The Appropriations Committee can be a place where good bills go to die. But despite its reputation, some important legislation made it through Appropriations before the May 21st deadline.
That includes two of my bills, AB 653, which creates a grant for substance use treatments in county jails and for those on supervised parole, and AB 22, a bill I jointly authored to phase in Transitional Kindergarten eligibility for all four-year-olds. Another important education bill, AB 498 (Quirk-Silva) establishes a program to increase the number of teachers trained to instruct students in computer science.
Significant fire prevention legislation is also moving. AB 267 (Valladares), which extends the sunset date on CEQA exemptions for fuel reduction projects on federal lands, and AB 431 (Patterson), to extend the sunset date for defensible space exemptions around habitable structures, have both passed the Appropriations Committee and the full Assembly. AB 579 (Flora), authorizes Cal Fire to purchase protective equipment from either the California Prison Industry Authority or private entities based on department needs and product quality, and AB 1103 (Dahle), creates a pass program allowing agricultural producers or their employees access to their farm or ranch during or after a natural disaster.
To support business, AB 1242 (Bauer-Kahan), continues pandemic relief for restaurants by allowing sale of prepackaged alcohol for off-site consumption for another two years. To rein in business crime, AB 331 (Jones-Sawyer) extends the sunset date for California Highway Patrol’s property crime task force that investigates organized retail theft. And to deal with problems at EDD, AB 110 (Petrie-Norris) will allow data sharing between the EDD and the Department of Corrections to prevent fraudulent unemployment claims by inmates.
These are just a few of the bipartisan bills moving forward in the Legislature this year.