SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Latest on action by the California Legislature (all times local):
The cornerstone of an agreement to reform California’s battered utilities regulator has died in the final minutes of the legislative session.
The bill would have taken oversight of most state-licensed carriers including airport shuttles, moving companies, recreational trip services, flight schools and the ride-sharing industry away from the Public Utilities Commission.
Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles says his bill lost to the clock “and maybe some stubbornness” by Republicans in the Senate.
The push to reorganize and add transparency to the commission followed allegations it was too cozy with the companies it regulates.
AB2903 was one of four bills Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown negotiated with lawmakers intent on reform.
Lawmakers advanced the other three. They would require increased disclosure of utility documents, closed-door meetings and performance reports.
An effort to send more than $3 billion in bonds to state and local parks in California has died at the tail end of the legislative session.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon on Wednesday opted not to let a proposal advance that would have asked voters to approve the funds to build and restore parks and to address a backlog in maintenance at state parks.
De Leon authored legislation that laid the groundwork for the last major investment in local parks.
A review by The Associated Press found that fewer than half the parks funded by that program are unbuilt a decade later.
AB2444 from Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia of Coachella would have sent $1 billion to that program.
Garcia says he hopes to revive the proposal in January.
Lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown legislation to spend up to $1.1 billion in high-speed rail bonds to help electrify the Caltrain system in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The state Assembly approved AB1889 by Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin of South San Francisco late Wednesday.
In addition to freeing up the funding, the legislation changes the current wording of existing law to say that California’s $64 billion high-speed rail does not have to be up and running for electrification projects to be funded.
Bay Area officials hope electrification of a 55-mile corridor of track from south of San Jose to San Francisco will speed up travel times and train frequency.
Critics say the high-speed rail bond voters approved in 2008 does not allow spending on such projects.
Legislation that would automatically enroll California nearly 7 million California workers in retirement savings accounts is heading to Gov. Jerry Brown.
It’s an attempt to confront the growing concern that millions of workers are financially unprepared to retire.
SB1234, approved Wednesday on a 27-12 vote, would create a state-run retirement program workers who don’t have an employer-sponsored plan, many of them in lower-wage positions. Employers would be required to enroll workers and deduct money from each paycheck, though workers could opt out.
Supporters say requiring workers to opt out will make them less likely to do so, allowing them to develop a retirement nest egg.
The financial services industry is aggressively lobbying Brown for a veto, warning the proposal is built on a shaky financial footing.
The California Legislature has approved legislation focused on improving balcony construction and making contractors more accountable in the wake of a fatal balcony collapse in Berkeley last year.
Under SB465, building standards experts would study how to construct better balconies and whether additional information on contractors’ criminal backgrounds would benefit the public.
The Senate and Assembly voted without opposition to send the bill to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Thirteen college students were on a fifth-floor balcony when it fell in June 2015. Six were killed, most of them Irish students studying abroad. City officials found the structure’s wooden support beams were rotted by water damage.
The measure would also require licensed contractors to report to the state any felony convictions or crimes related to the building industry.
California lawmakers have approved a Planned Parenthood-backed bill that would make it illegal to distribute secretly recorded conversations with a health care professional.
The legislation approved Wednesday responded to last year’s release of secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials allegedly discussing the illegal sale of fetal tissue. The organization said the videos were deceptively edited.
The bill created tough choices for some liberals who wanted to protect Planned Parenthood but worried about restricting free speech rights. The bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles, agreed to changes designed to protect journalists.
Republican Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine says it protects an industry that destroys life. He voted against it.
With a 44-20 vote in the Assembly, AB1671 goes to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Lawmakers are rejecting two bills that would have required lobbyists to report their attempts to influence the California Coastal Commission.
The bills came after commissioners voted behind closed doors this year to fire their executive director, Charles Lester. Critics claim that developers and lobbyists influenced that decision.
Several lawmakers agree more transparency is needed, but they failed to muster the votes needed to pass reforms on Wednesday.
