A bill that would have required law enforcement agencies in California to disclose all of their surveillance equipment to the public stalled on Friday in the state Assembly Appropriations Committee amid its high costs.
Under the legislation by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), police and sheriff's departments would have had to submit a plan to local officials — and present it at an open hearing — on what surveillance technology they employ and how, including facial recognition software, drones and social media monitors.
If a law enforcement agency had not adopted a policy by a July 2018 deadline, it would have had to stop its use of the technology within 30 days.
A bill that would have ended lifetime listing of many convicted sex offenders on a public registry was shelved Friday after officials said it could cost tens of millions of dollars to make the change.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey had proposed that the names of those who committed lower-level, nonviolent sex crimes or who are judged to be low risks to reoffend be removed from the registry after 10 or 20 years.
State finance officials said in a report the bill would involve “significant ongoing cost in the tens of millions of dollars" for technology costs.
About 100 people gathered in Sacramento on Friday to offer ideas and concerns about new regulations that have overhauled California's parole system, an effort that will allow thousands more inmates to be considered for early release.
The group gathered outside a meeting where corrections officials were to hear public feedback, the first such meeting since state regulators gave the guidelines initial approval in April. The event drew criminal justice reform advocates, crime victim and public safety officials from across the state.
The regulations are being used to implement Proposition 57, last fall's sweeping effort to provide new ways for inmates to earn time credits toward their sentences for good behavior and for enrolling in certain career, rehabilitation and education programs.
Lawmakers rejected a proposal on Friday to allow many California bars to extend hours of operation until 4 a.m., a bill that would have marked the first expansion of the hours of sale for alcohol since 1935.
Instead, the bill was revised to create a task force for studying the issue of keeping bars open beyond 2 a.m., with a report due back to the Legislature by the end of 2019.
Senate Bill 384 had garnered widespread attention, with supporters saying it would have simply given local communities the option to extend operating hours. Backers also cited that bars and restaurants outside of California are allowed to sell beer, wine and hard liquor after 2 a.m., putting some cities at an economic disadvantage.
California lawmakers advanced legislation on Friday to phase out fossil fuels for generating electricity.
The measure, SB 100 from Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If passed by the full Assembly in the coming weeks, it can be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
The legislation would accelerate the state's adoption of renewable energy, requiring utilities and other electricity providers to obtain 60% of their power from sources like the sun and the wind by 2030. Then it would task regulators with ensuring the final 40% doesn't come from fossil fuels by 2045.
At a time when the Democratic base is more restive than it has been in decades, Sen. Dianne Feinstein ignited a firestorm earlier this week when she refused to back an impeachment push and instead called for “patience” with President Trump.
The statements — provocative in Democratic circles, near-heretical in her hometown of San Francisco, where she made them — reflected a moderation and pragmatism that have hallmarks of Feinstein’s career.
But because of the state’s shifting demographics and political leanings, these qualities, after proving politically advantageous for decades, could become an albatross as the 84-year-old decides whether to seek a sixth term.
On Friday, lawmakers make final decisions about which of the year's most costly bills will get a full vote in both houses, with clearing of the "suspense file" in appropriations committees of both houses — lists that include 472 pieces of legislation.
The bills were all placed in what amounts to legislative limbo because they would spend $150,000 or more of taxpayer funds in the coming fiscal year. But the holding pattern for the bills is also a reflection of the desire for political horse-trading in the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session, as majority Democrats weigh which proposals are most important and which ones can wait.
The clearing of the "suspense file" in the state Senate and Assembly appropriations committees is also one of the more opaque parts of the legislative process. Unlike traditional committee hearings in which members cast a public vote, the Senate and Assembly bills dealt with on Friday will be moved or killed on broad party-line actions. The chairperson in each committee will not announce individual votes, allowing lawmakers to avoid scrutiny for either approving or killing the bills in question.