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CA Legislature Introduces 2,124 Bills. They Include Voter ID, Reparations, Daylight Savings Time
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By CalMatters
Published 2 months ago on
February 20, 2024

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Last year, state legislators introduced more than 2,600 bills (most in a decade) and passed 1,046.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 890 bills and vetoed 156 in 2023.

Bills introduced at this year’s deadline deal with voter ID and daylight savings time.


With the dust settled after Friday’s bill introduction deadline, the California Legislature’s count for new bills this year is 2,124.

Lynn La

CalMatters

That includes 1,505 in the Assembly and 619 in the Senate, according to lobbyist Chris Micheli. The total is close to the recent average, though many measures never reach the governor’s desk. That’s because some aren’t really proposed to get there in the first place and others are introduced without tracking whether similar existing laws are working.

Last year, legislators introduced more than 2,600 bills (the most in a decade) and passed 1,046. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 890 and vetoed 156. But with 2024 being an election year, lawmakers seeking reelection may hope to notch a few legislative wins, inked with the governor’s signature, under their belt.

Here are a few interesting bills that made the last-minute deadline:

Artificial intelligence: To curb biases in artificial intelligence technology, Democratic Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan of San Ramon introduced a bill to require developers to analyze whether their AI tools have any potential negative impacts on people based on their race, sex, religion, and other classifications, as well as “prohibit a deployer from using an automated decision tool in a manner that results in algorithmic discrimination.”

Daylight savings: In another attempt to end switching back and forth from daylight savings time, Republican Sen. Roger Niello of Roseville has legislation to establish standard time year-round. But some legislators, such as Republican Joe Patterson of Rocklin, said they prefer the opposite and want to permanently stay on daylight savings time instead. The choice between more sunlight after work or more light in the morning has health consequences, experts say.

Downtown redevelopment: With the backing of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Sen. Scott Wiener has a new bill that would exempt San Francisco from certain environmental laws to speed up affordable housing development and other construction projects. The San Francisco Democrat said this bill, along with another to allow cities to establish “entertainment zones,” will help revitalize the city’s beleaguered downtown.

Elections: To preempt Huntington Beach and other California cities from enacting voter identification requirements, Democratic Sen. Dave Min of Irvine introduced a measure to prohibit local governments from imposing the policy for local elections. Huntington Beach residents are expected to vote on whether to require voter ID after their city council decided last year to add it to the March ballot.

Reparations: Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer has a bill to require the state to formally apologize for “human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants.” The Los Angeles Democrat’s measure, introduced Friday, is part of a package that the California Legislative Black Caucus unveiled in January. Another bill in the package, authored by Inglewood Sen. Steven Bradford, would establish a fund for “reparations and restorative justice.” The caucus is expected to hold a press conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday to give more details on its reparations bill package.

Traffic safety: In response to demonstrations against the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza that have blocked roads and caused traffic delays, Assemblymember Kate Sanchez has a new bill to double fines for protestors who block highways — particularly when it interferes with an emergency vehicle. The Rancho Santa Margarita Repulican’s measure would fine as much as $1,000 for a third offense.

Psychedelic drug therapy
: And one bill back in play includes a political odd couple: Gov. Newsom vetoed a bill last year to decriminalize psychedelic drugs. This session, there’s a narrower bill to allow their use in treatment — and the coauthors are not necessarily obvious suspects.

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About the Author

Lynn La is the WhatMatters newsletter writer. Before joining CalMatters, she developed thought leadership at an ed-tech company and was a senior editor at CNET. She also covered public health at The Sacramento Bee as a Kaiser media fellow and was an intern reporter at Capitol Weekly. She’s a graduate of UC Davis and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

About CalMatters

CalMatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom committed to explaining California policy and politics.

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