Will he sign, or won’t he? Lawmakers spent the hectic final weeks of August whipping votes, accepting amendments and negotiating with interest groups in an effort to get their bills passed. The 768 bills that survived now face their final test: Gov. Jerry Brown. Here are some of the key bills on his desk:
Analysis: Brown’s office spotlighted groundwater early this year, setting aside money in his January budget proposal to formulate a management plan. Talks between Brown and lawmakers produced the third bill in the package late in August. Given the extent of Brown’s involvement on the issue, his signature seems like a safe bet.
Analysis: The “almost all employers” is pivotal to this bill’s fate. In the final week of the legislative session, Brown secured amendments to the bill exempting health aides who care for disabled and elderly Californians through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program. Unions furiously fought the change, but it cemented the governor’s support. Brown released a statement praising the legislation as soon as it passed.
Analysis: During a gubernatorial debate, Brown said he “probably” would sign the bill, a move that could burnish his already solid environmental bona fides. Despite plastic industry warnings that this bill would cut jobs, the California Chamber of Commerce has not adopted a position.
Analysis: Uber and Lyft vociferously opposed this bill until the dwindling hours of the legislative session. But after the bill’s author hammered out a deal lowering a minimum liability insurance requirement to $200,000, saying that Brown was on board as a result, the industry dropped its opposition.
Analysis: With much fanfare, Brown and legislative leaders unveiled the $330 million deal in the last week of the session.
Analysis: Senate leaders unveiled this bill as part of an ethics package, along with measures banning fundraisers at lobbyists’ homes (SB 1441) and compelling more frequent campaign disclosures (SB 1442). A separate measure, SB 831, requires interest groups to offer more information on the free trips they sponsor for lawmakers every year. Brown has publicly said little about a deluge of scandals that has included two senators allegedly taking campaign finance bribes and a prominent lobbyist receiving a six-figure fine for coordinating improper gifts and events at his house – including one with Brown in attendance.
Analysis: When the Legislature sent him a wave of post-Sandy Hook gun control bills last year, Brown vetoed some of the farthest-reaching measures. He has not weighed in publicly on this bill.
Analysis: Reviled by gun groups, this bill did win the support of some key law enforcement entities like the Peace Officers Research Association of California, a consistent supporter of Brown’s campaigns.
Analysis: While the Los Angeles Police Department backs this legislation, critics say it might end up breeding more uncertainty for cops expected to make split-second decisions in potentially lethal situations.
Analysis: One of organized labor’s priorities for 2014, this legislation sits firmly in the California Chamber of Commerce’s cross-hairs. Signing the bill could open Brown to fresh criticism from those who believe over-regulation has smothered California’s economy.
Analysis: Local government groups like the League of California Cities detest this bill, depicting it as a union ploy to discourage cities from contracting out services.
Analysis: An organization representing corporate franchises has lambasted this bill, launching ads warning that it will undermine quality control and public safety while damaging an economic recovery that has occurred “under the leadership of Gov. Jerry Brown.”
Analysis: With lax or uneven campus responses to sexual violence drawing criticism across the country, this bill has received national attention. It passed both houses of the Legislature with strong support. Brown has courted the campus vote heavily before, particularly during his campaign for Proposition 30.
Analysis: While the Proposition 227 rollback would not go on the ballot until after Brown’s current campaign has concluded, it could still provoke powerful reactions and raw emotions. Then again, the governor has sought to position himself as a champion of progressive immigration policies.
Analysis: This bill was pushed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in response to 15-year-old Audrie Pott’s suicide after she was assaulted while unconscious. It is less stringent than in its original form, mandating rehabilitation rather than incarceration, so it would not worsen the prison overcrowding Brown has fought to reduce under a federal court order.
Analysis: The governor last year vetoed a bill opening a one-year window for childhood sex abuse victims to take legal action. Brown wrote an unusually lengthy veto message invoking concepts of fairness and arguing that, at some point, the threat of lawsuits for past violations must dissipate.
Analysis: The billionaire in question, Vinod Khosla, hired some top-notch talent to fight the bill. He is also a longtime benefactor of environmental causes, for instance pouring $1 million into fighting a 2010 ballot measure undoing California’s cap-and-trade law.
Analysis: While environmental groups backed this bill, industry groups like the California Fisheries Institute and the West Coast Seafood Processors Association argued that it would impose a costly burden that would likely confuse customers.
Analysis: Brown has moved cautiously on bills easing drug penalties, last year vetoing a measure allowing simple possession to be charged as a misdemeanor. Likely influencing Brown’s thinking on this bill will be criticism from law enforcement groups like the California Police Chiefs Association.
Analysis: This bill would bolster a labor body Brown helped create during his first administration.
Analysis: Not a single lawmaker voted against this bill. But Brown’s Department of Finance dissented, arguing that there is not enough money in the budget to support the increased workload.
Analysis: Brown has already vetoed a similar bill, writing at the time that “I cannot support limiting the authority of local school leaders.” Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, believes amendments narrowing the bill’s scope – it would now only bar willful defiance suspensions for children in kindergarten through third grade – could change the governor’s mind.
Analysis: As unmanned aerial vehicles become increasingly common, civil liberties advocates are questioning the privacy implications of hovering eyes in the sky. While this legislation drew bipartisan support in the Legislature, it continues to be a nonstarter for arms of the law like the California Police Chiefs Association and the Los Angeles County district attorney.
Analysis: The breadth of organizations supporting this measure, from California Common Cause to the California Chamber of Commerce to the California Democratic Party, should help its odds, although the California Teachers Association remains in opposition.