With a final flurry of bill signings and vetoes by Gov. Jerry Brown this past weekend, the 2017 legislative session is officially behind us. So who came out ahead? (Not that it’s a competition!)
Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, led the pack with 16 new laws chaptered apiece, according to a list of legislative actions provided by the Governor’s Office.
Lara carried bill packages this session to expand protections for juvenile offenders and immigrants, including a guarantee that students whose parents are deported can continue to enroll in California schools. He also authored legislation to move up California’s next presidential primary to March, an effort to give the state a bigger say in choosing the nominee. But two of Lara’s most high-profile proposals – a statewide single-payer health care system and staffing requirements for dialysis clinics – were shelved in the Assembly.
Among Low’s successes were bills creating a tax checkoff to fund rape kit testing and loosening regulations on taxis so they can better compete with ride-hailing services. He carried a handful of measures making changes to state and local elections, though legislation to lower the voting age to 17 and make the November election a state holiday fell short.
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Two dozen more lawmakers got at least 10 of their bills signed this session, including Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, with 14. Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and Assemblymen Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, and Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, each scored 13. Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, exceeded the rest of his Republican colleagues with 11 bills signed.
Another 11 legislators came up entirely empty-handed. Eight were Republicans, including gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach, and three were Democrats: Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who carried no legislation; Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles, who was elected to Congress midway through the session; and Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda. (Glazer’s office said he was a joint author on two bills that were signed.)
As for vetoes, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, took the crown with five, ranging from paid maternity leave for teachers to workplace protections for reproductive health decisions.
“I’m good with that. If we aren’t having our bills vetoed, we aren’t reaching far enough,” she wrote on Twitter. And she likely won’t be crying too hard; she got nine measures signed by Brown this year.
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WORTH REPEATING: “Regardless of his fond nostalgia for those business practices, enough is enough.” – Attorney General Xavier Becerra, chiding President Trump over Trump University
BEGIN AGAIN: Have you heard that California Senate leader Kevin de León is running for U.S. Senate? In case you missed Sunday’s formal announcement, de León will hold a campaign kickoff for his uphill challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, noon at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. De León is positioning himself as the progressive antidote to Feinstein’s decades as a practical deal-maker. Yet he’ll have to get his fundraising apparatus roaring, since he trails Feinstein by about $4 million, and experts believe he will not be able to roll money from his state campaign accounts into a federal super PAC to back his effort.
MUST READ: The case for Kevin de León for U.S. Senate
BAD BLOOD: Becerra, who was appointed attorney general last December, faces a challenge from fellow Democrat and state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in his first re-election bid next year. Now Becerra’s also getting some competition from across the aisle with the entry of Republicans into the race: Retired El Dorado County Judge Steven Bailey released a video ahead of the California Republican Party convention this weekend announcing his candidacy. Attorney Eric Early unveiled his campaign website recently. While a Republican will have a hard time winning statewide given the Democratic Party’s major voter registration advantages, they could play the role of spoilers by keeping either Jones, or Becerra, out of the fall runoff.
SHAKE IT OFF: A threat from major backers of California’s recent gas tax increase did not scare off congressional Republicans from pursuing a repeal of the new fees. Members of the GOP delegation will officially join an initiative campaign to undo the tax hike, 9:30 a.m. at the California Republican Party headquarters on K Street.
Editor’s note: This post was updated at 5:10 p.m. to reflect that Glazer was a joint author on two bills that were signed.