After a week in New York and Canada stumping for climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown returns to the Capitol with more than 700 bills awaiting his consideration.
Lawmakers in both houses of the California Legislature collectively introduced 2,550 bills in the first year of the 2017-18 regular session that began Dec. 5 and stretched into in the wee hours of Sept. 16.
The Assembly passed roughly 970 of its bills, or 56 percent of the measures the house introduced, to the Senate. So far, at least 472 of those Assembly bills are on Brown’s desk, while others are still tied up in the engrossing and enrolling process, according to a Friday afternoon tally by Chris Micheli of the Sacramento lobbying firm Aprea and Micheli.
Meanwhile, the state Senate passed 514 of its own bills, or 63 percent of the bills lawmakers in the upper house introduced this year. At least 243 Senate bills cleared the Assembly and are pending approval by Brown.
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Brown tends to be an unpredictable figure this time of year and it’s tough to say which bills he will sign or veto.
Scores of Assembly Bill 249 supporters packed into a Fair Political Practices Commission hearing room last week to urge the state’s political-ethics watchdog to endorse the measure, commonly referred to as the California Disclose Act. The bill would require advertisements to list the top three financial contributors to a committee – yet exempting candidates, political parties, major donors and independent expenditure committees from the provisions.
Staff members at the agency recommended the four-member commission oppose AB 249 because it reduces the fines they can dish out to groups that violate advertising laws and makes it harder to prove earmarking cases. In the end, the FPPC didn’t take a position.
Senate Bill 149 may be another measure to watch. The bill is a direct shot at President Donald Trump and requires presidential candidates to provide five years of tax returns to earn a spot on the state’s primary election ballot. While Brown isn’t above calling the president and his supporters cave dwellers, he’s largely refrained from partisan squabbles. Brown also broke from California tradition when he declined to disclose his own tax returns during the governor’s race in 2010 and 2014.
Cities and counties rallied on the steps of the Capitol asking Brown to veto Senate Bill 649 the day after it cleared the Legislature. The measure speeds up the process to approve the installation of wireless technology equipment on utility poles and street lights. At the heart of the issue is a provision that limits how much locals can charge telecommunications companies to put the equipment on public property.
If the Senate and Assembly were given the power to veto or sign their own bills into law, lawmakers would boast a much higher success rate. The Assembly failed to pass just nine of its own bills brought up for a vote this year, while Senators killed just three bills in house of origin votes, according to Micheli’s tally.
October 15 is the deadline for Brown to act on end-of-session bills.
WORTH REPEATING: “John McCain has a conscience, and I wish very much that the rest of the Republican leadership had that conscience as well.”
- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders applauding his Republican colleague for declaring his opposition to Senate Republicans’ latest proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare, during a nurses convention in San Francisco.
MUST-READ: Addressing thousands of nurses, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom criticizes the Assembly Speaker’s decision to pause California’s single-payer bill.
HIT THE ROAD: State treasurer and gubernatorial candidate John Chiang launches a week-long tour of 10 Northern California counties with a meet-and-greet with Marin County Young Democrats at the Marin Lagoon Clubhouse at 7:30 p.m. Chiang has committed to visiting all 58 counties in the state during the run-up to the 2018 election. A recent poll of likely voters put Chiang in fifth place in the governor’s race.
CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, who turns 63 on Monday.