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Assembly Committee Blocks Dam Inspection Mandate, Political Contribution Limit

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Lobbyists and legislative staff rush to pick up copies of the California Assembly Appropriations Committee's agenda for the closely-watched "suspense file" hearing on Friday, May 26, 2017.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

A California Assembly committee has shelved nearly 200 bills for the year, including efforts to toughen penalties for sex offenses and ban unlimited campaign contributions from political parties to candidates.

The sidelining of the measures came as the Assembly Appropriations Committee dispensed with its “suspense file” – the legislative limbo where measures found to have significant costs to state taxpayers are sent to await their fates. Decisions about whether to advance, kill, or amend each bill on the suspense file are traditionally made by legislative leaders behind closed doors.

The committee also killed dozens of proposals to ease the tax burden on Californians. Casualties include bills that would have increased tax credits for homebuyers and renters, expanded the child and dependent care credit, and created an income tax deduction for zero-emission vehicles.

Even pet owners lost out: The committee held bills that would have created an income tax credit for veterinary costs and allowed a deduction for adopting shelter animals.

Other bills the committee blocked would have mandated eye exams for elementary school students and made Election Day a state holiday.

Overall, the Assembly Appropriations Committee passed two-thirds of the more than 500 bills on its “suspense file” agenda Friday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee worked through its suspense file Thursday.

The bills that advanced to the full Senate or Assembly must pass their floor votes by the end of next week.

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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