• Thu. Sep 22nd, 2022

Buckle up for a busy month in Sacramento

ByStephanie M. Akbar

Aug 1, 2022

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  • Photo by Fred Greaves for CalMatters
  • Fast food workers and other SEIU members marched to the Capitol to deliver postcards and petitions in support of AB257 to the governor’s office on May 31, 2022.

Welcome to the final countdown.

Today, state lawmakers will meet again in Sacramento after a month-long summer break – during which some traveled abroad on trips funded by pressured special interest groups on various issues – for the frantic last month of the legislative session.

Lawmakers face an August 31 deadline to determine the fate of hundreds of bills. The Nov. 8 general election is suspended over the high-intensity process, which could affect how some lawmakers — especially those vying for contested seats in the state Assembly and Senate — vote on burning proposals.

In a preview of the tough decisions facing lawmakers, hundreds of fast-food workers were expected to rally at the state Capitol Sunday night to support a bill that would allow the state to negotiate wages, hours and working conditions for an industry that employs around 700,000 people. A similar measure was not adopted last year.

The proposal, backed by unions and opposed by business and restaurant groups, has divided Democrats, some of whom fear extending liability for labor violations broadly from owners of fast-food franchises to corporate chains they work with, CalMatters reporter Jeanne Kuang Remarks.

But that’s just one of many controversial bills before lawmakers, some of which are being voted on today. Here’s a look at some of the major bills CalMatters is monitoring, broken down by area:

  • Abortion. As California voters decided in November whether to enshrine the right to abortion and contraception in the state constitution, lawmakers are considering more than a dozen bills to increase access and strengthen protections. Perhaps the most controversial proposal is by Oakland Democratic Assemblyman Buffy Wicks to prevent women from being held civilly or criminally responsible for the outcome of their pregnancies. Opponents have argued that the bill would legalize infanticide, which Wicks says is categorically false.
  • Fire arms. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision dramatically expanding gun rights, Democratic lawmakers have responded with a bill they say would comply with the opinion while making California law on more restrictive concealed carry. If passed, it is almost certain to face legal challenges from gun rights groups.
  • COVID. Lawmakers have yet to determine the fate of some of the most controversial bills introduced by Democrats’ vaccine task force, including proposals to allow children 15 and older to be vaccinated without parental consent. and another to categorize doctors’ “spreading false information or misinformation”. to COVID-19 as unprofessional conduct.
  • Housing and homelessness. Governor Gavin Newsom’s controversial proposal to force seriously mentally ill Californians into treatment and housing is facing critical votes, as is a bill that aims to increase construction of affordable housing but has divided groups influential workers.
  • Retirement homes. Lawmakers will consider a bill to reform California’s nursing home licensing system, which sponsors say has been watered down so severely they can no longer support it. After a CalMatters investigation last year, lawmakers warned that “people are dying while we wait.”
  • Work and workplace. Lawmakers have a number of high-profile labor bills in their hands, including one to allow their own employees to unionize and another to force companies to publicly disclose more data on pay gaps. They will also decide, after two vetoes by Newsom last year, whether to allow farm workers to vote by mail in union elections and whether to increase payments to the state’s paid family leave program so that more low-wage workers can take time off to care for a newborn baby. or sick family member.
  • Criminal justice. Amid an ongoing debate over criminal justice reform, lawmakers will consider a proposal to prevent prisons, jails and private migrant detention centers from holding people in solitary confinement for more than 15 days consecutive. They will also decide to limit the ability of prosecutors to seek the death penalty or life without parole for accomplices to certain criminal murders who neither killed nor intended to kill.
  • Environment. Shortly after Newsom signed legislation requiring all single-use food packaging and utensils to be recyclable, reusable, refillable or compostable by 2030, lawmakers will consider whether to force online retailers to reduce the use of single-use plastics such as bubble wrap and polystyrene foam. peanuts.
  • Internet and technology. The Capitol is bracing for a showdown over a pair of bills — both of which are facing intense pushback from the tech industry — to dramatically expand children’s privacy rights online and to allow prosecutors to hold social media companies civilly liable for young people’s intentional addiction. Lawmakers will also decide whether to impose regulations on the cryptocurrency industry. The votes come as some lawmakers are set to meet with tech lobbyists later this week at a Napa Valley resort for a two-day event billed by organizers as the Tech Policy Summit.

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