Thirteen CALPIRG-backed public health, consumer protection, corporate accountability and good government bills have key legislative hearings this week. Here's a list of bills we are watching and hoping that legislators support this week.
Government by the People:
SB 1107, authored by Senators Ben Allen and Loni Hancock, would remove the ban on public financing of campaigns while strengthening regulations against contributions from foreign governments and preventing officeholders convicted of fiscal crimes from using their campaign financing for purposes other than campaigning. SB 1107 is up in the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee on Tuesday, April 19.
Open, Transparent Government:
AB 2002, authored by Assemblymembers Mark Stone, Atkins, and Levine, would officially label those who lobby the California Coastal Commissions “lobbyists” under the Political Reform Act. Members of the Commission would thereby be prohibited from engaging in ex parte communications with lobbyists for 24 hours before hearing a related case. Communications that happen within 7 days of a case will have to be reported. AB 2002 is up in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Monday, April 18.
SB 816, authored by Senator Jerry Hill, aims to prevent corruption on the Board of Equalization, which adjudicates tax disputes in California. The bill will prevent Board members from influencing cases if they have received a contribution of any size from a party involved in a case before the Board within the last 12 months, and require them to disclose these gifts. By doing so, transparency and accountability will increase, ensuring that Californians’ tax disputes are decided fairly and impartially. SB 816 is up in the Senate Elections Committee on Tuesday, April 19.
SB 1398, authored by Connie Leyva, will mandate that public water systems must compile an inventory of all lead water pipes still in use and then provide a timeline for their replacement. Californians should not be exposed to lead in our drinking water. SB 1398 is up in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday, April 20.
SB 887, authored by Fran Pavley, lays out best practices, minimum standards, and crisis response guidelines to help mitigate the present danger posed by out-of-date natural gas wells. It requires better overside and disclosure by DOGGR, improving public transparency. SB 887 is up in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday, April 20.
SB 908, authored by Senator Ed Hernandez, would require insurance companies to notify consumers if their rate has been declared “unreasonable” by regulators, and allow consumers to shop around for different insurance policies. This bill would encourage best practices among insurers. SB 908 is up in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, April 18.
SB 2711, authored by Assemblymember David Chiu, would enhance the efficacy of the Department of General Services’ pharmaceutical purchasing activities and require a report that, among other things, reveals actual savings realized by consumers. SB 2711 is up in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, April 20.
AB 1685, authored by Asm. Jimmy Gomez, would increase the penalties levied on auto manufacturers found to be violating emissions standards and give the state board the authority to order manufacturers to bring their vehicles in line with standards. The bill would require the manufacturer to be in compliance with the state board’s order as a condition for the continued sale of motor vehicles in the state. AB 1685 is up in the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, April 18.
SB 888, authored by Senators Allen, De León, and Pavley, and Asm. Wilk, will help organize responses to leaks like the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak, put the duty of compensation firmly on the gas corporation responsible, and set up a fund to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. SB 888 is up in the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on Tuesday, April 19.
SB 1053, authored by Mark Leno, will prohibit discrimination against renters who rely on housing subsidies. Such discrimination frustrates the central aim of rental assistance programs and increases the harm and severity of California’s housing crisis. SB 1053 is up in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, Aril 18.
AB 2725, authored by David Chiu, will help eliminate food waste improving quality date labelling on packaged foods. Clearer information will prevent needless waste of still-good food, which currently drains natural resources, deprives people of food, and produces large amounts of greenhouse gases. AB 2725 is up in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, April 19.
SB 1282, authored by Senators Ben Allen and Mark Leno, would require labelling of plants and seeds that have been treated with a neonicotinoid pesticide beginning in July 2017. Neonicotinoid pesticides would also be designated as a restricted substance by January 2018. Many consumers are increasingly concerned about the harmful effects of neonicotinoids on the bee populations and want to know this important information. SB 1282 is up in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday, April 20.
SB 1150, authored by Senator Mark Leno, would stop mortgage servicers or lenders from exploiting a loophole in the CA Homeowner’s Bill of Rights that puts surviving heirs in danger of foreclosure and expulsion from their homes upon assuming mortgage loans. Surviving heirs deserve the same transparency and opportunity to save their home as HBOR gave the original borrower. SB 1150 is up in the Senate Committee on Banking Committee on Wednesday, April 20.