E-bikes, homelessness, ambulance bills and other updates on proposed state laws from North County lawmakers
The California State Legislature has adjourned until Aug. 14 for summer recess. Lawmakers face several key deadlines when they return, including the last day for for the Senate and Assembly to pass bills on Sept. 14, and the last day for Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign or veto bills one month later.
Here is an update on some of the bills pending in the Legislature that have been authored by the San Diego delegation, including North County’s representatives:
Catherine Blakespear, D-38th District
- SB 7
- This bill would require the state to include “homeless” as an income category in the Regional Housing Needs Allocation process, which requires communities throughout the state to zone for more housing at multiple income levels.
- SB 7 was approved by three Senate committees, but it will be held as a “two-year bill” that will be considered again in the second year of the 2023-24 legislative session.
- “I understand it’s a tough budget year, but I would argue nothing is more important right now than to address the state’s homeless problem in a smart, universal way,” Blakespear said in a statement. “I will continue to advocate for the approach SB 7 takes, and work to pass the legislation and policy in whatever way possible.”
- SB 482
- SB 482 is designed to provide housing for homeless families and residents with disabilities. It was approved by the state Senate, as well as the Assembly’s Housing and Community Development committee.
- “We know that many people who are unsheltered need more than just housing, they need mental health care or substance abuse treatment or other support,” Blakespear said in a statement. “SB 482 ensures that housing that provides needed services to the homeless can be more easily financed.”
Brian Jones, R-40th District
- SB 31
- The city of San Diego’s controversial homeless encampment bill, along with similar local laws in other cities, has led to speculation on a potential state law. SB 31 would provide a system to “compassionately” clear encampments near schools, daycare centers, parks and libraries — including 72 hours of notice before an encampment sweep to give the people living there a chance to move, and officers would have to give them information about shelters, mental health services and other resources.
- SB 31 stalled in committee and won’t make it to the governor’s desk this year, but it could be reconsidered.
- SB 236
- Through SB 236, district attorneys would receive funding for “vertical prosecution” that allows the same prosecutors to stay with human trafficking cases from beginning to end, as opposed to having different prosecutors on each phase of the process.
- The Senate approved the bill on May 31, and it passed its first committee hearing in the Assembly on June 27.
Brian Maienschein D-76th District
- AB 367
- With the proliferation of fentanyl coming across the border, AB 367 would add up to five years of additional prison time for anyone who causes “great bodily injury” to another person through fentanyl distribution. Fentanyl deaths have been on the rise throughout the country.
- The Assembly’s Public Safety Committee voted to reconsider the bill, so it won’t make it out of the Legislature this year.
- AB 1214
- This bill would allow defendants in certain cases to continue appearing remotely. It was approved by the Assembly unanimously on May 22 and approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 20.
Tasha Boerner, D-77th District
- AB 530
- As e-bike collisions continue to rise, local leaders have been looking for ways to make the roads safer. AB 530 would require an online written test and a state-issued photo ID for riders who don’t have a driver’s license, and it would ban children 12 and under from riding e-bikes. It’s still working its way through committee and will not be signed into law this year.
- In a statement, Boerner said it will be “a long process” to get these regulations approved, but the bill is a “critical starting point that we’ll continue to work to develop through meetings with stakeholders this fall.”
- AB 716
- AB 716 would require the Emergency Medical Services Authority to report maximum allowable rates for ambulance service, putting an end to surprise bills that many patients receive after getting emergency care. The bill was approved by the Assembly on May 30, and by the Senate Health committee July 5.
- “The last thing anyone should be thinking about during a medical emergency is whether they can afford the ambulance ride,” Boerner said in a statement. “AB 716 will prevent consumers from being hit with those surprise bills for ground ambulance service, protect the uninsured, and help ensure that the costs are better covered for the heroic work of our firefighters and paramedics.”
Chris Ward, D-78th District
- AB 2
- With the growing popularity of rooftop solar in California, AB 2 would add a solar panel end-of-life recycling program. The bill was approved on the Assembly floor May 25, and approved by the Senate’s Environmental Quality committee.
- AB 599
- Instead of automatically expelling students for possession of drugs or other controlled substances, AB 599 would require the state Department of Education to develop a model that brings together schools, community organizations, health professionals and others to address students caught with drugs. After being approved on the Assembly floor, the bill has been approved by the Senate Education committee.
- Ward, who had eight bills approved by the Assembly and headed to the Senate, said in a statement that he is “thrilled to see these bills move forward in the legislative process.”
- “Our state has many ongoing challenges, but I am humbled to work on legislation to address them. I will continue to push for solutions to improve the lives of Californians, protect the environment and build more affordable housing,” he added.
Sign up for the Encinitas Advocate newsletter
Top stories from Encinitas every Friday for free.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Encinitas Advocate.