It’s a marathon this week at the California state Capitol, as lawmakers in the state Assembly and Senate look to pass hundreds of bills before a deadline.
All bills have to pass out of the chambers where they were introduced by Friday—Senate bills need to get out of the Senate; Assembly bills out of the Assembly.
All measures move to the other chamber, and the marathon voting will continue through at least Thursday.
Among dozens of measures passed Tuesday, the Senate voted to ban foreign contributions to political candidates and to ask voters to lift a ban on public financing in elections. Another Senate bill would prohibit smoking at state parks and beaches.
Drivers who fail to pay minor traffic violations would not have their licenses suspended, under another bill passed by the Senate.
Senator Bob Hertzberg told colleagues low-income drivers who can’t afford to pay high fees are unfairly punished.
“You shouldn’t lose a driver’s license because you can’t afford these enormous costs associated with tickets,” Hertzberg said. “And so we’ve decoupled this.”
The bill also would allow courts to waive a $300 fee for failure to appear, if they determine the person did not intentionally skip court.
The legislation is the latest in a series of attempts by lawmakers, the governor and the courts to lighten the effect of traffic fines on low-income drivers.
The bill could cost courts millions of dollars each year to hold hearings and determine if drivers intentionally missed their court dates.
Legislation passed in the Assembly could allow immigrants who are in the country illegally to get insurance through the state health care exchange.
Under another bill, youth sports clubs would have to adopt concussion protocols.
The California state Assembly also voted to add another initiative to the already crowded November ballot.
Law enforcement agencies say Proposition 47, which reduced many nonviolent criminal sentences, had an unintended consequence. The 2014 initiative turned theft of items under $950 into misdemeanors, which they say includes firearms.
On a two-thirds vote, the Assembly approved a ballot initiative that would allow firearm theft to be charged as a felony.
The ACLU of California says there are other state and federal laws that make it a felony to steal a gun.
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