Legislature Wraps Up for the Year

The Legislature completed its work for the year early Saturday morning, sending several budget-related bills to Governor Brown’s desk, while scuttling the Governor’s last-minute tax deal along with bills that would have modified some of the changes to redevelopment that were enacted earlier this year. Significant bills passed by the Legislature include:

  • SB 202 (Hancock), which moves a state spending cap measure from the June 2012 primary election ballot to the November 2014 general election ballot. The spending cap measure – ACA 4 – was placed on the ballot as part of the October 2010 budget agreement. SB 202 also requires all future initiatives and referenda to be placed on November general election ballots.
  • ABX1 16 (Blumenfield), which makes changes to the “realignment” framework included in the June 2011 budget agreement. The state transferred funding and responsibility for a number of programs and services, including foster care, mental health services, and some criminal justice functions, to the counties in 2011-12.
  • ABX1 17 (Blumenfield), which revises certain provisions of the criminal justice realignment. Under this component of realignment, counties will assume responsibility for “low-level” offenders and parolees – generally defined as those who have committed non-violent, non-serious, non-sex crimes – beginning on October 1, 2011.
  • ABX1 32 (Blumenfield), which delays a potential $10-per-unit community college fee increase from the winter term to the summer term of the 2012 calendar year. This fee increase is included in a package of $2.5 billion in cuts to a range of state services that would be triggered next year if 2011-12 revenues are estimated to fall below the level assumed in the June 2011 budget agreement.
  • ABX1 21 (Blumenfield), which extends a tax on managed care plans through June 30, 2012. The tax will raise an estimated $207 million in 2011-12, approximately half of which would be used to partially fill a $130 million funding gap in the Healthy Families Program caused by state budget cuts.
  • SB 335 (Hernandez), which extends a fee on hospitals through December 31, 2013. The fee will provide more than $300 million for the Medi-Cal Program in 2011-12.

The Senate rejected the Governor’s last-minute tax deal – ABX1 40 (Fuentes) in the Assembly and SB 116 (De Leon) in the Senate – which would have provided costly new tax breaks at a time when California faces budget gaps into the foreseeable future, as we noted in a blog post last week. Two bills related to redevelopment also failed. ABX1 25 (Blumenfield) would have provided additional flexibility to redevelopment agencies to make annual payments as required by the June 2011 reforms. ABX1 31 (Calderon) would have exempted a single redevelopment project in Whittier from one of the key provisions of the reforms, a change that would have reduced funding for public schools in that area.

—Scott Graves and Hanh Quach