Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government


Friday's deadline to pass bills edges closer by the minute, which signals peak time for Sacramento's least lauded legislative practice.

Yes, we have entered the high season for gut-and-amends, those bills that have re-emerged in different vessels or appeared for the first time in the waning days of session. Here's a quick rundown of some of the newcomers:

Condoms in pornography: Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, couldn't get a version of this bill earlier this session despite his warnings about the public health risks of unprotected pornographic sex. Now, with new cases of HIV-positive adult performers surfacing, Hall is trying again via AB 640, with the backing of a robocall campaign.

Cannabis regulation: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, has been one of the loudest voices urging California to erect some sort of regulatory framework for a once-revolutionary medical marijuana system that now appears confusing and contradictory compared to new laws in states like Washington and Colorado. His attempt earlier this year died on the Assembly floor, but now Ammiano's intention to create a state-level weed regulatory agency has re-emerged within AB 604.

Drinking water: Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, has cited constituents without access to potable water in criticizing the state's handling of a Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund currently overseen by the Department of Public Health. Perea wants to transfer that authority to the State Water Resources Control Board; his prior attempt was thwarted in Appropriations, but AB 1393 represents another shot.

Immigrant attorneys: The California State Supreme Court just heard arguments on whether Sergio C. Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who passed the California state bar exam, should be able to get a law license. AB 1024, which is being carried by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, with the backing of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, would clarify that Garcia is eligible.

Kings arena: We've already covered a late-hours push by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and other Sacramento lawmakers to expedite the environmental review for a planned Sacramento Kings arena. SB 743 is the vehicle for that effort.

Felon unemployment: We also brought you the startling story of a California state employee who was convicted of embezzling funds, then got a new state job and ultimately claimed unemployment. SB 39, by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, seeks to limit the chances of that happening again.

Electric vehicles: What had been a bill dealing with California Environmental Quality Act exemptions for housing projects is now aimed at alternative vehicle technology. SB 359 would transfer $30 million to programs aimed at promoting low-emission vehicles.

Voting rights: Outrage ensued earlier this year when the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated some key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The new-and-improved AB 280, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, would restore some measure of the status quo by establishing a state-level preclearance system for any voting changes enacted by Kings, Monterey, and Yuba counties.


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