AB2002 fell short on a 22-13 vote in the Senate. It would have required anyone lobbying commissioners to file disclosure reports with the state and publish summaries of one-on-one meetings.
SB1190 would have banned private meetings between commissioners and the people they regulate on many decisions about land use.
Lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown another bill to reform the beleaguered commission that regulates public utilities.
Democratic Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo says SB512 focuses on improving citizen access to the Public Utilities Commission.
The commission regulates privately owned electric, gas and telecommunications companies, railroad safety and transportation providers. But critics say it is too cozy with the industries it oversees and too slow to respond to safety issues.
SB512 requires commissioners to consult with those likely to be affected by their decisions. The commission would also have to describe online how members of the public and ratepayers can affect the commission’s decisions. The legislation also expands what must be included in the commission’s annual report to the governor and Legislature.
Senators approved it on a 32-6 vote Wednesday.
California lawmakers are approving legislation to put state taxpayers on the hook for up to $250 million if Los Angeles is awarded the 2024 Olympics and the Games go over budget.
The Senate voted 36-1 to send SB1465 to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
LA Olympics boosters say the state guarantee would bolster their case against rivals seeking the games in Paris, Rome and Budapest, Hungary. LA officials insist their budget is sustainable, uses minimal new construction and has insurance protection. They also say the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were profitable.
Critics say the guarantee is not a good use of tax dollars.
The state provided similar guarantees for Los Angeles’ bid for the 2016 Olympics and San Francisco’s attempt to land the 2012 games.
Pull out those jean jackets, California, because lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown a bill to designate denim as the state’s fabric.
With the two-year legislative session deadline looming at midnight and hundreds of bills left to vote on, lawmakers took time Wednesday afternoon to debate whether jeans are the right fit for California.
Republican Assemblywoman Shannon Grove of Bakersfield rose to ask whether there was a connection between AB501, 501 jeans, Levi’s and the first four letters of the bill author’s last name — Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine of San Rafael. He says there is not.
Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego asked whether the California Wool Growers’ Association had any stance. Levine says there is no opposition.
The Assembly approved the measure 59-3.
Uber and Lyft would have to conduct background checks on all drivers and lay off certain criminals under a bill California lawmakers are sending to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
AB1289 advanced after bills seeking to impose stricter regulations on the ride-hailing industry failed in the Democratically controlled Legislature this year.
The bill would outlaw application-based transportation companies from employing drivers who are registered sex offenders, violent felons or terrorists. It would also ban people convicted in the last seven years of assault, domestic violence or driving under the influence.
Companies could be fined up to $5,000 per banned driver.
Uber and Lyft terms and conditions require riders to agree the companies aren’t liable for their safety in the car.
The Assembly passed AB1239 on a 58-4 vote Wednesday.
The California Legislature has approved a measure to end surprise medical bills from out-of-network doctors.
The bill is promoted by labor union and patient advocacy groups that say patients shouldn’t get stuck with the bill if they visit a hospital that accepts their insurance but are seen by a doctor who doesn’t.
AB72 would establish a rate for doctors to be paid in such circumstances and creates an independent review board to resolve disagreements.
Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Alameda says the legislation provides strong consumer protections against such surprise medical bills and suggests it will serve as a model for the rest of the nation.
The Assembly approved the bill 70-0 Wednesday, sending it to the governor. It now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for his consideration.
Employees of smaller California businesses could take up to six weeks of family leave under legislation lawmakers are sending to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill affects businesses with 20 to 49 employees, expanding on an existing law that governs businesses with 50 or more workers.
Businesses wouldn’t have to pay the worker, but Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara says employees could apply to a state program to receive partial wages. She says nine other states have small business programs.
Senators approved SB654 24-12 on Wednesday over the objections of the California Chamber of Commerce, which labels it a job killer.
A previous version was stuck in a committee controlled by Democratic Assemblyman Roger Hernandez of West Covina. It was revived after Hernandez was stripped of his committee assignments.