In July, it looked like one of 2015’s most contentious bills was finished: unable to sway reluctant lawmakers, the authors of legislation allowing terminally ill Californians to obtain lethal drugs halted the measure.
But a special healthcare session has given them another shot. Though the Brown administration and Catholic Church leaders questioned pursuing the measure in a session intended to address healthcare financing, advocates can circumvent the troublesome Assembly Health Committee and go instead through a new special session committee.
When their bill sputtered ahead of the Assembly Health Committee hearing, supporters made the case for an up-or-down Assembly floor vote (it had already passed the Senate). We’ll see today if the bill gets that far. The hearing, where witnesses are expected to include the widower of face-of-the-movement Brittany Maynard, kicks off following floor session and a subsequent Democratic caucus.
TURNOVER: No one is saying much, but Assembly Republicans appear poised to follow their Senate counterparts and select a new leader today. Sources said Monday that the likeliest candidate to succeed current Minority Leader Kristin Olsen, R-Riverside, is first-term Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley (term limits force Olsen out of the Assembly in 2016). Stay tuned.
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GETTING THERE: With the session winding down, Democrats and Republicans are at a crossroads over transportation funding plans. A group of Democratic lawmakers will gather in room 3191 ahead of a special transportation committee hearing to promote a pair of bills that would increase the tax on diesel and send more cap-and-trade money to transit programs like intercity rail. Republicans will present their own proposals at the hearing, including a priority bill from Sen. Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, to direct cap-and-trade funds derived from transportation fuels to road and bridge repairs and prevent them from being used for high-speed rail, per a deal last year.
ROLL OF THE DICE: A revamped casino deal with the United Auburn tribe is chugging along after receiving a warm reception in the Senate, and another follows closely behind: Gov. Jerry Brown signed a renegotiated casino compact with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians last Wednesday. That agreement will be reviewed today by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee at 9:30 a.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol, and by the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee in Room 4202 following the end of session.