California lawmakers crafting state wildfire prevention policy clashed late Monday night over key details in a lengthy proposal, deep disagreements that threaten to stymie action in the Legislature for 2018.
Much of the discussion during the joint conference committee hearing focused on what has consistently been the sticking point for both lawmakers and stakeholders: how much to ease the financial impact to the state’s electric utilities for fires involving their equipment. Some continued to suggest that investor-owned utility companies could be at risk of bankruptcy if no action is taken.
“The conversation up here has to be focused on making sure that event doesn’t happen,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), a co-chairman of the committee.
A controversial proposal to allow state legislative leaders to accept bigger campaign checks for their favored candidates was sidelined by lawmakers for the year on Monday after it failed to garner sufficient support in the state Senate.
The measure by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) would have allowed Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate and Assembly to form caucus committees to accept campaign contributions of up to $36,000 from individual sources for state races.
Legislators are now limited to accepting contributions of no more than $4,400 from each source. Mullin’s bill would have also required monthly disclosure of campaign contributions.
San Francisco would be able to establish hygienic sites for people to use injectable drugs while supervised by healthcare workers under a bill approved Monday by the Legislature.
The measure, Assembly Bill 186 by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would let San Francisco pilot a “safe injection site” program, which would include access to sterilized needles and referrals to drug treatment programs.
Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) said San Francisco Mayor London Breed has offered to make the city a “guinea pig” for the program.
California lawmakers on Monday approved a trio of bills that would reduce the number of people with access to firearms, including lifetime bans on owning guns for people convicted of domestic violence and individuals placed on involuntary psychiatric holds twice in a year by the courts.
The three bills now head to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration.
Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) proposed a lifetime gun ban on those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, which extends the current 10-year prohibition in state law.
California lawmakers on Monday made another attempt to blunt Trump administration policies by passing a bill aimed at combating housing segregation.
Assembly Bill 686 by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) would put into state law Obama-era rules requiring local governments to advance policies to desegregate housing in their communities. This month, Ben Carson, Trump’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, announced he was moving forward with plans to roll back rules requiring cities and counties to flight patterns of housing segregation.
“We wanted to make sure that fair housing still exists in California even though it’s been threatened by the Trump administration and Congress,” Santiago said.
When federal regulators voted late last year to roll back net neutrality protections, state Democratic leaders pledged to wage a fight with the Trump administration to preserve fair and open access to the internet in California.
The FBI and Capitol Police want to talk with Rep. Maxine Waters’ 2018 Republican opponent about a fake letter he posted to Twitter that falsely indicated the congresswoman wants to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in her Los Angeles district.
Environmentalists are mounting a last-minute bid in the final week of the California legislative session to revive a stalled effort to require more review for a project to pump more groundwater from the Mojave Desert.
A 2017 measure by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) that sought to impede the project has languished in a state Senate committee. Now, the effort has a new shot at life through an 11th-hour bill by state Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside).
A federal judge on Monday issued a preliminary injunction continuing a prohibition on the Trump administration proposal to make available blueprints for so-called ghost guns, untraceable weapons that can be manufactured on a 3-D printer, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said.
California was one of 20 states led by Washington that won the decision from U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik in Seattle. The injunction extends a ruling last month that barred the Trump administration from taking steps that would allow the firm Defense Distributed to disseminate 3-D gun blueprints.
“When the Trump Administration inexplicably gave the green light to distribute on the internet blueprints of 3D-printed, untraceable ghost guns, it needlessly endangered our children, our loved ones and our men and women in law enforcement,” Becerra said in a statement. “The Trump Administration’s actions were dangerous and incompetent.”