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California Legislative Review

By John Lunde | October 16, 2018

 California - Adjournment Graphic

California adjourned its 2018 formal legislative session on August 31, with lawmakers wrapping up an extensive legislative agenda. Democrats, who hold supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature, successfully pushed through a number of major initiatives this year, including the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act. Similar to recent privacy rules adopted by the European Union, AB 375 requires companies to inform state residents of how businesses are using their personal information and makes it easier for Californians to opt out of allowing businesses to sell their information. Another groundbreaking signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown (D), SB 826, requires corporations’ boards of directors to include at least one female.

Legislative Highlights

  • On June 27, Brown signed the state’s $201.4 billion budget into law after the legislature approved it on June 14. Among its provisions, the budget provides $78 billion for K-12 education, $500 million for programs to combat homelessness and $90 million for outreach programs about the 2020 census. The budget also allocates a large amount of funds for the state’s rainy day funds, infrastructure projects, and state higher education programs.
  • Legislators passed a net neutrality bill (SB 822) that bars internet service providers from blocking or slowing specific types of content or applications or charging apps or companies fees for faster access to customers.
  • California aims to reduce its carbon footprint with the passage of SB 100. The bill mandates that the state’s electricity supply come from a variety of renewable resources and zero-carbon sources by 2045. Brown signed the bill into law on September 10.
  • The legislature passed a major criminal justice reform bill, AB 1793, that requires the California Department of Justice to review marijuana convictions and pinpoint cases where dismissal, review, or re-sentencing would be deemed suitable.

Election Preview

Californians head to the polls on November 6 to elect a new governor, 20 of the 40 state Senate seats, and all 80 seats in the Assembly. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D) will face off against businessman John Cox (R) in the general election, where Newsom is heavily favored to win. Currently, California is one of eight states that have a Democratic trifecta where the governorship, state Senate, and state Assembly are controlled by Democrats. To regain control of the state Assembly, California Republicans need to gain 16 seats. However, it is unlikely to happen, as Democrats have held the Assembly since 1997.

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