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Ahead Of Session’s End, Lawmakers Sift Hot Topic Bills

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Sacramento, CA –Just two weeks ahead of their annual recess, state lawmakers are swiftly sifting through hundreds of bills, some of them involve contentious topics.

Among the lot are proposed laws relating to children’s vaccinations, police-involved shootings, firearms, consumer housing, and privacy. Whatever ones that successfully pass through both chambers ahead of this year’s session ending on Sept. 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom will have about a month to mull, ahead of penning his approval or rejection.

SB276, awaiting passage in the Assembly and final action in the Senate, cracks down on doctors who provide families with what health officials say are bogus medical exemptions from having their children vaccinated. The bill, which Newsom negotiated with Democratic Sen. Richard Pan, would give state health officials oversight of doctors who grant more than five medical exemptions per year and schools with vaccination rates of under 95 percent. Critics say the bill interferes with parental choice and doctors’ decisions.

Newsom earlier signed a law allowing police to use deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent death or serious injury. A law enforcement-sponsored companion bill would require training for officers in de-escalating confrontations. Advocates say the combination would give California the most sweeping response yet to public outrage over police shootings.

Firearms legislation under possible consideration includes a proposal that would limit sales of the type of rifle used in recent shootings at a Poway synagogue and a Gilroy food festival. Another “red flag” effort would let employers and co-workers seek gun-violence restraining orders from judges if someone poses a significant danger of harm and if less restrictive alternatives have been ineffective. The restraining order would require the subject to surrender their firearms.

Consumer Privacy, Housing, ‘Utility Assistance’ For PG&E

While California passed a law last year that come Jan. 1, forces companies to tell consumers what data they collect about them and allows consumers to refuse to let that data be sold, lawmakers are currently considering several amendments and an exemption for employers collecting employee data. These bills have passed the Assembly and are awaiting Senate action.

While most of the other bills intended to help ease California’s housing crisis failed to pass this year, AB1482 from Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu still appears to be under negotiations as it was sent Friday to the Senate Rules Committee. It would cap annual rent increases at seven percent plus inflation until 2023. It would not apply to landlords leasing fewer than ten single-family homes or to properties built in the past decade.

Lawmakers set up a fund to help utilities pay for future wildfire claims. However, as lawsuits against Pacific Gas & Electric continue to plague the company, which has been in bankruptcy proceedings since January, a contingent led by Republican Assemblyman Chad Mayes is fanning controversy with a bill that would allow it to borrow against future profits to help pay its past claims.

AB5 seeks worker protections from companies like Uber and Lyft as it would require them to treat their drivers like employees, guaranteeing a minimum wage and workers compensation among other protections. If passed, the law would become the nation’s strictest of its kind, potentially setting a precedent for other states.

Opposing companies maintain that workers want to maintain their independent status because it gives them flexibility. These employers are trying to negotiate with Newsom and unions over a separate bill with different requirements for gig companies; some of them, such as. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, are threatening to spend millions on a California ballot measure if they can’t make a deal.