It didn’t happen a lot, but when bills failed on the floors of the California Legislature during the recently completed 2015 session, some lawmakers repeatedly played key roles, final vote tallies show.
In the Assembly, 11 bills failed in floor votes after previously clearing legislative committees and, in some cases, the other house. The floor defeats highlight the clout of so-called “mods,” a loosely defined group of Assembly Democrats who generally represent inland districts and are more sympathetic to oil, tobacco and other business interests.
Several Democrats voted no or did not vote (which has the same effect as a no vote) on all 11 of the bills that failed on the Assembly floor this year, including Assemblymen Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, and Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield. The defeated bills included measures to double workers’ pay for Thanksgiving shifts, prohibit asset forfeiture before a conviction in drug cases, and phase in water bills for tenants of apartment and commercial buildings.
Republicans vote against many of the bills that advance in the Democrat-controlled Legislature. Among the measures that failed on the Assembly floor, though, were measures that had significant Republican support – including the asset-forfeiture bill.
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In the Senate, Republicans dominated the ranks of lawmakers who opposed the 10 bills that failed on the upper-house floor.
State Sens. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, and some caucus colleagues voted no or abstained on nine of the measures.
Among Democrats, state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, voted no or abstained on seven of the 10 measures that failed, followed by state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Manteca, who helped defeat six. Several other Democrats, including state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, voted no or abstained on five bills that went down to defeat.
In a couple of cases, failed bills later passed after more lobbying or amendments to win over critics. And some of the measures defeated on the floor this year could be revived in 2016, the second half of the two-year session.
Bills defeated in legislative floor votes in 2015:
On the Assembly floor:
- AB 356 : Requires groundwater management plans for all injection well projects.
- AB 1287+: Extends San Francisco’s use of video cameras to enforce transit lane rules.
- AB 533: Creates payment rules in cases when non-contracting health professional provides services in contracting hospital.
- AB 67: Requires businesses to pay double-time to employees who have to work on Thanksgiving.
- AB 832: Narrows the circumstances covered by the Child Abuse Neglect and Reporting Act.
- SB 175: Requires law enforcement agencies that use body cameras to have policies in place.
- SB 260: Imposes new regulations on county organized health systems.
- SB 308: Allows debtors to keep more of their assets.
- SB 32: Requires the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.
- SB 443: Requires a criminal conviction before authorities can seize assets from drug-crime suspects.
- SB 7: Phases in water metering for apartment dwellers and commercial building tenants.
On the Senate floor:
- AB 1200: Requires businesses seeking state contracts to file lobbying disclosure statements.
- AB 517: Expands the rights of parents or guardians to inspect sexual education materials.
- AB 718: Prohibits local governments from penalizing people for sleeping in their cars.
- AB 888*: Prohibits the sale of products containing microbeads.
- SB 114: Puts a school construction bond of unspecified size on the November 2016 ballot.
- SB 24: Extends state tobacco regulations to cover electronic cigarettes.
- SB 454: Restricts the state’s ability to seek federal exemptions for injection well projects.
- SB 572: Requires school districts to create a community advisory board before closing a school.
- SB 681: Prohibits a gas corporation from taking a tax deduction on a safety violation penalty.
- SCA 8: Increases county boards of supervisors from five to seven members in any county with 2 million people as of 2020.
+ Bill later approved.
* Bill later approved following amendments.
Source: Sacramento Bee analysis of legislative vote records. Excludes procedural votes.