SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Summer is over for lawmakers, and the legislative session has started back up Monday after a month-long break. Waiting for them at the Capitol are hundreds of bills that need to be voted on or else they will be dead or in purgatory.
“This is the crazy time in the legislature for the last month of session,” UC San Diego Political Science Dean Than Kousser said.
Some of the big ones include SB 866 which allows teens 15 and older to get vaccinated without parental consent and AB 2408, which allows prosecutors to sue social media companies for using addictive features.
“There are a number of legislative bills that respond to Supreme Court rulings that happened this summer," Kousser said. "So you see dozens of bills that are looking to preserve access and abortion rights, and you see bills that are designed to redesign California's concealed carry permit system.”
One of the more controversial abortion bills is AB 2223, which would prevent any criminal action against women who experience pregnancy loss.
However, there’s Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal, CARE Court (SB1338), aimed at helping the homeless crisis which would force those deemed mentally ill into treatment and housing. It already passed the senate by a unanimous vote, and now it needs to pass the assembly.
“The real opposition that seems to be emerging are the people saying 'Wait, hold on a minute. It’s the counties that would actually have to carry this forward that would have to provide that housing, provide all of those services, and be held to account to the tune of $1,000 fines per day if they didn't provide that,'" Kousser said. "So counties are asking for some steps to make sure that they can actually implement this vision for how to address some of the most needy Californians.”
Still many questions are left unanswered.
Another bill, SB 1162, would require companies with more than 100 employees to disclose how much they pay their employees by race, ethnicity and sex.
The list of bills goes on to include one that would decriminalize the use of psychedelics and one that would allow the state to negotiate fast food workers wages.
The hearings where the public could officially give a three-minute statement are over, but Kousser said the tensions are only heating up. Lawmakers are still listening to the public, unions, lobbyists and others before they cast their final vote.