Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees decide fate of hundreds of bills

As the Legislature winds down in the last few weeks before adjourning for the year, the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees met today to decide which bills will remain on the suspense files, which are effectively dead for the year and which will move to the respective floors.

Following is a brief rundown of which bills survived and which ones were halted, becoming 2-year bills (eligible to be heard after Jan. 1, 2018).

Bills of Interest Passed by the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees

AB 1479 by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) would allow a judge to impose civil penalties on an agency that fails to comply with the California Public Records Act. Despite CNPA’s concerns, the bill was amended to include a provision that makes it virtually impossible for a judge to levy the penalty. CNPA has since removed its support.

SB 19 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) would allow, among other things, an action to enforce the requirements of the California Public Records Act (CPRA) to be filed in superior court rather than in an appellate court or the state Supreme Court. Under existing law when a requester wants to legally challenge the denial of a request by the PUC he or she must do so by filing a petition for writ of mandamus in the Supreme Court or a Court of Appeal.

SB 345 by Senator Steve Bradford (D-Compton) would require, on and after January 1, 2019, each state and local law enforcement agency to conspicuously post on its Internet Web site current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and education and training materials not prohibited from disclosure under the CPRA.

Bills of Interest Held by the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees

SB 21 by Senator Jerry Hill would require law enforcement agencies to submit to their governing bodies at regularly scheduled open public hearings, proposed Surveillance Use Policies for the use of each type of surveillance technology used and the information collected. The bill would require the policy and any amendments to be posted on the agency’s internet web site and require each agency to make specified reports, at approved intervals, concerning the use of surveillance technology, and to make those reports available on the agency’s internet web site.

SB 162 by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) would prohibit growers, retailers and distributors from advertising or marketing cannabis or cannabis products in a manner intended to encourage persons under 21 years of age to consume the products. The prohibition would include all advertising of cannabis or cannabis products through the use of branded merchandise, including, but not limited to, clothing, hats, or other merchandise with the name or logo of the product.

AB 660 by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-West Covina) would amend existing law to make it unlawful for a person to misinterpret the law or to interfere with those attempting to transact business with the agency and refuse to leave. The bill was introduced to help address a growing problem arising at several county clerks’ offices in Southern California where individuals offering to “assist” those who are required to file a fictitious business name (FBN) statement with the County Clerk’s office have exhibited threatening behavior toward the potential filers.

SB 135, by Senator Bill Dodd (D- Santa Rosa) would require the creation of school curriculum to promote critical thinking about the information students consume, as well as internet-specific training on how to consume and share news and advertisements. The bill was introduced to address the “fake news” phenomenon by educating students to be critical consumers of all kinds of media.