After an eventful morning in the Capitol, wherein lawmakers were briefly delayed from doing their duties thanks to a power outage, the Legislature undertook the marathon task of considering whether to move 955 bills from the chambers’ respective appropriation committees to the floor or let them die .
Several high-profile, high-expectation bills didn’t get the votes:
- Oil drilling ban: Senate Bill 953 by state Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) would have banned offshore drilling in state waters, requiring the state to negotiate the end of several oil and gas leases. It was a direct response to last fall’s oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach that spewed 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the water. The bill faced opposition from the oil industry, but even after amendments to give the lessors more time to end their tenancy, it sank.
- Guns on movie sets: Senate Bill 831, introduced by state Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) was another bill borne out of tragedy. The legislation was in direct response to last year’s shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s “Rust” that killed photographer Halyna Hutchins. Cortese’s bill would have tightened safety requirements around guns and set safety, including requiring movie producers to hire a qualified set safety supervisor, and prohibit ammunition on film, TV, or commercial sets, except in prescribed circumstances. It was held in committee this morning.
- Fertility-treatment coverage: A bill by Assemblymember buffy wicks (D-Oakland) that would have required health insurers to cover fertility treatments failed to advance, even after Wicks narrowed the scope of the measure. Assembly Bill 2029 continued to face strong opposition from health insurers and business groups, which argued the bill would increase health care cost and limit employer flexibility.
The POLITICO team watched all the drama unfold. Here are some other notable proposals that got the boot:
- Expanding the state’s data-broker registration law (Senate Bill 1059 by Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park)
- Making broadband more affordable for undocumented immigrants brought to California as children (Assembly Bill 2255 by Mike Fong, D-San Gabriel)
- Converting golf courses to affordable housing (Assembly Bill 1910 by Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens)
- Requiring large companies to disclose pay and benefits data, among other information, for their workforces (Assembly Bill 2095 by Ash Kalra, D-San Jose)
- Creating a gun violence office in the Department of Justice to address gun violence as a public health crisis. (Assembly Bill 2253 by Mia Bonta, D-Alameda, who also happens to be married to Attorney General Rob Bonta)
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PRIVACY LIVES – The California Assembly could soon vote on two measures to bring major overhauls to kids’ and teens’ online experience. The bipartisan Assembly Bill 2273 from Wicks and Assemblymember jordan cunningham (R-Templeton) models itself after UK rules that have already driven Big Tech companies to make changes some of them swear they’ll apply globally — although they don’t have to. Some tweaks include TikTok and Instagram disabling direct messages between kids and adults they don’t follow, Google automating SafeSearch for minors, and YouTube stopping autoplay for anyone under 18. The proposal was dispatched for a chamber vote in today’s appropriations marathon.
Another bill by the same two lawmakers would leave social media companies open to lawsuits if their products are shown to be addictive to children. That bill, Assembly Bill 2408, was expected to get a floor vote today, but didn’t after the Capitol’s power outage shortened the session. – Susannah Luthi
MASSIVE FINE FOR REFINERY DEATH: A Valero refinery in the Bay Area and three contractors are facing a $1.75 million fine after a worker suffocated while inspecting an overflow well last November. The 35-year-old employee was found unconscious after a welding torch leaking argon gas was left in the well, pushing oxygen out of the confined space. Officials from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health found that the managers of the site in Benicia failed to determine if the well was safe before the worker entered it and did not ensure that other employees had proper safety equipment during the attempted rescue.
The combined fine is the largest that state workplace safety officials have issued this year. The largest portion of the citation — nearly $1 million — was handed down to Total Safety US, a Texas-based contractor. Valero is facing a fine of more than $500,000. — Alexander Nieves
WATERTHEFT: A bill that would have allowed county district attorneys to seek felony charges against cannabis growers who steal from or pollute water sources died in the Senate Appropriations committee today. That measure, Senate Bill 1428, was pushed by local law enforcement and water agencies amid an uptick in water theft around the state, especially in the arid deserts of Southern California. Sen. Anna Caballero’s (D-Salinas) bill received near unanimous support in two policy committees, but any policy that proposes increasing criminal penalties is a longshot to make it through the Democratic-led Legislature. — Nevis
SPECIAL ED: The Assembly Appropriations Committee sank a bill that would have required schools to lay out postsecondary education goals for special education students by the time students turn 14. State law currently requires as much by the time students turn 16.
Assembly Bill 2427 by Assemblymember white blond (D-Baldwin Park) would have come at an unknown cost “in at least the tens of millions of dollars,” a state analysis found. And though a past amendment would have given special education programs until 2024 to update student learning plans, the widened mandate was one in a batch of education measures to fall in rapid-fire fashion Thursday. — Blake Jones
“Acrimony, threats, absent doctors: LA County and USC clash over hospital management,” by the LATimes’ Matt Hamilton: “For years, a contentious dispute between Los Angeles County’s healthcare leaders and the University of Southern California has been seen behind closed doors, injecting tension and acrimony in the operations at one of the nation’s busiest public hospitals that climaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As early as 2019, officials at LA County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights began accusing USC of failing to live up to its contract obligations, where the county pays up to $170 million each year in return for USC’s faculty doctors and nearly 1,000 medical residents. treating some of the region’s poorest patients.
The county has contended that USC repeatedly fell short of providing enough doctors under the contract while also “double-booking” its internists, cardiologists, and others — claiming they were scheduled to simultaneously treat patients at both the public hospital and the university’s privately owned Keck Hospital across the street.”
“Big oil backers and bobblehead ads? Sacramento’s Senate race heats up as PACs weigh in,” by Sac Bee’s Lindsey Holden: “Sacramento drivers who’ve recently stopped near a busy Curtis Park intersection may have spotted a billboard featuring a suit-wearing bobblehead.
The political advertisement at Sutterville Road and Franklin Boulevard depicts 8th State Senate District candidate Dave Jones and urges voters, “Don’t give Dave Jones the nod for State Senate.”
Although Sacramento residents have already begun to fill out their ballots ahead of the June 7 primary, a political action committee, or PAC, has injected some late-breaking controversy into the 8th Senate District race by coming out against Jones so strongly.”
Compiled by Juhi Doshi
— Some patients who have coronavirus are rebounding into illness, despite taking the anti-COVID drug, Paxlovid. (LA Times)
— A group of anti-abortion activists has been accused of breaking into a San Francisco women’s clinic. (SF Chronicle)
— A high-profile political consultant and California Democratic Party official has said she cooperated with an FBI corruption investigation into Anaheim’s city government. (Voice of OC)