Budget Subcommittee Spotlight: 3/30/23

Subcommittee #1 (Education)
Laird (D-Santa Cruz) Chair, Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), Min (D-Irvine) & Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles)

The subcommittee did not meet this week.

Subcommittee #2 (Resources, Environmental Protection, and Energy)
Becker (D-Menlo Park) Chair, Dahle (R-Bieber), McGuire (D-Healdsburg)

Money from Doomed High-Speed Rail Should Support Real Improvements Elsewhere. During discussion of the state’s Cap and Trade program, Senate Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) pointed out the environmental and financial folly of continuing to spend that money on High-Speed Rail when higher priorities exist for California. Senator Dahle pointed to a nonpartisan report that recent price increases have caused financial hardship for six in ten California households, and further stated, “It doesn't make sense anymore to spend 25 percent of [Cap and Trade revenue] on programs like the High-Speed Rail every year, which won't impact emissions for 30 to 40 years, at best… Sadly, that $18 billion [spent so far on High-Speed Rail] is less than 15 percent of the $128 billion needed to complete phase 1 of the project that will get us a rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Those billions of dollars being wasted on High-Speed Rail would be far better spent maintaining our forests or reducing the regulatory burden this state places on small business owners struggling to comply with the ever-changing regulatory environment.”  
Subcommittee #3 (Health and Human Services)
Menjivar (D-San Fernando Valley) Chair, Grove (R-Bakersfield), Eggman (D-Stockton), & Roth (D-Riverside)

Statewide Restroom Police? In an example of government overreach, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requests 9 permanent new staff and $1.4 million annually to enforce access to private restrooms under a bill passed last year, AB 1632. The bill allows people with medical conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, to gain access to a business’s employee restroom if the person presents a CDPH form signed by a doctor. Throughout the process last year, CDPH stated this was a no-cost bill, but now the department wants to hire a team to investigate, enforce, and fine businesses statewide that are deemed non-compliant. CDPH even wants to establish a database to track and shame “violators,” despite the fact that the bill has no such requirement. Not surprisingly, business groups are concerned with the department’s plan to go beyond the law. Senate Republicans support medically necessary access to restrooms, but cannot support the creation of a restroom police force bent on harassing the state’s businesses. The subcommittee held the item open until May.  

Subcommittee #4 (State Administration and General Government)
Padilla (D-San Diego) Chair, Niello (R-Fair Oaks), & Caballero (D-Merced)

The subcommittee did not meet this week.

Subcommittee #5 (Corrections, Public Safety, Judiciary, Labor, and Transportation)
Durazo (D-Los Angeles) Chair, Seyarto (R-Murrieta), & Newman (D-Fullerton)

The subcommittee did not meet this week.