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Capitol Roundup: Crunch Time As Legislature Nears End Of Session

  

The California Legislature has its ultimate deadline coming up. Session ends on Wednesday. That means any bills not voted on will have to restart the entire process of passing both chambers next year.

The Assembly plans to consider more than 250 bills in the three remaining days. The Senate has another 170 requiring action.

Still, that’s well ahead of pace from previous years. Sessions have routinely stretched until midnight in the final week, and lawmakers have considered hundreds of bills in a day.

High-profile pieces of legislation expected to come up include a measure that would require farmers to pay their workers overtime after an eight-hour day.

A package of measures that would add oversight and peel off responsibilities from the California Public Utilities Commission could also pass.

Here are Friday's updates from the Capitol:

Lawmakers Approve School Bus Alarm Bill

(AP) - Legislation intended to prevent children from being left unattended on parked school buses is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.

A bill approved unanimously in the Senate Friday comes in response to the death of a 19-year-old autistic boy, Paul Lee of Whittier. Lee was left for hours on a hot school bus.

SB1072 would require school buses to have child safety alarms. The alarm sounds when the engine is turned off and requires the bus driver to walk to the back of the bus to turn it off.

Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza of Artesia says deactivating the alarm would remind the driver to check for children still on board.

Governor Brown Signs Bill Banning Coal-Export Funding

(AP) - California Gov. Jerry Brown is signing legislation to ban state transportation funding for new coal export terminals.

The Democratic governor's decision on Friday comes as environmental groups wage an aggressive campaign to block the export of coal from West Coast ports to satisfy Asia's rapidly growing demand for energy.

Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock of Oakland introduced the legislation in response to a developer's proposal to build a coal terminal in Oakland with the help of funding from the state of Utah. The developer, Phil Tagami, is a friend of Brown.

The Oakland city council effectively killed that project in June, but the legislation would make it more difficult for developers to build elsewhere.

Critics of the legislation say it may violate federal law and treaties.

The bill has no formal opposition.

12-month Birth Control Bill Goes To Governor

(AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown will decide whether California women should be able pick up a 12-month supply of hormonal birth control in one trip to the pharmacy.

Insurance companies generally cover 30 or 90 days of birth control at one time. SB999 would require them to cover a full year if a doctor prescribes it.

The state Senate voted 30-6 Friday to send the measure to the Democratic governor.

Supporters argue birth control is most effective when taken consistently. They say longer supplies would reduce skipped doses and bring fewer unintended pregnancies.

Insurance groups are opposed. They wanted to require that a patient be stabilized on the medication before receiving a full year's supply.

The California Right to Life Committee is concerned about contraceptives' consequences on women's health.

 

 

Ben Bradford

State Government Reporter

As the State Government Reporter, Ben covers California politics, policy and the interaction between the two. He previously reported on local and state politics, business, energy, and environment for WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Read Full Bio