2013 California Legislation


The Best and Worst of 2013

By Randy Shaw

Beyond Chron

Post- presidential re-election years are rarely memorable, but 2013 was an exception. Nationally, fast food, Walmart and other low-wage workers engaged in their most powerful strikes and protests in decades. President Obama was spurred to call growing inequality the defining issue of our times, reaffirming the Occupy movement's chief message. Immigrant rights activists battled all year for immigration reform, winning Senate passage and putting House Republicans on the defensive.

Brown Vetoed 'Wiser Choice' in Drug Possession Prosecution with SB 649

By Dan Aiello

California's drug laws will remain steeped with inconsistent consequences for those convicted of simple possession after Governor Jerry Brown's October veto of a bill to make unlawful possession of certain controlled substances, including opiates, punishable as either a felony or as a misdemeanor.

Current law mandates a felony charge for possession of any opiate-based narcotic, while allowing for other drugs like L.S.D. and Methamphetamine to be "wobblers," allowing local District Attorneys to prosecute as either felony or misdemeanor.

"Ban the Box" Helps Forge Strong Labor-Community Alliances

By Maurice Emsellem

National Employment Law Project

At the National Employment Law Project (NELP), where we advocate for low-wage and unemployed workers, some of our most inspiring moments have come from being involved in campaigns where labor and the community work together for greater economic justice.

California Must Foster the Takeoff of Electric Vehicles

Assemblymember Phil TingBy Assemblymember Phil Ting

Editors note: On September 28th, 2013 Governor Brown signed into law the bills mentioned in this post.

Green living is the future. But the power of our everyday actions to aid the environment can only be unleashed when green choices become a bigger part of our lives.

Brown Signed Bill Creating "Environmental Platform" to Expand Fracking

By Dan Bacher

Governor Jerry Brown on Friday, September 20 signed Senator Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4 - a controversial fracking bill that the head of the oil industry lobby admitted will clear the path to expanding the environmentally destructive oil extraction process in California.

“While SB 4’s requirements went significantly farther than the petroleum industry felt was necessary, we now have an environmental platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA).

Legislative Session Concludes with Environmental Progress and Hurdles

By Rebecca Saltzman

California League of Conservation Voters

The first year of the 2013-14 legislative session concluded in the wee hours last Friday morning. In the final days of the session the legislature considered a number of CLCV's and the environmental community's priority bills, many of which we had been working on since the early days of the year with the help of our members and allies.

Industrial Hemp Bill On Its Way to Governor Brown

By Ali Bay

Legislation that allows California farmers to be prepared to grow industrial hemp upon federal approval has cleared both houses of the legislature. SB 566, authored by Senator Mark Leno, would permit growers in the Golden State to cultivate industrial hemp for the sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers and businesses that currently rely on international imports for raw hemp products. The bill, which is co-authored by Assemblymember Allan Monsoor, R-Costa Mesa, and has received strong bipartisan support in both houses, would go into effect once the federal government lifts its ban on hemp cultivation.

Steinberg's Prison Plan

Author Brian LeubitzBy Brian Leubitz

The prisons are a mess. However, things can get worse. My friend, and SF School Board member, Matt Haney co-authored an op-ed in the SF Chronicle with Van Jones about the governor's position on the issue:

Gov. Jerry Brown confirmed this week that he is pulling his prison policies out of a 1980s playbook. It is heartbreaking to watch our nation's most famous Democratic governor cling to outdated, lock 'em up notions that even conservatives are abandoning in droves.

Senate Suspends Anti-LifeLine AB 1407

By Randy Shaw

Beyond Chron

On August 19, tenants from San Francisco’s Central City SRO Collaborative (CCSRO) hit the halls of the state capitol and got the Senate Appropriations Committee to stop AB 1407, the Anti-LifeLine bill, in its tracks. There has been growing opposition to AB 1407 as word spread that it would shift control of LifeLine from the California PUC to AT&T, raising phone rates for 1.2 million Californians. SRO tenants would be particularly impacted, which is why the CCSRO brought a van full of tenants to tell the legislators that AB 1407 should be defeated. The Appropriations Committee appeared to share the tenants concern, suspending the bill until it could have more time to assess its impact. In Sacramento terms, that’s a big victory for LifeLine.

SB 440: Strengthening Pathways to Four Year Degrees

By Michele Siqueiros

The Campaign for College Opportunity

The key to meeting our economy’s demand for a skilled workforce lies within California’s Community Colleges. Serving over two million students annually, community colleges provide an affordable and valuable opportunity in every community across our state and serve a diverse student body. Whether a student is attending straight from high school, part time as they work a full time job and raise a family, or while searching for a new job and trying to upgrade his/her skills, community colleges are California’s gateway to higher education.