Sacramento Report: The Bills We’ll Be Watching as the Legislature Reconvenes - Voice of San Diego

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Sacramento Report: The Bills We’ll Be Watching as the Legislature Reconvenes

What’s left to decide when the Legislature gets back to work on Monday? Well, a lot. These are the measures from San Diego lawmakers we’ll be keeping a close eye on.

The California Capitol building / Image via Shutterstock

Lawmakers are headed back to Sacramento on Monday to get back to work on the bills that are still alive this session.

Some of the most-watched measures of the year have already been decided: SB 50, the measure to greenlight more homes near transit, has been put on hold. Ditto a bill that would have dramatically curtailed short-term vacation rentals in San Diego. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s bill to change the standards guiding police use of deadly force, meanwhile, has already passed and is awaiting a decision from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

So what’s left to decide? Well, a lot. These are the measures from San Diego lawmakers we’ll be keeping a close eye on.

SB 1

For all of Sen. Toni Atkins’ power, she is not carrying much in the way of high-profile legislation this session. She is now the author of SB 1, which would give the state power to adopt state environmental and labor standards in the event they’re weakened at the federal level by the Trump administration. A previous version of the bill was written by then-Sen. Kevin de Leon.

SB 276

SB 276 isn’t written by a San Diego legislator (though Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is a principal co-author), but it was inspired in part based on VOSD’s investigation that revealed a single doctor is responsible for doling out nearly a third of all medical vaccine exemptions in the San Diego Unified School District. The measure is meant to crack down on illegitimate medical exemptions to vaccine mandates.

The bill, as anything involving vaccines tends to do, has drawn enormous controversy, and has been amended to create a state monitoring system for vaccine exemptions but would no longer take the power to grant them out of doctors’ hands.

AB 5

With SB 50 on ice and AB 392, the measure to curb police use of deadly force, already on the governor’s desk, AB 5 is arguably the most high-profile bill still yet to be decided.

Gonzalez’s measure continued to provoke protests, think pieces and tweetstorms during the August recess.

The measure would limit the instances in which businesses can classify workers as independent contractors. Gonzalez has spent months working on compromises over which types of workers would get exemptions – everyone from truck drivers to hairstylists to freelance journalists have raised concerns.

AB 197

Weber’s bill requires every school within a school district or charter school to implement at least one full-day kindergarten program.

The latest bill analysis notes the potential extraordinary cost of carrying this out – costs in “the tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars.”

AB 372

Assemblyman Randy Voepel’s bill would create a pilot program to allow state workers to bring their infants to work.

AB 893

Since Assemblyman Todd Gloria first introduced this bill – which would ban gun sales at the Del Mar Fairgrounds – a lot has happened.

In June, a federal judge allowed gun shows at the fairgrounds to resume. In July, the Crossroads of the West Gun Show announced it was returning to the venue on Sept. 28-29.

AB 1413

AB 1413 by Gloria would let transit agencies across the state propose new taxes for a specific portion of the areas they cover, cleaving off tax-averse areas from both paying the tax and voting to approve it.

It singles out the San Diego County Regional Transportation Commission, the San Diego Association of Governments, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the North County Transit District and specifies that it “would authorize each of those agencies to impose a transactions and use tax applicable to only a portion of each agency’s territory.”

AB 1747

This bill, written by Gonzalez, restricts California law enforcement agencies from making the information in their databases available to any person or entity for the purposes of immigration enforcement, except under narrow, specified circumstances.

A Voice of San Diego investigation found that in several local arrests by immigration authorities, agents had copies of immigrants’ driver’s licenses or other information they provided to the DMV.

Newsom Touts Health Care Investment

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at 2-1-1 San Diego / Photo by Megan Wood

Newsom visited San Diego Friday to discuss a $1 billion investment in health insurance subsidies over three years to help low- and middle-income Californians.

The budget provides support for the first time to individuals earning up to $72,840 and for families of four earning up to $150,600. Previously, individuals earning more than $48,000 a year or a family of four earning more than $98,000 did not qualify.

“No state in the country is doing what California is doing on health care,” Newsom said. “That expansion into the middle class is a big deal.”

Newsom was joined by Atkins and Gloria at 2-1-1, a nonprofit that connects San Diego residents with health care and other services.

“We heard you, and we responded,” Atkins said about more than $450 million in support budgeted this fiscal year.

Gloria said $98 million starting in January would go toward the expansion of Medi-Cal to young adults ages 19 to 25, regardless of immigration status. That would give coverage to 90,000 additional Californians, he said.

Atkins introduced a bill in 2017 that would have created a publicly funded universal health care program. But the bill came with a steep price tag — as much as $400 billion — and no clear funding source. It never made it to the governor’s desk.

Megan Wood

Golden State News

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