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It’s a quiet period in Sacramento, but there are some clues out there as to what lawmakers will be focused on next year.
We’re in that lull period for Sacramento in which the bills have all been signed or vetoed for the year, and lawmakers are more focused on local turkey giveaways (So. Many. Turkey. Giveaways.) than unveiling new measures they plan to push next year.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t clues out there as to what next year will bring.
We already know, for example, that Assemblywoman Shirley Weber plans to tackle reforms to the Local Control Funding Formula, the system for doling out state funds to public schools. The system has long lacked transparency and accountability, something a state audit drove home last week.
This week, Los Angeles attorney Vicki Shapiro wrote a blog post that was picked up by other pundits, lamenting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of AB 773, a bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that would have required public high schools to provide students the change to register or pre-register to vote, along with information about the voting process. Shapiro disputes the governor’s reasoning that youth turnout is increasing, and argues the measure would have massively increased youth registration and turnout.
In response, Gonzalez wrote on Twitter that she plans to re-introduce the bill next session.
Her chief of staff said it’s still too early to tell whether she plans to re-introduce other bills next session. A spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins similarly told me, “No decisions have been made on any legislation for next year.”
Assemblyman Brian Maiencschein hasn’t finalized his bill package for next year, but he’ll continue to focus on three big areas he’s written bills on in the past: homelessness, mental health and animal protection, his spokesman Lance Witmondt said.
Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, the Republican caucus leader, doesn’t have specific legislation nailed down yet but plans to focus on fire/homeowner’s insurance, health care access and coverage and mental health and substance use disorders, said spokesman Jim Stanley. Waldron also still plans to move forward with a bill to require SANDAG to hold a number of public meetings before making substantial changes to the allocation of TransNet funding, Stanley said.
Then there are the bills that were introduced last session but were put on two-year tracks to give them more time to nail down details and build support.
AB 1731 by Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath would sharply limit short-term rental use in many San Diego County neighborhoods.
In September, Boerner Horvath told VOSD that the bill had support and was on track to pass, but she wanted more time to iron out nuances, including how to restrict commercial actors that buy homes and rent them out as a business, without hamstringing people who own second homes and want to rent them out some of the time. (A spokesman for Boerner Horvath didn’t have any details to share about legislation for next year but said the assemblywoman would continue to focus on housing, gender equity and sustainability.)
AB 210 by Assemblyman Randy Voepel would exempt all motor vehicles manufactured prior to the 1983 year model from having to obtain a smog check. It was put on a two-year track shortly after being introduced.
Speaking of two-year bills, the marquee measure from the last few years, the bill most recently known as SB 50, will be back once again. Sen. Scott Wiener, the bill’s author, told us at Politifest recently that he’s been in close contact with Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins about the measure: “The bill is still alive and I think the bill is still alive because of Toni Atkins. I give her a lot of credit. She’s always been really collaborative with us on many housing issues.”
There’s something else we know about what certain lawmakers will be up to next year.
Three members of San Diego’s state delegation are running for other offices in 2020: Sen. Ben Hueso is running for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Assemblyman Todd Gloria is running for mayor of San Diego and Sen. Brian Jones is running for Congress in the 50th District.
This week, Voice of San Diego unveiled the results of an eight-month investigative project in collaboration with other newsrooms across the state, led by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley and the San Jose Mercury News.
The collaboration found that hundreds of police officers across California have been convicted of crimes, and that state law allows police officers with restraining orders or certain domestic violence convictions to continue carrying guns.
State Sen. John Moorlach told the Investigative Reporting Program and Mercury News that he’d support reforms, including decertifying officers convicted of a crime. California is one of only five states that doesn’t decertify officers.
SB 826, the 2018 law that requires publicly held corporations headquartered in California to include at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019, is being challenged again – this time in federal court.
Conservative groups are behind both challenges. The latest one was filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation, reports the Sacramento Bee.
Earlier this year, the group Judicial Watch filed a challenge to the law in state court, arguing it’s unconstitutional. The challenge calls the law “deeply patronizing” and “blatantly unconstitutional.”
Gov. Jerry Brown expressed worry in his signing message that the bill, co-written by Atkins, would invite legal challenges. He signed it anyway.
Earlier this year, a VOSD review found that more than 20 San Diego-based companies had not yet complied with the law’s requirements.