Thursday, January 18, 2018

Capitol Update: Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bills, Bills, Bills

The second year of this legislative session is well under way, and there are many bills we are already tracking. And although many new bills are being introduced, there are lots of bills left over from last year, or, "2-year" bills, that have deadlines to overcome quickly or else their fate is sealed. Last Friday was the deadline for 2-year fiscal bills to move out of their first house policy committees and onto their fiscal committees. 282 bills missed this crucial deadline and are now dead. Tomorrow is the deadline for these same 2-year bills to be moved from out of committee and back to their floor of origin, or else they suffer a similar fate. Then, there are the bills that have survived thus far, and we are tracking their progress. Here are some important bills for our members to be aware of:

AB 403 (Melendez, R): Legislative Whistleblower Protection Act- To her credit, Assemblywoman Melendez has been trying to pass this bill since 2012. Now that sexual harrassment and assualt claims are running wild in the Capitol- with two Democrat Assemblymen resigning, a Democrat Senator on leave and another Democrat Senator with several credible accusations in the wings, it is no surprise that the Democrat legislative majority has killed this bill every session since it's inception. But Assemblywoman Melendez persists. Legislative staffers deserve the same whistleblower protections as every other state government employee, and yet, the culture of corruption in Sacramento protects those in power in the Legislature. It is high time that those who abuse their power answer for their sins.

AB 1745 (Ting, D): Assemblyman Ting wants to ban all gas-powered, internal combustion vehicle by 2040. That's right... Assemblyman Ting wants to ban YOUR CAR. The havoc this would cause on our economy alone is enough to kill it. This is so short-sided and a huge government overreach.

AB 1756 (Brough, R): Do you hate the gas tax as much as we do? Assemblyman Brough is trying to repeal SB 1 through legislative channels, while efforts to repeal SB 1 through the ballot box continue as well. Though we don't expect this bill to make it through, it is important to support. Poll after poll have made it clear that Californians do not support the Gas Tax.

AB 1886 (Fong, R): Speaking of the Gas Tax, did you know it was unnecessary? Assemblyman Fong introduced legislation last session that would have fully funded transportation infrastructure repairs and new roads without raising Californians' taxes. That bill failed, but he is trying again, especially in the wake of how unpopular SB 1 truly is. AB 1886 would allocate $5.6 billion in transportation funding for new roads, repairs, and traffic congestion without raising our taxes! The revenue is already there, the funding already exists. Democrats would rather raise our taxes and fees than use our transportation funding mechanism for just that- transportation funds.

SB 827 (Wiener, D): California has a housing crisis, and there have been many ideas and suggestions as to how to fix it. Assemblyman Wiener is from the San Fransisco Bay Area, and his bill would allow for higher, denser, transportation village housing. SB 827 would allow housing buildings near public transportation to be taller, denser, and allow for more dwellings. Sounds like quality living!

SB 834 (Jackson, D)/AB 1775 (Mullin, D): These two bills essentially do the same thing, but they are working different avenues. Both are an affront to President Trump's energy plan, and they seek to stonewall any oil drilling off our coasts. Both bills ban new construction on pipelines, piers, or wharfs in any state coastal waters. This would effectively halt the President's efforts to drill off our coasts.

High Speed Fail

The California High Speed Rail Authority appointed a new CEO this week. Brian Kelly was named CEO and was formerly secretary of the California Transportation Agency, overseeing much of the High Speed Rail development. Revolving door, much? The costs of the High Speed Rail Bond have already doubled since voters approved the measure in 2008, from the original projected $34 billion by 2020 to $67 billion by 2029. The latest quagmire is the 119 miles of track in the Central Valley that will cost over $10 billion, up from the original $6 bllion. Questions of if the state can complete the doomed project now outweigh the support it once received. What once was "when" is now "if". According to the PPIC, more than half of likely voters oppose High Speed Rail. Click HERE to read more.

Primary Ballot Measures

The June Primary Election is closer than we realize! The CFRW will come out with Official Positions on each of the four Primary Ballot Measures. Remember that these measures were put on the ballot by the legislature and that citizen-driven initiatives are only allowed on the General Election ballot. The state legislature referred 3 constitutional amendments to the primary election ballot. Two of them were part of a previous session legislative package. For now, here is a brief description of each measure.

ACA 1 (Mayes, R): Vote Requirement to Use Cap And Trade Revenue Amendment- requires a one time, 2/3rds vote to use revenue from our state's Cap and Trade program in 2024. ACA 1 was part of a legislative deal on the Cap and Trade extension at the end of last legislatve session. It requires the legislative vote threshold to pass a spending plan for the revenue from our state's Cap and Trade program.

ACA 5 (Frazier, D): Transportation and Fees "Lockbox" Amendment- requires that SB 1 (the Gas Tax) taxes and fees revenue be used for transportation purposes only. It also exempts the revenue from SB 1 from the state appropriations limit, or the Gann Limit. This prohibits the state from spending revenue in excess of per-person government spending in 1978-79 (adjusted for inflation and cost of living).

SB 5 (DeLeon, D): The California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act- What a mouthful, right? This issues a $4 billion general obligation bond for parks, environmental protection and water infrastructure. In the weeks to come, we will list the entire allocation of the $4 billion dollars, but for now, know that many, many different grants and water authorities will come into tens of millions of dollars of your money if this passes. From 1993 to present day, the state of California has had 39 bonds on our state election ballots. Of those, the voters have passed 31. Of those bonds, only 6 have been citizen driven. The state currently has $73.33 billion outstanding in general obligation bond debt.

ACA 17 (Mullin, D): Effective Date of Balot Measures Amendment- Currently, our state ballot measures come into effect the day after the election, unless otherwise noted in the measure itself. This measure would make it so when the voters approve a ballot measure, it would take effect five days after the Secretary of State certifies the election. The Secretary of State is required to certify elections no later than 38 days after the election. The rationale for this measure is to account for the increasing vote by mail ballots needed to be counted after the election date.


Our Winter Board of Directors Meeting is just around the corner! Join us in sunny Long Beach as we work to take back our state! We have exciting workshops, speakers, and a sisterhood of Republican Women that can't be beat! Our speakers include TV and YouTube personality, Anna Khait, as well as our banquet speaker, Project Veritas Founder, James O'Keefe. Registration is open and there are still rooms available at the beautiful Renaissance Hotel, for February 9-11th, at our 2018 Winter BOD Meeting! CLICK HERE to register and for more information!

Disclaimer: The Capitol Update is an activity of the CFRW Advocate's Office. The update is for information only. CFRW official positions on legislation are stated immediately preceding the stated legislation or immediately following the stated legislation in this report.