One of the thorniest is how to deal with a federal court order requiring the state to release nearly 10,000 prisoners by the end of the year. Democratic Speaker John Pérez calls the ruling “absolutely wrong” but says lawmakers will discuss how to comply with it.
“That process also includes some significant conversations between legislative leaders in both houses and both parties with the governor to see what all is possible and then what there is the will to get done,” Pérez told reporters at the Capitol Monday.
The speaker also said he expects bills that would regulate the oil and gas extraction technique known as “fracking” and raise the minimum wage to pass - though he suggested there's less support to tie future minimum wage increases to the consumer price index. He said he doubts that overhauls of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and unemployment insurance system can pass this year.
“Huge, huge problem,” Pérez said of the unemployment trust fund's $10 billion debt to the federal government. “Not sure that we can get it fixed in the next six weeks. It’s gonna take broad-based buy-in with the employer community as well, because any solution would require an increased contribution both from employers and employees.”
There are still about 1,100 bills awaiting action before lawmakers adjourn for the year in mid-September.