There was something of a legislative explosion in Sacramento heading to May 17, the deadline for the appropriations committees in both chambers to consider bills with costs attached. The Assembly committee looked at 721 bills to shelve or move to the floor while the Senate dealt with 355 bills.
Perhaps the most surprising bill shelved May 16 was SB 50 by out Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco. The housing bill would have allowed more density in an effort to impact the housing crisis. It had a wide coalition of support and was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times. But it had strong opposition, too, from groups such as the Coalition to Preserve LA, an AIDS Healthcare Foundation off-shoot, that believe developers would gentrify certain areas and forfeit local government control.
Senate Appropriations Chair Anthony Portantino, who represents Pasadena residents that strongly oppose SB 50, said he feared “unintended consequences” and made SB 50 into a two-year bill to be possibly resurrected in Jan. 2020.
Gov. Newsom said he was “disappointed” with the outcome and faced criticism with out Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, who backed her committee chair. “Short of significantly amending the bill and limiting its applications in large swaths of the state, there was no path to move forward this year,” Atkins said in the statement.
Five LGBT bills sponsored by Equality California survived the suspense file hearings while two—AB 650, LGBTQ Mortality Data, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low and AB 758, Strengthening California’s Equal Pay Act, by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, were killed in committee.
The five headed to the floor for votes are: AB 493: Safe and Supportive Schools Act of 2019 by Asm. Todd Gloria (D-San Diego); AB 307: Homeless Youth Grant Program by Asm. Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino); SB 145: LGBTQ Young People Nondiscrimination in the Sex Offender Registry by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco); SB 159: PrEP and PEP Access Expansion by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Asm. Todd Gloria (D-San Diego); and SB 132: Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).
“Each of these bills would advance the health and well-being of LGBTQ Californians, while paving the way for other states to follow in California’s footsteps. We’re grateful to both Committees for their support of these critical policy priorities,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur.
Some of the bills still face twisted anti-LGBT opposition. SB 145, for example, is cosponsored by LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey but is described by the anti-LGBT Capitol Resource Institute as: “SB 154 actually provides an out for a sex offender that clearly intended to lure a minor for the sole purpose of committing a felony sex act on them, so long as the offender is 10 year or less in age to the minor.”
CRI got it wrong. A Myths v. Facts list prepared by Wiener’s office with the LA District Attorney’s office says: “FALSE. Senate Bill 145 does not protect anyone from luring children (under 14 years old) or teenagers (above 15 years old) with the intent to commit sexual assault. Furthermore, no one is shielded from registering if the minor is ever under 14 years old. This bill would not apply in that instance, per PC 288(a).”