January 10, 2022
Weideman Group Weekly


Back in Action

The California Legislature is back in Sacramento for the 2022 legislative session and so is omicron. The new COVID-19 omicron variant has taken a little of the excitement out of back to session – causing both houses of the legislature to limit the number of staff in the Capitol – but lawmakers are forging ahead introducing new measures, considering two-year bills that were introduced last year and getting ready for the Governor’s unveiling of his state budget proposal on Monday. The Capitol has figured out how to function during a pandemic so we expect an active 2022 session regardless of where omicron or other variants take us.

2022 Transitions

The first week of the 2022 session has been filled with announcements by sitting incumbents. In the Senate, Senator Connie Leyva, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, announced she will not seek reelection, thus avoiding an intra-party race with Senator Susan Rubio. In the Assembly, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, announced he will not seek reelection in the Assembly and Assemblymember Kevin Kiley has announced he will run for Congress instead of running for reelection. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Chair of the powerful Assembly Appropriations Committee, resigned on Wednesday to transition to her new role leading the California Labor Federation. Speaker Rendon has appointed Assemblymemember Chris Holden to succeed Gonzalez as the new Chair of Assembly Appropriations, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia as the new Chair of Assembly Utilities and Energy, and Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan as Chair of  Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife. On the Administration side, California State Transportation Agency Secretary David Kim also announced he’ll be stepping down from his role effective January 14th. Governor Newsom is tasked with appointing a new CalSTA Secretary.

Single Payer Redux

Assembly Bill 1400 by Ash Kalra, commonly known as the single payer bill, is set to be heard in Assembly Health Committee after it was shelved last year. Assemblymember Kalra has introduced an accompanying bill, ACA 11, which is the funding mechanism to pay for a new system that would abolish private health care and institute an entirely government run program. AB 1400 is set to be heard on Tuesday and Assemblymember Wood, Chair of Assembly Health Committee, released a statement on why he will be voting in support of AB 1400. If the bill garners the necessary votes on Tuesday, it will still have to pass Assembly Appropriations by January 21st and a full house vote by January 31st before it moves to the Senate. Fiscal estimates of previous single payer proposals have indicated an expected cost of $400 billion to implement in California.

Mask Up

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced that California will be extending its mandatory indoor mask mandate until February 15th. The indoor mask mandate was set to end on January 15 but amid the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, it is being pushed out a month. For the first time since the height of the pandemic, California is seeing a positivity rate of over 21%. Dr. Ghaly stressed that the state is not currently considering any mandatory closures for schools or businesses, and is seeing overall hospitalizations from COVID-19 remaining lower than previous surges. NFL fans know the Superbowl is scheduled to be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on February 13th, Secretary Ghaly and the NFL have indicated that they fully expect the game to be played in California.

Drought Restrictions

The California State Water Resources Control Board adopted new regulations that would prohibit overwatering yards, washing cars without a shutoff nozzle, hosing down sidewalks or watering grass within 48 hours after rainfall, as well as using potable water to irrigate grass, using potable water for street cleaning or construction purposes, and using potable water for decorative fountains. Violating this new ordinance could lead to fines of up to $500. The ordinance will be in place for one year.