Capitol Alert

800 bills in two days? Key California measures face do-or-die test

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, talks with Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens on the senate floor on Saturday, August 30, 2014.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, talks with Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens on the senate floor on Saturday, August 30, 2014.

Assembly Appropriations Chair Lorena Gonzalez coined a term for the backlog of bills in her committee this time of year: “#AppropsHell.”

Over the course of the legislative session, appropriations committees park bills on the suspense file to be dealt with at a later date. Now that day of reckoning is upon them.

Friday marks the deadline for fiscal committees to report bills to the floor in their house of origin. Collectively, the Senate and Assembly appropriation committees have more than 800 bills to go through before lawmakers can duck out of Sacramento for the long weekend. In other words, expect rapid-fire votes.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, led by Sen. Ricardo Lara, is taking up its suspense file at 10 a.m. Thursday.

The 287 bills on Lara’s desk include several of his own proposals, most notably SB 562, his $400 billion single-payer health care plan, and SB 30, which bars the state from contracting with a company that helps build President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León’s SB 100, which calls for 100 percent renewable retail electricity by 2046, and two affordable housing proposals, Sen. Toni Atkins’ SB 2 and Sen. Jim Beall’s SB 3, will be taken up Thursday. Two Atkins bills related to official gender changes, SB 179 and SB 310, are also on the agenda.

Gonzalez is convening the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday after floor session with 531 bills to weigh. It will be a big test for AB 42, part of a major push this session to overhaul California’s bail system because of concerns that it discriminates against the poor. The committee estimated that the plan could cost hundreds of millions of dollars annually, though there are significant potential savings from reduced incarceration.

Other measures range from the global (such as AB 378, to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) to the intensely personal (AB 1127, introduced by an expecting father to put more diaper-changing tables in men’s bathrooms). And don’t forget AB 807, the ever-controversial effort to end daylight saving time in California.

WORTH REPEATING: “Don’t underestimate the power of the Holy Father.”

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WATCHDOG NIPS ITS OWN: The California Fair Political Practices Commission is expected to vote on a fine against one of its former chiefs during a 10 a.m. meeting at its headquarters on J Street. Dan Schnur, who led the state agency in 2010, is facing a $4,500 fine for failing to report a contribution and using personal funds to pay campaign expenses during an unsuccessful bid for secretary of state in 2014.

FEATURED SPEAKER: California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is on the hot seat today at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon. In a conversation with The Sacramento Bee’s Editorial Page Editor Dan Morain, Cantil-Sakauye is expected to discuss her request to the federal government to stop arresting immigrants at state courthouses, criminal traffic penalities, the budget for the judicial council and other topics of the day. The talk begins at 11:30 a.m. at the State Building & Construction Trades Council on I Street.

Alexei Koseff contributed to this report.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna