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Capitol Roundup: Bills Advance, Stall On Busy Thursday

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers sent dozens of bills to Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday, while moving many more toward final votes.

A bill that would ban commercial drones from flying too low over private property narrowly passed the Senate – despite strong opposition from the drone and electronics industries, and online retailers like Amazon. It now moves to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, as does urgency legislation that would ban homeowner associations from issuing fines for replacing grass with artificial turf. That measure won approval in the Assembly.

The Assembly also sent equal pay legislation back to the Senate for a final vote. Governor Brown has already promised to sign that measure if it reaches his desk. And the Senate approved six anti-tobacco bills, including the regulation of e-cigarettes and raising the tobacco age from 18 to 21. Those measures are part of a special legislative session on health care financing, and their fates are not yet clear.

Guest Worker, Minimum Wage Bills Blocked

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders blocked dozens of measures Thursday by holding them in legislative committees.

They include bills that would have:

  • banned offshore oil drilling in protected coastal areas
  • created a guest worker program for agriculture workers living in California illegally
  • required state agencies to identify and revise duplicative and out-of-date regulations
  • provided whistleblower protections to legislative employees, and
  • tightened conflict-of-interest rules for local elected officials.

A $5/hour minimum wage increase also stalled. Assembly leaders promised to find a new approach next year that addresses the different needs of urban and rural parts of the state.

The Senate and Assembly Appropriations committees considered more than 400 bills combined. Most were cleared for full floor votes over the next two weeks.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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