California Suspense: Legislators Quietly Shelve 220 Controversial or Costly Bills 

 May 13, 2022

Flags over the State Capitol
Flags over the California Capitol in Sacramento. Courtesy of Senator Toni Atkins’s Office

California lawmakers will not create a state holiday for Election Day this year. Nor will they provide grants to local governments to turn public golf courses into affordable housing or force health insurers to cover fertility treatments.

All of these proposals have been victims of the seasonal elimination of accounts known as the suspension dossier. This manorial and secret processLed by the Senate and Assembly Credit Committees, it serves as the final budget review before any legislation that is expected to have significant costs to the state is sent to the full House for a vote.

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In a swift and furious hearing on Thursday that lasted two hours, the committees considered the fate of nearly 1,000 bills, giving no explanation for their decisions and, in many cases, no official announcement that a measure had been taken.

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The Resultshad already been done identified in private consultation. The pending case, among the most opaque practices in the Capitol, allows legislative leaders not only to reject proposals that are too expensive, but also to send more quietly what is controversial or politically inconvenient, especially in an election year.

About 220 bills remained on the shelf. The completed accounts – more than 700 of them – now face another deadline next week to leave their home. If they succeed, they will be moved to the other room for further examination.

Here are some of the highlights of this session:

Election day holiday

Five times, Campbell Democrat Evan Low has tried to create a state holiday for the November election by closing schools and allowing civil servants to vote. And five times the bill has been voted on the Assembly’s suspension file, including this year.

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Bill of the Assembly of 1872 was slightly different from several of its predecessors in that it would have exchanged Presidential Day for Election Day for even years, instead of just adding another day off, thus reducing its cost. But with every voter in California posting a ballot in every election, the urgency for such a plan has diminished significantly.

A separate measure to create a state holiday for June, Bill of the Assembly 1655 by Congressman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat from Los Angeles, however, went to the floor.

Cheap house

If one strong interest group oscillates quite loudly in an account, they can just kill it. This happened when almost 80 local, regional and national golf clubs, as well as several organizations in favor of local control over housing development, united against Assembly member Cristina Garcia. Bill of the Assembly of 1910.

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The measure targeted the state’s hundreds of municipal golf courses, many of which operate at significant financial losses, as privileged locations to help the state escape homelessness. It would have offered grants to local governments to convert their golf courses into housing, at least a quarter of which should be accessible to low-income families. The result was not too surprising: everyone wants affordable housing, until they are threatened with coming to their backyard – or the local golf course.

Fertility treatment

Encouraging Buffy Wicks Assembly member to demand from health insurers covers fertility treatmentincluding costly IVF, declined for the third time in four years.

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Unlike the other 17 states, California does not require health insurers to pay for fertility treatments. An in vitro round and accompanying medication can cost over $ 20,000, preventing some people from having children and leaving others in huge debt.

Assembly bill 2029 from Wicks, a Democrat in Auckland, opposed health insurance plans and other business groups, which noted the high price: about $ 715 million to be paid by employers and health insurers largely in the form of increased premiums.

Salary transparency

Bill of the Assembly 2095 by MP Ash Kalra, a Democrat from San Jose, was a first bill in the country This would require large companies to report a wide range of data on their workforce, including how much they are paid and the benefits they receive. The state could have used this information to provide the public with insightful measurements of how companies treat their employees and to give high-performance executives certain benefits, such as tax breaks.

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However, the bill was strongly opposed by business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, which listed the bill as a “job killer” – a collection of measures against which it exerts the most aggressive pressure each year. The Chamber argued that the data would create unfair comparisons between companies or would be out of context.

Lawmakers promoted another proposal for transparency in the workplace in the “job killer” list: Senate Bill 1162 by Senator Monique Limón of the Democratic Republic of Santa Barbara, which would require companies to disclose certain payroll information, including payroll scores, was approved with a number of amendments, including one that excluded companies with 15 or fewer employees.

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Pay the Community College Professor

The part-time community college schools are having a tricky time in Sacramento. A pending $ 200 million health care fund defended has the support of the governor. But a bill to match the salaries of community part-time schools with full-time teachers for similar job levels has died on the back burner.

Assembly bill 1752 by Miguel Santiago, A Los Angeles Democrat, would have increased the cost of community college by about hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The fact that the costs are so high speaks volumes about the huge pay gap between part-time teachers – who are usually only paid for the hours they teach, but not for other related tasks such as course planning and grading – and full-time paid colleagues. their.

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The majority of community college members are part-time, earning an average of $ 20,000 a year. The unions backed the bill, and the organization, which represents community colleges, opposed it, saying it was already difficult for staff to meet their responsibilities. era of declining student enrollment.

“Teachers are deeply disappointed,” said Claudia Briggs, a spokeswoman for the California Teachers’ Association, in a text message. “AB 1752 was right for part-time students and teachers in a year when the state budget has the resources.”

Oil consumption and drilling

Bill of the Assembly 2816 by Congressman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, aimed to boost California’s signature program to persuade drivers to swap their throttles with electric cars. The measure would have instructed the California Air Resources Council to restructure discounts on zero-emission vehicle purchases so that consumers receive more money to give up cars that run on more gasoline. But the proposal failed to garner widespread support among environmental groups.

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The fossil fuel industry and the trade unions that represent its workers have once again turned their significant power to the Capitol, helping to kill them. Senate Bill 953 by Sen. Dave Min, Democratic Costa Mesa. After a massive oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach last fall, Min had tried to shut down the remaining three offshore platforms in state waters, urging California to negotiate a shutdown for the next two years.

As Democratic leaders look to the gradual abolition of oil and gas production in the state in the coming decades, they are reluctant to take even modest steps to cut drilling more directly. Min’s account was further submitted due to concerns about possible financial obligations to taxpayers in the event that the state takes ownership of the podiums.

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CalMatters is a public interest journalism project committed to explaining how the California State Capitol works and why it matters.

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