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Katy Grimes

Pattern developing in reform bill killings

It’s the first day of May. If you haven’t noticed, the California Democratic Supermajority is killing all reform efforts. And the targets are not just Republican bills.

Just yesterday, the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality killed a bill which would have stopped the California Air Resources Board from assessing a very expensive administrative fee on California colleges for implementation of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

SB 497, by Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, said the committee’s failure to approve the bill will likely result in fewer students being able to attend California’s higher education institutions, and higher tuition costs for those who do.

The Senate Education Committee killed SB 441, by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, which would merely have suggested school districts around the state to assess the performance of teachers and school administrators.

This week SB 453, by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, was also killed. SB 453 would have allowed school districts to make staffing decisions based on performance evaluations and factors other than a teacher’s simple date of hire.

“Similar legislation introduced by Senator Huff three years ago was stopped by the Senate Pro-Tem (Darrell Steinberg) and denied a vote on the Senate Floor to enable a ‘cooling off’ period so more so called ‘stakeholder’ meetings could take place,” Huff said in a statement after the hearing. “A year later, the Chair of the Senate Education Committee stopped the bill from moving forward, claiming that more time was needed to work on the issue. This year the Democrats have once again walked away from kids.”

Democrats on the Assembly Public Safety Committee blocked legislation by Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, to improve the supervision of registered sex offenders once released from state prison.

Assembly Bill 1334 would have the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation supervise the parole of all registered sex offenders upon release from prison.

“Under the Governor’s public safety realignment law, only sex offenders that are determined to be ‘high risk’ are subject to state parole supervision,” Conway said in a statement. “Those who are not considered ‘high risk’ – including felons convicted of sexual batter, lewd and lascivious conduct with a child 14 years of age or older, or the production of child pornography – are instead released to community supervision. They are also not subject to GPS monitoring.”

And the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6, killed an important transparency bill Tuesday before it was even heard. Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R- Modesto, hadn’t even testified on ACA 4 before the bill was sent to the suspense file by the committee. This tactic prevented the committee members from even voting for or against increasing transparency in state government.

ACA 4 would have ended the last-minute gut-and-amend process and require that proposed legislation be in print for 72 hours before a vote can be taken. This would allow lawmakers and the public to review and analyze bills before they are votes on.

The Senate Committee on Public Employment and Retirement voted last week to kill two bills which would have preserved the state retiree health care benefits for public employees by reigning in escalating costs. SB 774 and SB 775, by Sen. Mimi Walters, were killed on party line votes.

And earlier this week, the Assembly Public Safety Committee refused to pass two tough on crime bills, AB 1123 and AB 63, by Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, which sought to increase penalties for gang members and for parolees who remove their GPS tracking devices. The bills, were killed on party-line votes with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition.

This is just a sampling. There are many other reform bills that have been killed. Next I’ll highlight some of the bad bills being passed.

cross posted at CalWatchdog

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