SACRAMENTO – The amount of damage to Californians’ pocketbooks, the ability to live affordably in the state and the need to keep communities safe, all these important issues and more rest on the over 1,000 bills that were sent to Governor Jerry Brown when the legislative session came to a close on August 31st.
“As the clock stuck midnight on August 31st, it signaled an end to the long list of some of the most extreme legislation I have witnessed in all my years of public service,” said Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).
“While I have respect for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, they authored and promoted far too much legislation this year by Democrats that pushed a radical agenda of increasing housing costs and making our communities less safe for our residents to live, work and play.”
Some of the more controversial policies passed this year include legalizing injection centers so addicts can legally shoot up heroin; validating the illegal diversion of $331 million from a legal settlement that was intended for families caught up in the mortgage crisis; and potentially increasing high energy costs by a significant amount.
At the same time, Democrats rejected a request that would have audited the troubled Department of Motor Vehicles and failed to move forward another bill, authored by Senator Bates, which would have offered relief to residents having to wait six hours or longer at DMV offices.
These are some of the worst examples advanced by legislative Democrats in the final days of the legislative session:
- SB 100 (de Leon) – Without regard to keeping energy costs as low as possible, the measure mandates that California get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources. California already pays some of the highest energy rates in the nation and this legislation ignores the needs of our struggling communities by mandating the use of energy sources they may not afford.
- AB 186 (Eggman) - Legalizes heroin injection sites.
- AB 1184 (Ting and Chiu) – Imposes a tax of up to 3.25 percent on each ride provided by a self-driving or driverless vehicle – even though no self-driving or driverless cars offering ride-sharing are in existence.
- AB 861 & SB 1829 (Committee on Budget Fiscal & Review) - Validates the illegal diversion of $331 million from the National Mortgage Special Deposit Fund (NMSDF).
- AB 2965 & SB 974 (Arambula and Lara) – Provide state health insurance (Medi-Cal) to undocumented immigrants aged 19-25 and those over 65. The yearly cost of these programs is estimated at $880 million.
- SB 439 (Mitchell) - Mandates that any crime committed by a minor under the age of 12 be completely excluded from handling within the juvenile court system, with some rare exceptions such as forcible sex crimes and murder. The legislation fails to consider that the juvenile court system also provides for the protection and rehabilitation of the minor, as well as protection for the public. For example, the legislation does not exempt lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under 14, continuous sexual abuse of a minor, attempted murder, robbery, kidnapping, torture, etc. See letter from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for list of examples.
And sadly, despite the more than 1,000 bills passed during this legislative session, legislative Democrats refused multiple opportunities to pass legislation that actually would have helped hard-working Californians. Some of those bills include:
- SB 76 (Bates) – Would have allowed individuals with driver’s licenses expiring in 2018 to renew their driver’s license online or by mail, giving them additional time to get an appointment for a REAL ID at a later date and would also have given drivers 90 days to register out-of-state cars.
- SB 922 (Nguyen) – Would have allowed turning state surplus property near college campuses into affordable housing for college students.
- SB 999 (Morrell) – Would have repealed the unnecessary licensing requirement for several haircare occupations. The bill would have increased employment opportunities in the cosmetology field and reduced restrictions on salon business owners. Shampooing hair alone requires $125 in annual fees and up to $19,000 in tuition and 1,500 hours in coursework to secure a license.
- SB 1211 (Anderson) – Would have created new career opportunities for Californians by empowering employers to train new workers through paid apprenticeship programs.
- SB 1218 (Gaines) - Would have helped families save money for college by making contributions to 529 plans tax deductible in California.
- SB 1381 (Nielsen) – Would have required California public colleges and universities to protect free speech on campus for all students.
“As the Legislature adjourned, Californians are left with very high energy costs, very high housing costs, and very high gas prices which will continue to hurt struggling families. These high costs leave California with the highest poverty rate in the nation. The Legislature has missed plenty of opportunities to help our families this year. Californians deserve better,” said Senator Bates.