The California state Senate has voted to require public universities to offer medical abortions—pills that terminate a pregnancy. Its passage comes before a key deadline in the Legislature this week.
All bills that do not pass the house where they were introduced by Wednesday are done for the year.
The measure stalled last year amid opposition from anti-abortion groups and resistance from universities, which said they were concerned about cost to students.
After amendments, private grants and funds would pay for the pills, which schools would have to offer at their on-campus health centers.
The bill passed on a party-line vote.
Removable bottle caps bill dies
An attempt to ban removable bottle caps in California will not move forward.
The office of Democratic Assemblymember Mark Stone confirmed the bill does not have enough support in the Assembly to pass this week.
The beverage industry opposed the measure as a burdensome change that would hurt companies. Supporters argue companies, including Crystal Geyser, already widely use caps tethered to the bottle. Stone’s office says he’ll look to author another measure that can help curb bottle cap waste. They are a top form of litter found on beaches.
Smoking ban on beaches passes again, despite Jerry Brown’s opposition
For the third year in a row, the California state Assembly has approved a bill that would ban smoking on state parks and beaches, even though Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed previous measures.
“This is an opportunity to give Governor Brown a legacy, where he gets to sign this bill, rather than a future governor,” said Democratic Assemblyman Mark Levine, the measure’s author.
Brown is notorious at the Capitol for his dislike of the word “legacy.”
In his veto of Levine’s bill last year, he wrote, “If people can’t smoke on a deserted beach, where can they? There must be some limit to the coercive power of government.”
Senate moves forward on California net neutrality
The California Senate has voted to impose its own version of net neutrality on the state, after the Federal Communications Commission overturned the Obama-era policy.
Net neutrality prohibits internet providers from prioritizing one website’s content over another’s. Arguments in the state Senate largely mirrored national ones—Republicans sided with providers against regulation as burdensome, while Democrats called it a necessary protection.
But the state bill faces additional obstacles.
“It’s a solution looking for a problem,” said Republican state Senator Mike Morrell. “It’s going to cause a lot of challenges with the federal government, as well as the other 49 states.”
He’s referring to worry, even among net neutrality supporters, about multiple states adopting differing regulations. The FCC has also tried to prevent states from taking net neutrality action by declaring it a federal issue.
“We don’t believe that a regulatory body has the legal right to preempt states from what they want to do specifically,” said bill author and Democratic state Senate leader Kevin de León. “That’s the job for the Congress.”
De León removed one controversial section of his bill that would have required the state Public Utilities Commission to oversee net neutrality regulation. Instead, the legislation would require internet providers to assert that they will maintain net neutrality in order to receive state contracts and also consider any deviation to breach state consumer protection laws.
The measure now heads to the Assembly.
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