As the legislative season winds down, it heats up. The session officially ends a week from Friday, but both Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) have said they will shut their houses after Sept. 11, in advance of religious holidays, leaving only a week to pass or defeat hundreds of bills.
Because the Democrats are in charge, they take the best bills for themselves. Here are some measures that ought to be no-brainers to pass and to sign:
AB 1471, by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), to require semiautomatic pistols made in California starting in 2010 to microscopically mark cartridges as the weapon is fired so police can use the shells to find the gun that did the shooting. This is a smart crime-fighting bill that the Senate should pass and the governor should sign. The firearms industry is trying to undermine it with a campaign of misinformation that citesweapons not mentioned in this bill and critiques versions of the proposal no longer on the table. Lawmakers, and the governor, should have no trouble seeing through the smokescreen.
AB 70, by Assemblyman Dave Jones (D-Sacramento), to impose joint liability on local governments for flood damage when governments unreasonably permit development on flood plains. If cities and counties near the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta or other areas prone to flooding encourage irresponsible building, they should pay their share of the consequences and not force the rest of the state to carry the entire burden.
AB 779, by Jones, to require businesses to protect customer credit card data. Enough said.
AB 706, by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), to modify a law that requires upholstery to include flame-retardant chemicals. The problem is that the chemicals are toxic; the bill would change standards to bar use of those substances. This cost-neutral bill should be easy to pass, but it's stuck in the Senate Appropriations Committee. It's technically too late to move it to the floor, but the proposal is important enough for a rule waiver or one of the other maneuvers that lawmakers use all the time.
AB 1470, by Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), to impose a surcharge on gas bills to subsidize solar water heaters. This one is good for the planet but, like other important bills, may also have run aground in committee.
SB 219, by Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), to include dropout rates when calculating a school's Academic Performance Index. Another Steinberg education bill merits swift approval: SB 406 requires review of a student's academic record before a work permit is granted.