February 2020 Legislative Update

After a 3-hour democratic caucus meeting last Wednesday, nearly a 2-hour floor debate, SB 50, a Habitat for Humanity supported effort, failed passage. However, another hard-pressed bi-partisan effort was revived on Thursday morning as soon as the minority leader’s (Senator Shannon Grove) plane touched ground at Sacramento International Airport. Despite another intense push before the first house deadline, the Pro Tempore, Senator Wiener, and the Governor’s staff could not whip one more Democrat to vote for SB 50.

Despite the 6 month hiatus in the fall, not enough detail and effort was put into SB 50 to settle many issues that had been raised by numerous stakeholders in the Spring 2019 and many Senators were concerned that these differences were not settled before they were asked to vote for it on the Senate Floor.

The rivalry between the LA delegation and Northern California members on this bill also became clear during the floor debate. Senate Majority Whip Hertzberg and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee Portantino spoke out against the bill and brought many of their Southern California colleagues with them.

The Senate Pro Tempore gave a very powerful speech as she adjourned the session after the vote. She acknowledged how difficult moving a bill as significant as SB 50 is and compared it to the 6-year effort it took to pass the “permanent source bill”, which ultimately became her SB 2 in 2017. However, she spoke very definitively that there is a consensus that “the status quo is not acceptable” and she demanded that all the “opponents come to the table with alternatives and prepare to compromise” in the very near future.