Lawmakers on the Assembly floor at the Capitol on March 27, 2023. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./CalMatters)
Just in time to head home for Memorial Day weekend, lawmakers tore through a bunch of bills late this week to beat the even bigger deluge next week, when there’s a Friday deadline. to pass the remaining bills through the house where they were. inserted.
Some of the bills passed include:
- concealed carry: When the US Supreme Court struck down a New York State law in 2022, it resulted in the relaxation of concealed carry permit requirements. To limit the spread of concealed weapons, this bill passed by the Senate on Thursday would add more weapons training requirements and add more public places to the list where Californians cannot carry their concealed weapons.
- Legislative union: The Assembly bill that would give legislative employees the right to unionize passed Thursday. It has been modified to ensure that political affiliation does not influence the composition of bargaining units. Although previous efforts failed, the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor, D-Inglewood, told CalMatters that this year, “the political will is here.”
- Fossil fuel divestment: Democratic Sen. Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach wants to divest investments in fossil fuel companies from state employee and teacher pension funds. Opponents argue that the bill would reduce diversification and investment returns. And according to the appropriations committee, divesting from these companies would cost the state employees’ retirement fund between $75 million and $125 million in one-time transaction fees and $31 million for teachers.
- fentanyl crisis: After a marathon 5-hour committee meeting Wednesday on the fentanyl crisis, the Assembly on Thursday passed several fentanyl-related bills, including legislation that would create a fentanyl task force, prioritize cooperation between state and local law enforcement to crack down on trafficking. , increase fines for dealers, and expand the accessibility of Narcan.
- End the travel ban: In 2016, California banned state-sponsored travel to states it deemed anti-LGBTQ. Amid criticism that the ban has hindered more people than it helped, Senate President Acting Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, wants to repeal it and instead set up a marketing and advertising campaign that promotes the “Social equity, civil rights and anti-discrimination”.
- Protect abortion providers: To strengthen protections for California abortion providers, this bill proposes to protect them from civil actions outside of the state where abortion is illegal, and prohibits the California Department of Health Care Services from automatically suspending providers from the Medi-Cal program if they were disenrolled from Medicare and Medicaid for providing abortion services.
- Decriminalize psychedelics: Despite the California District Attorneys Association arguing that psychedelics “have no federally accepted medical use and have a high likelihood of misuse,” the Senate passed a bill to decriminalize certain hallucinogenic substances , which some veterans have been known to use to treat PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
And to stay alive, they changed some bills:
- minimum wage in health: Healthcare workers advocating for a wage increase are supporting Sen. María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, and her bill to increase her hourly minimum wage to $25 starting in January (current minimum wage is $15.50). But the bill was changed to increase the wage to $21 an hour by June 2024 and $25 by June 2025.
- ebony alert: To bring more attention and resources to missing black youth, Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, wants to establish an “Ebony Alert” for missing children and youth between the ages of 12 and 25. The bill was amended with more specific circumstances in which the alert can be issued, including if the missing person has a disability or is missing under suspicious circumstances.