It’s been Go Time all week in the Legislature, as lawmakers scramble to pass everything before midnight Friday.

There was big drama on the Assembly floor Thursday night as San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins’ SB 2 came up for a vote after weeks of delay, as Atkins tried to lock up the necessary votes. The bill, which would fund affordable housing by adding a $75 fee to certain real estate documents, had to clear the high two-thirds vote threshold. That and another bill, SB 3, were considered key to lawmakers’ housing package because they both bring in new money.

San Diego Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein crossed the aisle to become a crucial yes vote, but the bill stalled and the vote stretched on for the better part of a very tense hour as the speaker of the Assembly tried to drum up support. Most votes take only a couple minutes. Around 10:30 p.m., the bill got the 54th vote it needed to cross the finish line. The bill still must be volleyed back to the Senate to approve amendments, but the Assembly vote was considered to be its major test.

Maienschein was the only Republican to vote for the bill. One Democrat opposed it.

A couple tweets from Gov. Jerry Brown’s dog and his top aide (it was a weird night, OK?) indicate he plans to sign the bill.

“In addition to producing housing for struggling Californians, it will provide the resources our cities and counties need to update community plans in order to improve quality of life in our neighborhoods and spur new housing growth where it is sorely needed, which will help lower housing costs overall,” Atkins said in a statement.

SB 2 was one of the bills we identified a few weeks back as the big measures to watch from local legislators. Here’s how the rest of those fared:

AB 90: Reforming the CalGang Database, by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber

Passed the Legislature, and is on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

AB 386: Legal Aid for Deported Vets, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher

Still awaiting final votes.

AB 801 and 901: Changing San Diego County Elections, by Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Weber

Both have passed the Legislature, and are on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

AB 805: Reforming SANDAG, by Gonzalez Fletcher

Passed the Legislature, and is on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

AB 1321: Making Spending on Vulnerable Students More Transparent, by Weber


SB 179: Gender Recognition Act, by Atkins

Passed the Legislature, and is on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

SB 384: Keeping Bars Open Longer, co-written by Sen. Joel Anderson



As for other bills, here’s a snapshot of more passed by local lawmakers this week, but be warned: Because there’s been such a huge volume of bills over the last five days, there’s no way to summarize everything, I’m just one human woman.

The Border

SB 357 by Sen. Ben Hueso and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León would establish an international trade and investment office in Mexico.


AB 250 by Gonzalez Fletcher requires the State Coastal Conservancy to establish a program for low-cost beach accommodations.

SB 615 by Hueso helps restore the Salton Sea by creating efficiencies for construction facilities to separate fresh water from highly saline water.


SB 625 by Atkins re-establishes an “honorable discharge” program for juvenile offenders who meet certain criteria.

AB 1344 by Weber requires the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and county probation workers, to provide information about voting rights to the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.


AB 746 by Gonzalez Fletcher requires public schools to test for lead in their water.

AB 81 by Gonzalez Fletcher would make sure parents know whether a school has classified their child as a “long-term English Learner” or an “at risk, long-term English learner” and what the implications of that classification might be.


AB 568 by Gonzalez Fletcher provides paid pregnancy leave for teachers and school employees.

AB 569 by Gonzalez Fletcher protects women from being fired or disciplined over decisions related to her reproductive health.

AB 607 by Gloria helps recipients of public assistance to continue receiving benefits during emergencies.

AB 1386 by Assemblywoman Marie Waldron creates a breast and ovarian cancer genetic screening pilot program.


AB 1637 by Gloria allows specific housing authorities to develop and finance mixed-income housing projects to help meet the housing needs of the working and middle class.

It’s Been a Long Week

The Big Bill Crunch of 2017 took its toll on legislators as voting sessions dragged on.

Oceanside Assemblyman Rocky Chavez got a little hangry. East County Assemblywoman Marie Waldron walked it off.

Local Republicans Eye Constitutional Amendments to Block Tax Increases

Radio talk show host Carl DeMaio is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would overturn the new gas tax passed earlier this year and require a statewide vote for future increases.

Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Bates, who represents parts of North County, is aiming for a constitutional amendment that would close the loophole opened by that recent bombshell Supreme Court ruling. The ruling might have lowered the bar for citizen groups looking to pass tax increases – from a two-thirds vote requirement to a simple majority. Bates wants to keep the bar at two-thirds no matter who’s pushing the tax hike.

Golden State News

• New figures released this week show California has the highest poverty rate in the country, driven largely by housing costs. (KPCC)

• Places like Orange County – a longtime Republican stronghold that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 – are confounding both parties. (The Hill)

• A great rundown of how prison locations impact redistricting. (Capitol Weekly)

• CALMatters assessed what the California resistance to Trump has accomplished.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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