By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — California lawmakers in both chambers plowed through hundreds of bills in the suspense file on Thursday, completing a bi-annual process where fiscal bills are advanced or killed with little public discussion as to why.
Lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate Appropriation Committees unloaded the suspense files in an hours-long process Thursday, advancing hundreds of measures while quietly dooming others. The process occurs twice a year – once in May and once in August – and bills that pass advance to the floors of the Senate and Assembly.
Several high-profile bills advanced on Thursday, including legislation backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to compel people with mental health and substance use disorders into treatment via CARE Courts. That legislation, which has faced strong opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union and Disability Rights California, will next be heard on the Assembly floor.
Other bills advanced by Senate and Assembly lawmakers on Thursday include:
— Senate Bill 1479 by Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, which would require schools to develop COVID-19 testing plans under guidance from the California Department of Public Health.
— Senate Bill 485 by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Burbank, to expand the Motion Picture Tax Credit through 2030.
— Assembly Bill 2223 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, that would prevent a pregnant person from being “subject to civil or criminal liability” based on their pregnancy outcome, including “miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion.”
— An amended version of Assembly Bill 2097 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, that would prohibit a public agency in a county with a population of more than 600,000 people from enforcing minimum parking requirements for new development within half a mile of public transit.
— An amended version of Assembly Bill 2011 by Assemblymember Wicks to streamline approval for 100% affordable housing projects in commercial-zoned areas and set certain labor requirements for developers.
— Senate Bill 834 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, which would revoke the tax-exempt status of California nonprofits that “participate in or incite efforts to overthrow the United State government or any state government.”
Several bills also saw their demise Thursday, when they were unceremoniously “held in suspense.”
Bills that the committees killed on Thursday included:
— Senate Bill 1377 by Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, which would have allowed a tax deduction equal to court costs and attorneys fees “included in income by a taxpayer” in litigation cases involving claims of a consumer protection violation.
— Assembly Bill 411 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, which would have asked voters in 2024 to authorize $600 million in bonds to continue funding affordable housing projects for low-income veterans.
— Senate Bill 1357 by Sen. Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, to increase property tax exemptions for disabled veterans.
— Assembly Bill 1995 by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, which would eliminate monthly Medi-Cal premiums for pregnant residents, children and people with disabilities.
State lawmakers have just a few weeks left to mull the remaining measures on the Assembly and Senate floors. The last day for each chamber to pass bills is Aug. 31.
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.