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    Two Visions of America by Don Jans

    In CA Legislature, 500 bills beat the deadline


    California doesn’t really need 2,600 new laws, right?

    Nevertheless, state lawmakers proposed 500 new bills on Friday, the 2023 session’s introduction deadline, bringing the total to about 2,600. That’s the most in more than a decade, according to veteran Capitol lobbyist Chris Micheli. More than 1,000 are “placeholder” bills without specific language. Reminder: More bills are typically introduced in odd-numbered years, the first year of the Legislature’s two-year sessions.

    Last year, when about 2,000 bills were introduced, the Legislature passed almost 1,200 of them — and nearly 1,000 became law with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, including ones on wage transparency and housing.

    Some of the new bills tackle California’s hot-button issues. Assembly Bill 3 by new Assemblymember Jasmeet Bains, a Democrat from Bakersfield, would increase oil production in California just as the state aims to scale back fossil fuels to battle climate change. Her bill, proposed in the special session called by Gov. Gavin Newsom on an oil profits penalty, would require 60% of all crude oil refined in California to be produced in the state in 2030 and 50% in 2035. California now produces only about 30% of its crude oil, while the rest is imported from South America, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, Sen. Dave Min, a Democrat from Costa Mesa, introduced Senate Bill 559 to end offshore oil drilling in California’s waters.

    Another hot topic: the fentanyl crisis, which has spurred nearly two dozen bills introduced since December. Last week, bills were introduced by Republican Assemblymember Jim Patterson, from Fresno, and Democratic Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, from Stockton. Both bills seek to increase the penalties for selling the drug. And Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, a Democrat from Oakland, introduced SB 287, which would make social media platforms liable for promoting the illegal sale of fentanyl to minors.

    Here are a handful of other key bills introduced last week to beat the deadline:

    Housing and homelessness 

    Health care

    Workers’ rights

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