Ambitious legislation on clean energy and regional electricity cooperation won't advance until next year, said Assemblyman Chris Holden, a key committee chairman.
"Every piece of legislation needs work," he said in an interview on Wednesday.
Holden (D-Pasadena) is directly involved in two controversial energy measures. He authored legislation, Assembly Bill 762, that contains a proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown to lay the groundwork for a regional electricity grid. A separate proposal, Senate Bill 100 from Senate leader Kevin de León, for phasing out fossil fuels for electricity is currently pending in the utilities and energy committee that Holden chairs.
A proposal to expand the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has failed to muster the required two-thirds vote to pass the Legislature, but its author was granted a chance to seek another vote later this week.
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) proposed expanding the board from five to seven members and creating a new, elected chief executive officer to allow for more diverse representation.
He introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 12, which would have put the expansion on the statewide ballot next year.
With less than three days left before state lawmakers adjourn for the year, supporters of legislation to address California’s housing affordability crisis still lack the votes to pass a key bill.
Senate Bill 2 from Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would charge a $75 fee on mortgage refinances and other real estate transactions aside from home and commercial property sales. The bill would raise an estimated $250 million a year to help finance low-income housing developments. It requires a two-thirds supermajority vote in both houses of the Legislature to pass.
Assuming no Republicans back the measure, every Democrat has to vote yes. And multiple Democrats in the Assembly who could potentially face tough reelection battles next year remain wary.
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders may have reached a deal on spending $1.5 billion in cap-and-trade revenue, but some Democrats still have concerns.
Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) wondered during a budget hearing on Wednesday how much of the appropriations "were designed to meet certain expectations" of different interest groups and lawmakers who supported extending the cap-and-trade program earlier this year. The program requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions, and the revenue is supposed to be spent on initiatives that further reduce emissions.
"There are a lot of Christmas trees out there," Jackson said. "Everybody wants to pluck a bit of the ornaments, but my concern overall is the whole accountability issue. As you identify these projects, are there certain expectations that you think that they are going to accomplish, because I haven’t seen them."
A controversial proposal to allow certain California counties and cities to establish sites where people could inject drugs without legal consequences stumbled in the state Senate on Tuesday night.
The measure, by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would establish a first-in-the-nation program in which users of heroin and other intravenous drugs could inject in settings with clean needles and under the supervision of trained staff. The goal: to stave off overdoses in an era in which heroin use is on the rise.
San Francisco is already in discussions to develop an injection center, which is modeled after a site in Vancouver, Canada. State Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat who represents San Francisco, said the proposal "gets to the core of who we are as a society in terms of how we respond to that public health crisis."
A state Senate bill headed to Gov. Jerry Brown would reduce sentence enhancements for some low-level, nonviolent drug offenses, part of a push by Democratic legislators to help young people facing charges or doing time in California.
Under current state law, a person convicted for sale or possession for sale of a small amount of drugs can face a sentence of three to five years behind bars, plus an additional three years in jail for each prior conviction for similar drug offenses.
The legislation, by Sens. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would repeal the three-year sentence terms for each prior conviction. It moved out of the state Assembly on Tuesday with a 41-25 vote.