bills to tax gun sales, to indefinitely extend and double a battery manufacturer fee, and to increase a tire recycling fee. Also on the suspense file are constitutional amendments that would reduce the vote thresh holds for school parcel taxes and local bonds.

HEALTH CARE:


Topping this list are measures to extend Medi-Cal to all undocumented adults, a more expansive (and expensive) push than Gov. Gavin Newsom advocates. We’re also tracking the sole surviving bills in a doctors-and-dentists-backed package targeting soda companies, which would mandate health warnings and prohibit some distribution discounts, and legislation banning flavored tobacco.

HOUSING:


We’ll be watching to see if the major housing-density-increase measure, CA SB50 (19R), proceeds to the Senate floor after compromises pushed it through policy committees (including a rival senator pushing for an affordable housing fund that’s also up tomorrow).

EDUCATION:


It’s all about the charter schools. Labor-backed bills would tighten the approval and renewal process, cap the number of charters that can operate statewide and freeze new charters unless other charter-restricting policies pass.

TECH:


Attorney General Xavier Becerra wants consumers to be able to sue companies that violate California’s incoming data privacy law; tech firms and the business lobby are adamantly opposed to a Becerra-backed bill enabling such lawsuits.

AND ALSO:


Bills to let bars stay open later, to ban fur, to let state workers bring their babies to the office and to crack down on high-interest loans.

 

To get information and analysis surrounding Thursday’s legislative results, learn more about POLITICO California Pro here.
 

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