After a week long break, Sacramento lawmakers will be back at the capital debating new legislation. Here’s a few of the highlights going on this week.
4/25- AB 336: Consumer Loans; This would impose more restrictions and provide for more disclosure with regards to terms of consumer loans. AB 591: Oil and Gas Production, Hydraulic Fracturing; This would require companies to provide more information on and do more research into the environmental impact of drilling/fracking. AB 1414: Forestry, timber harvesting; This would remove the planning and environmental impact restrictions on timber companies. Less accountability. AB 1009: Income tax, credits, full time employees, hires; This has been amended to expand the parameters of what a qualified employer is while keeping the size of the qualified business the same, 20 or less. AB 1370: Public Utilities Commission, policies, ratepayer’s interest; This would redefine ‘rate payer’s interest as well as require that activities that benefit ratepayers be measured by the program’s impact on rates and costs and benefits of the program from the perspective of ratepayers. There are also a number of high speed rail bills today as well.
4/26- AB 569: Business Licensing, Business Master License Center; This bill shifts licensing authority from the government to a 3rd party facilitator from the business community through the establishment of a new electronic master license system. It would also impose a new master license fee on top the required fees to obtain a specific license. AB 1160: Personal information; This bill would prohibit a purchaser of alcohol from required to show their proof of age if they look older than 40 years old. AB 52: Healthcare coverage, rate approval; Would require insurance companies to file with the Department of Managed Health Care or the Department of Insurance a rate application for any rate change on top of 60 days written notice to policy holder. AB 88: Food labeling, genetically engineered food; Requires a GMO label on all genetically modified salmon sold in the state. AB 493: Electronic benefits transfer cards, use restrictions; This prevents EBT cards from being used outside of California and from being used on alcohol or tobacco products. AB 373: CalWORKS, time limits for aid; Shortens the amount of time a person can be on the program from 5 years to 2 years. AB 12: Sexual Exploitation of a Minor; Increases the fine for pimping, or procuring a minor for prostitution form $5,000 to $25,000 which would go to the Victim-Witness Assistance Fund. AB 613: Ammunition; Removes certain safety provisions giving more people more avenues to procure ammunition with anonymity. AB 996: Criminal Gangs and Drug Cartels; This would double penalties and fines for known gang members who commit crimes.
4/27- AB 273: Regulations, economic impact; Gives big businesses more political influences by requiring the Department of Finance to use numbers, provided by the businesses themselves, to help determine whether or not a regulation is good for the economy. AB 691 does more of the same but with regards to agricultural regulations and businesses. AB 719: Special Education, funding; This makes current guidelines, set to expire in July, permanent. AB 23, AB 148, AB 162, AB 253, and AB 276 all give more transparency to local government and make financial interests more available to the public.
That’s about it this week for the Assembly. A full list of hearings for both the Assembly and Senate can be found here: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/ It also allows you to follow certain bills as they make their way through the system as well as the vote tally for each one.
I highly encourage those who are interested in what goes on in their government to be proactive and make their voices heard. Question how bills like AB 273 and AB 569 which reduce safety and environmental regulations, and give business more influence in our government, will help out the economy. Encourage more bills like AB 996, and take our society back.