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Friday, June 24, 2022

The Great Kalinga: Which California Bill Legislators Killed?

by Alexey Kosef , CalMaters

California lawmakers will not make State Election Day a holiday this year. Nor will they provide grants to local governments to convert public golf courses into affordable housing, or force health insurers to cover fertility treatments.

All these proposals were victims of seasonal harvesting of bills known as suspense files. This stately and secretive process, led by the Senate and Assembly appropriations committees, serves as the final financial review, before any legislation expected to be a significant cost to the state is sent to the full chamber for a vote. goes.

In a fast and furious hearing that lasted two hours on Thursday, the committees sifted through the fate of nearly 1,000 bills, offering no explanation for their decisions and, in many cases, no formal announcement that any measures had been taken. .

The results had already been determined in private consultations. The suspense file, among the most opaque practices in the Capitol, allows legislative leaders to not only postpone proposals that are too costly, but to send more silently those that are controversial or politically uncomfortable. , especially in an election year.

See the results of the committee in this PDF

About 220 bills were put in cold storage. The bills that made it through – more than 700 of them – now face another imminent deadline next week to move out of their original home. If successful, they will move to another chamber for further consideration.

Here are some notable remedies that are not going ahead this season:

election day holiday

Five-time Assemblyman Evan Low, a Campbell Democrat, has tried to make November’s election a state holiday, close schools and allow public employees paid time off to vote. And this year, including again, the bill on the suspense file of the assembly has doubled.

Assembly Bill 1872 differed slightly from many of its predecessors in that it would have replaced President’s Day with an Election Day holiday on even-numbered years, rather than simply adding one more day, thereby reducing its cost. But with every California voter now being sent a ballot at each election, the urgency of such a plan has been significantly reduced.

A separate measure to make Juneteenth a state holiday, Assembly Bill 1655, by Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Los Angeles Democrat, however, moved to the floor.

affordable housing

If a powerful interest group swings hard enough on a bill, they can kill it. This happened when about 80 local, regional and national golf groups, as well as several organizations that support local control over housing development, united against Member of the Assembly Cristina García’s Assembly Bill of 1910.

The measure targeted hundreds of municipal golf courses in the state, many of which are running at significant financial losses, as prime locations to help the state out of its housing shortage. It would have offered grants to local governments to convert their golf courses into housing, of which at least a quarter would be affordable for low-income families.

The result wasn’t terribly surprising: Everyone wants affordable housing, unless it threatens to get into their backyard — or the local golf course.

— Manuela Tobiassi

fertility treatment

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks pushed to require health insurers to cover fertility treatments, including costly in-vitro fertilization, reduced for the third time in four years.

Unlike 17 other states, California does not require health insurers to pay for fertility treatments. A round of in vitro and accompanying medication can cost upwards of $20,000, preventing some people from having children and leaving others in exorbitant debt.

istockphoto

Assembly Bill 2029 by Wicks, an Oakland Democrat, was opposed by health insurance plans and other business groups, citing the high price tag: an estimated $715 million that was largely used by employers and health plan enrollees. But will come out in the form of increased premium.

– Anna B. ibras

salary transparency

Assembly Bill 2095, by Assembly Member Ash Kalra, a San Jose Democrat, was the first bill in the nation to require large companies to report a broad swath of data on their workforce, including how much they are paid and what they are paid. Benefit is to be obtained.

The state could use this information to provide the public with an easy-to-understand measure of how companies treat their employees and give top performers certain perks, such as tax credits.

But the bill faced strong opposition from business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, which put the bill on its “job killer” list — a collection of measures it lobbies most aggressively each year. The Chamber argued that the data would create unfair comparisons between companies or be taken out of context.

Legislators put forward another workplace transparency proposal on the “job killer” list: Senate Bill 1162, by Sen. Monique Limon, a Santa Barbara Democrat, that would require companies to make some wage data public, including wage limits in job postings. Including, a few amendments, including one giving exemption to companies with 15 or fewer employees, passed with one.

– Grace Gede

Part-time community college in Sacramento is flourishing for faculty. A pending $200 million health care fund that he has championed has the backing of the governor. But a bill matching the pay of full-time faculty with part-time community faculty for the same level of work died on the suspense file.

Assembly Bill 1752 by Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat, would have increased the cost of community college by hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The cost is so high that speaks to the huge pay gap between part-time faculty – who are usually paid only for the hours they teach, but not for other related tasks such as lesson planning and grading – and their full-time ones. For Salaried Colleagues.

The majority of community college faculty are part-time, earning an average of $20,000 per year. Labor unions supported the bill, while organizations representing community college officials opposed it, arguing that they were already struggling to meet staffing obligations in an era of declining student enrollment. were.

— Mikhail Zinshtein

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