The California Legislature begins its final two weeks of work for the year Monday – and the stretch is likely to be tumultuous. Major issues remain unresolved and leadership battles are threatening to wreak havoc with negotiations.
The final weeks of a legislative session are always chaotic, but this year is shaping up to be more so than usual.
Start with the special sessions on transportation and health care funding. Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown want Republicans to support higher taxes on gasoline and tobacco. Republicans want to use existing money for road repairs. The tobacco industry may – or may not – sign off on a tax increase to avoid a larger tax measure on the 2016 ballot.
Then there’s the center-stage battle over new greenhouse gas reduction mandates, which the oil industry is trying to block. And hundreds of other bills await final votes – including medical marijuana regulations and end-of-life legislation.
Complicating all of this: Senate Republicans unseated their leader last week, and both parties are locked in Assembly leadership fights. That could be a major distraction in last-minute deal-making.
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