Bills to revise Prop 47, mandate cop cams and drug test Uber drivers stall

May 29, 2015

The Assembly Appropriations Committee made the final call on which bills failed to advance yesterday, sounding a death knell (for this year at least) for several high-profile bills, including measures to drug test rideshare drivers, mandate police body cameras and create a new UC campus.  Jeremy White at the Sacramento Bee:


“Bills that would cost California at least $150,000 to implement, a list that includes most (but not all) high-profile proposals, first go on the fiscal committee’s suspense file as the chair and party leaders mull which bills they will allow to advance to floor votes. The results of this year’s culling were announced today.


“Among the bills blocked were Assembly Bill 11, a measure by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, that would have extended paid sick leave to home health care workers who were left out of last year’s landmark paid sick days bill. Before throwing his support behind last year’s measure, Gov. Jerry Brown drew a line on in-home supportive services workers who had already prevailed in a budget fight related to overtime hours.


“Also killed were two Republican measures responding to Proposition 47, which downgraded some drug and theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Assembly Bill 46 would have made possessing date rape drugs with intent to use them a felony, and Assembly Bill 150 would let voters make stealing a gun a felony (Proposition 47 says stolen goods must be worth at least $950 to bring a felony charge).”


And AP’s Fenit Nirappil has more on that failed Prop 47 fix and other stalled bills:


“Several of the bills that stalled Thursday attempted to counter voters' approval of Proposition 47 in November, which reduced a range of felony crimes to misdemeanors. Lawmakers of both parties have said the criminal sentencing measure has brought about unintended consequences.


“Two bills introduced by Republican lawmakers that would have restored some felony punishments were blocked Thursday.


AB150 by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, would have restored penalties for stealing firearms valued under $950. That provision was a central point of opposition to Proposition 47.


"’They just made it easier for a criminal to do harm to an innocent victim,’ said Melendez.


AB46 by Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, would have increased punishment for possessing date rape drugs. However, an identical bill, SB333 by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, advanced Thursday to a floor vote in the Senate.


“Law enforcement groups also wanted to continue collecting DNA samples from suspects convicted of crimes that used to be felonies until Proposition 47. The Assembly Appropriations Committee approved legislation allowing them to do so, but limited the DNA collections called for in AB309 by Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, to criminals who were previously convicted of other misdemeanor crimes including sexual assault and domestic violence.”


Meanwhile, SB 4, Sen. Ricardo Lara’s (D-Bell Gardens) move to extend health care to the undocumented, cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee and continues to move through the Senate.  Melanie Mason, LAT:


“The program, according to Lara's office, would offer the same coverage as Medi-Cal, but would not be an entitlement. The number of people who could sign up for the program would depend on the state budget and could vary from year to year.


“The bill also would extend Medi-Cal access to those under the age of 19. And higher-income people in the country illegally would be allowed to buy insurance through the state-run Covered California exchange, pending permission from the federal government.


“’Today’s vote represents a historic step forward on the path towards achieving health for all,’ said Lara in a statement. ‘The amendments reflect two things: what we can realistically achieve now, and what we hope to achieve in the near future. Ensuring that everyone in California is healthy is what’s right for our state.’


“Legislative analysts have not yet estimated a cost for the scaled-back plan, but it will likely be substantially lower than the bill's original price tag, which one report pegged as high as $740 million per year.”


Another Lara bill that kept walking is SB 482, which seeks to curtail ‘doctor shopping.’  Josh Richman at the Political Blotter:


“The state Senate voted 28-11 to approve SB 482 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, which would require California doctors to consult an already-existing state prescription database before prescribing addictive medicine to their patients. This was another part of Prop. 46, albeit less controversial than the medical malpractice segment. The bill now goes to the Assembly.


“It’s a win for Bob Pack, the Prop. 46 proponent and Danville resident whose two children were killed by a drunk and drugged driver on Oct. 26, 2003. The motorist who hit Troy and Alana Pack, 10 and 7, had consumed alcohol, Vicodin and muscle relaxants before getting behind the wheel; Jimena Barreto in the weeks before the crash had received six Vicodin prescriptions from six different Kaiser Permanente doctors, who had failed to check into the injuries for which she claimed she needed the pills. “


Senate Appropriations also passed SB 20, Fran Pavley’s (D-Agoura Hills) bill to make data on water wells publicBill Swindell, Santa Rosa Press Democrat:


“Despite opposition from agriculture groups, the state Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation Thursday that would make data on water wells available to the public like is done in all other Western states.


“The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, heads to the Senate floor, where it must pass before the end of next week to be eligible to be considered by the state Assembly this session.”


Over at Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden asks, ‘what happened to Southern California’s statewide political stars?


“The frontrunner for the U. S. Senate to replace Northern Californian Barbara Boxer is California Attorney General Kamala Harris, another Northern Californian. The man most often mentioned as the gubernatorial successor to Northern Californian Jerry Brown is the lieutenant governor, Northern Californian Gavin Newsom. He is being threatened by Steve Westly, another — you guessed it — Northern Californian.


“To be sure, we have Loretta Sanchez, a 19-year congresswoman from Orange County. She made an on-again, off-again on-again announcement that she was running against Harris. But Sanchez probably war-whooped her way into oblivion at the Democratic convention in Anaheim. She can still change her mind and seek another term in Congress.


“It isn’t as if Southern Californians have historically been absent from California’s political scene. Two statewide office holders, Treasurer John Chiang and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, are from Southern California, even if they are heavily outnumbered by fellow statewide officials from Northern California. And looking back, we have Richard Nixon, Jesse Unruh, Ronald Reagan, Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger — all Southern Californians. But Schwarzenegger left office in 2010, and there hasn’t been much since from Southern Californians on the statewide scene…”


And, after all the hubbub, (and +/- $10 million spent) Steve Glazer was seated as a California State Senator yesterday.  From Alexei Koseff, Sacramento Bee:


“After surviving a nasty intraparty special election last week, Sen. Steve Glazer was sworn in Thursday morning, giving the Senate a full house for the first time since December 2013.


“The Orinda Democrat, a longtime political strategist, brought along several powerful friends for the occasion, including Gov. Jerry Brown, his former boss, who performed the oath of office.


“Former Republican Congressman Bill Baker was also on hand, offering a few words of encouragement for the nervous Glazer before session began: ‘You’re made for this.’”


While that last story makes it tempting to award Steve Maviglio our Worst Week nod, the truth is that he’s probably already moved on and is picking a new fight, .


Congressman Ami Bera, however, has found himself squarely in the crosshairs of a high dollar, high profile campaign this week to make him regret his support for the “fast-track” trade legislation.


It started with a “Q-tip” protest (we’re betting that this is the first time that such a phrase was ever published) outside of his Sacramento office- with union protestors wielding giant Q-tips and calling for Bera to unplug his ears and listen to constituents whom they say don’t support his position on fast-track.


Well, not so good, but not that big a deal – and, thanks to Carpenters Local 46, aggressive union picketing doesn’t have quite the same feels anymore in Sacto.


But a vigorous ad campaign is a whole other ballgame.  As the battle in the House heats up, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. is poised to begin broadcasting a video spot in Bera’s district – the kind of breathy, black and white takedown usually reserved for Republicans, not moderate Dems. 


Given that Bera’s margin of victory was less than 1800 votes last year, this ain’t good news, and even those pro-Bera online ads you’ll probably see on the Bee’s political pages won’t do much to take out the sting.


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