End of Session Update 9.15.17

End of Session Update

Political Solutions

Friday September 15 marked the last day of the 2017 California legislative session, with session adjourning after 2 am early Saturday morning. The Legislature dispensed with hundreds of bills this week, sending a flurry of legislation to the Governor’s desk regulating everything from a “nonbinary” gender option for drivers licenses, to parental leave, to equal pay for men and women.

Some of the high profile issues include the following:

Housing

The Assembly approved a bundle of bills to address the state’s housing crisis late Thursday night. The final decision on the package was made Friday in the Senate, which had previously approved prior versions of the measures in the package. The foremost bills in the package will do the following: Place a $4 billion bond on the 2018 ballot; let developers circumvent some local development regulations when building affordable apartment complexes; and establish a $75 fee on real estate transaction documents (this fee is estimated to create $200 million to $300 million per year for local and state government. Governor Brown has already indicated that he will support the package.

Environment

The California legislature has passed numerous environmental protections this year, but a measure designed to wean the state’s power grid completely off of fossil fuels by 2045 fumbled Thursday evening as utilities opposed it. SB 100 (de Leon) would have amended the existing California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program, which necessitates utilities to hit a 50 %renewable energy target by 2030. Under SB 100, utilities would toil “to achieve that 50% renewable resources target by December 31, 2026, and to achieve a 60% target by December 31, 2030,” to ultimately reach a 100 percent greenhouse-gas-free energy goal by December 31, 2045. There were rumors that the bill might be revived but it has been tabled until next year.

Sanctuary State

Early Saturday, the Legislature passed SB 54 (de Leon) which will make California a sanctuary state, restricting the extent to which local law enforcement agencies are permitted to cooperate with federal immigration agents. However, recent amendments to the bill will allow local law enforcement officers to hold people convicted of serious and violent felonies, misdemeanors punishable as a felony, felony drunk driving, and felony drug crimes. Per Senate President Pro Tempore de León, the bill will help to guarantee local law enforcement agencies are not acting as de-facto immigration agents.

Drug Pricing

The legislature also passed SB 17 (Hernandez) aimed to create greater transparency around prescription drug pricing. The bill will require pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide advance notice and more meticulous explanations for raising the cost of a drug.

Governor Brown has until October 15th to sign or veto bills passed by the legislature and in his possession. Bills signed by the Governor will become law on January 1, 2018. Urgency, tax and budget-related measures go into effect immediately upon signature. During the interim, legislators will be back in the district until the legislature reconvenes on January 3rd, 2018. We anticipate Fall informational hearings on single payer health care, among other issues.

November 6, 2018 Election: Initiatives

To date, 34 initiatives have been filed with the Attorney General’s office. Initiatives generating considerable interest include:

  • Three initiative versions to protect Proposition 13 submitted by the California Association of Realtors. The most expansive one would allow a CA homeowner to sell a house and apply a portion of its existing property tax rate (capped under Prop 13) to a new home.
  • The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which would allow a  customer to request what personal information you have collected, how you are using the information, and direct you to not use the information.
  • Three “Calexit” initiatives seeking to seize California away from the rest of the country, with one by way of the U.S. Constitution.
  • A ban on abortion without exception; those who deliberately abort a baby would face first-degree murder charges. The measure also seeks to expand the definition of abortion to include various forms of birth control, medical research, and in vitro fertilization.

Submitted proposed initiatives can be accessed here: https://oag.ca.gov/initiatives/active-measures. The timeline for the initiative process is as follows:

  • October 26, 2017 – Attorney General prepares and issues the circulating title and summary; proponent(s) may begin circulation of the petition.
  • April 24, 2018 – Last day for proponent(s) to file the petition with county elections officials.
  • May 4, 2018 – Last day for county elections officials to complete raw count totals and certify raw numbers to the Secretary of State.
  • May 11, 2018 – Last day for SOS to receive raw count totals from each county elections official, determine whether the initiative petition meets the minimum signature requirement, generate the random sample, and notify each county elections official of the results.
  • June 25, 2018 – Last day for county elections officials to verify and certify results of the random sampling of signatures to the Secretary of State.
  • June 28, 2018 (E-131) – Last day for SOS to determine whether the SOS will be able to certify that the measure qualifies for the ballot or 100% signature verification is necessary. At this point, if a 100% signature verification is necessary, the measure would not qualify for theNovember 6, 2018, General Election ballot

AD 51 Special Election

Reminder: The special election to fill former Assemblyman and now Congressman Jimmy Gomez’s seat representing California’s 51st Assembly District will be held on December 5, with the primary taking place on October 3. The race for the seat representing the L.A. district that has nearly 500,000 constituents, spanning from Echo Park to East Los Angeles, is packed with candidates. Candidates include:

  • Andrew S.Aguero-construction worker and student (Libertarian)
  • Ron Birnbaum-physician (Democrat)
  • Wendy Carrillo-journalist/community advocate who ran against Gomez to replace Becerra (Democrat)
  • Alex DeOcampo-charitable foundation adviser (Democrat)
  • Mike Fong-Los Angeles Community College district board member and Director of Policy and Government Relations for the City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (Democrat)
  • PatrickKoppula-self-described government innovator (No Party Preference)
  • LuisLópez– nonprofit healthcare director (Democrat)
  • Mario Olmos(Democrat)
  • JohnPrysner-warehouse operations coordinator (Peace and Freedom)
  • Gabriel Sandoval– civil rights and education law attorney (Democrat)
  • Barbara Torres-union member advocate (Democrat)
  • Mark Vargas– environmental and education commissioner (Democrat)
  • David Vela– East Los Angeles College professor and Senior Vice President at Lee Andrews Group (Democrat)