California legislators shelve dozens of bills
SACRAMENTO — State lawmakers won’t have to give up free Lakers tickets, Californians won’t be able to bet on Dodgers games and Olympic medalists will probably not get tax breaks, after legislators shelved dozens of bills Thursday.
Lawmakers also deep-sixed two proposals to regulate the controversial oil-extraction method known as fracking.
The casualties included a measure by Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) that would have prohibited groups lobbying the Legislature from providing lawmakers with free sports and concert tickets, spa treatments, golf games and other gifts.
The proposed gift ban, SB 1426, was held without discussion by a committee headed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake).
“The bill was popular with voters and unpopular with special interests,” said Phillip Ung, an advocate with the good-government group California Common Cause. “The result shows who won the battle.”
Gatto’s committee also shelved SB 1390 by Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), which would have eventually allowed Californians to bet on professional sporting events.
The Senate Appropriations Committee tabled a proposal to exempt Olympic medals and the honorariums that go with them from state income taxes. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) questioned the wisdom of handing out tax breaks “with all our other needs and all the budget cuts we made.”
Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) said afterward that he would try to get a rule waiver to resurrect his proposal, AB 1786.
The committee also shelved AB 972 by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey), which would have created a moratorium in California on fracking — injecting the ground with chemical-laced water — until regulators developed rules. And the panel held a bill by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) that would have required firms to disclose where they use the procedure and what chemicals they inject into the ground. That proposal was AB 591.
Thursday was the deadline for legislative finance committees to act on hundreds of bills still pending in the session that ends Aug. 31. About 30% of the measures were held in committee, many without discussion or votes.
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