On January 6 lawmakers will get back to work on the second year of their two-year legislative session. They have spent December on organizational issues and January will be devoted to introducing new legislation but before they get to the new bills several two-year bills that will be back on the table.
Two-year bills come in two versions. Bills that were introduced last year and did not pass their house of origin will have to be taken up by the end of January. Those that did pass their house of origin can be revived at any time during the legislative session.
For instance, SB 360 (Hill, D- San Mateo), which threatens priests with jail-time if they aren’t willing to break the seal of confession, passed the Senate but stalled in an Assembly committee. It has been moved to a two-year bill and will be taken up sometime before June at the author’s discretion. SB 298 (Caballero, D – Salinas), the plan to reduce childhood poverty by 50 percent in the state by 2039 is also a two-year bill.
Two-year bills the California Catholic Conference will be tracking include SB 673, dubbed Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (Morrell, R – Rancho Cucamonga), which would amend the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) to increase parent oversight of sexual health education of their children and strengthen their right to “supervise” such instruction. Under the bill, supported by the conference, it would be made clear that any sexual health education of students shall be age-appropriate. Parents would also be able to review, through a school district’s website, all materials used in sexual health education well in advance of actual instruction.
Also coming back is AB 15 (Nazarian, D – North Hollywood), which would expand access to higher education through a universal, at-birth, opt-out Children’s Savings Account for every child born in California to assist with college costs. AB 123 (McCarty, D – Sacramento) would expand access to full-day, full-year preschool for all 4-year-olds who live in a neighborhood where more than 70% of students are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals.
Additionally, SB 456, (Archuleta, D – Pico Rivera) would provide protections for places of worship or other faith-based organization from the disclosing personal information of volunteers to a third party without a court-issued subpoena, warrant or order. Volunteers are essential to faith-based organizations and should not have to fear that their service could lead to unexpected repercussions.
Finally, SB 54, the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, would drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste that plagues human health, pollutes our natural environment, and burdens taxpayers/local communities will also likely make another appearance.
Stay tuned with the CCC as these bills move through the Legislature before their January deadlines.