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Next week, ahead of lawmakers’ return to Sacramento, we’ll break down the big bills from San Diego legislators that are still alive in the Legislature.
First, though, I wanted to highlight three bills that got significant buzz this session but ultimately didn’t play out the way local lawmakers had hoped.
SB 562: Single-Payer Health Care
Along with the sanctuary state bill, which is still alive, SB 562, a bill to create a single-payer health care system in California, got an outsize share of attention this session.
Early on, Sen. Toni Atkins, who co-wrote the bill with Sen. Ricardo Lara, implored her colleagues to “do something big” by ushering in a new health care system. But the bill was murky from the start – the exact costs, and how the state would pay them, were never spelled out clearly. That’s what led Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to ultimately sideline the bill, a move that has infuriated progressives in the state and beyond.
SB 6: Legal Services for Immigrants Facing Deportation
Sen. Ben Hueso had to scale back his vision of providing legal services for immigrants facing deportation almost from the start.
In a nod to political realities, he inserted a clause into the bill stipulating that funds would be accessible only to those with no violent criminal convictions in their history.
“I wish that we could have a bill that does not include that. I had a lot of heartache over doing that, I didn’t want to do that in the bill,” Hueso said at hearing early this year.
Because the state budget process included millions to expand legal services for immigrants, Hueso’s office held the bill.
The budget allocation “confirms our responsibility to protect the due process rights of people living within our borders which is fundamental to our democracy,” Hueso said in a statement in June.
AB 1220: Teacher Tenure Reform
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber has had teacher tenure reform in her sights for years.
Earlier this year, Weber’s office sounded a hopeful note when it rolled out AB 1220, which would extend the amount of time it takes for teachers to gain tenure, because it had secured educator groups as partners. That allowed Weber to tout the bill as something teachers actually wanted.
But by mid-July, Weber announced things had stalled because of “outstanding policy concerns.” She said she would be holding the bill over until next year in order to craft something that could actually pass.
New Arguments Against AB 805 Emerge
So far in the debate over AB 805, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher’s measure to overhaul the San Diego Association of Governments, most of the opposition has focused in on one piece of the bill: the fact that it would give more power to the two largest cities in the county, San Diego and Chula Vista.
One is that a new labor-friendly provision added to the bill is just a play to boost certain labor groups.
The other new line of attack against the measure is that it wouldn’t actually solve the problems that have emerged at SANDAG in the last year.
San Diego City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, a Republican who is also a member of the SANDAG board, said last week that the explosive issues revealed in an investigation of the agency show “this was not a board governance problem. This was an internal problem.”
Gonzalez Fletcher, meanwhile, doesn’t think the board will fix itself, even in the wake of news that SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos plans to step down.
Transportation justice is “bigger than 1 person: We must ensure communities have equal access to reliable transpo & the process that makes it so,” she tweeted.
• Dan Walters writes in a new CALMatters column that the fight over the future of SANDAG is just another example of “San Diego’s perpetual cultural and political wars.”
Brown Signs Chavez, Maienschein Bills
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed two laws from San Diego-area Republican Assemblymen Rocky Chavez and Brian Maienschein.
Chavez’s AB 172 expands eligibility for Armed Service members’ families to qualify for in-state tuition.
Maienschein’s AB 905 make clarifying changes to the laws governing the recognition of foreign and tribal court money judgments.
Golden State News
• San Diego County spent $512,956 lobbying in Sacramento in the first half of the year. (L.A. Times)
• Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed bond oversight committee members to serve longer terms. (The Signal)
• This bananas story about an attempt to infiltrate the California offices of the League of Conservation voters includes an anecdote about the schemers possibly trying to conceal a miniature microphone on Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León. (New Yorker)
• California has passed an incredible number of protections for undocumented immigrants, but the sanctuary state bill and other measures are still facing some stiff opposition. (Mercury News)
• The other side of the immigration coin: Powerful California lawmakers are speaking out against the federal RAISE Act. Sen. Dianne Feinstein writes that under the proposal, her family members and President Donald Trump’s ancestors would have been barred. (Fortune)
• A federal judge blocked a case from moving forward against Northern California pot growers because of a law that prevents crackdowns on those operating under their state’s laws. (LA Weekly)