Written by Amanda Angulo
Last Friday was the deadline for lawmakers to submit bills that they deem necessary to be considered in this year’s legislative session.
Republican Sen. Brian Jones submitted 21 bills, the largest bill package out of the other local lawmakers in San Diego. Sen. Jones represents Santee and portions of East County.
One of his bills requires the state to keep churches open even during a state of emergency; a clear indication that Sen. Jones will work to protect our First Amendment right to exercise religion freely. He also wrote bills aimed at reining in some of Newsom’s powers during the pandemic, making social workers eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine sooner, keeping elderly sexual offenders from being released from prison early, and increasing penalties for people who steal packages.
Republican Sen. Pat Bates, who represents northern San Diego and southern Orange County, has submitted 10 bills. Among the bills she submitted, one seeks to revive a bill that would create a task force that focuses on studying the Southern California fentanyl crisis. She also submitted bills to keep court proceedings open for certain criminal offenders and targeting the state’s Motor Voter program.
Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonazlez has submitted 18 bills. Whereas our local Republican lawmakers have submitted bills that ensure the safety and protection of their constituents, Gonzalez has submitted bills meant to attack businesses. She is pushing for the strengthening of unions, increased sick and family leave, protections for fast-food workers, and the ability for unemployment benefits to be direct deposited; among other things. Previous bills proposed by Gonzalez, like Assembly Bill 5, have done much damage. AB 5 decimated the gig economy and took away the freedom of freelance workers by forcing them to become employees. It has been subject to criticism from all sides of the political spectrum.
Republican Assemblyman Randy Voepel has proposed 11 bills. One seeks to establish a pilot program that will teach students financial literacy, meaning that it will teach students the ability to understand and effectively use financial skills like management, budgeting, and investing. Another bill would work to ensure availability of school meals.
Lastly, Assemblywoman Marie Waldron submitted eight bills. Waldron argued that Democrats are ineffective leaders and is taking action against the Employment Development Department. She has composed bills that would implement with tight deadlines for the department to respond to claims. The EDD is responsible for shelling out millions in unemployment payments to people who shouldn’t have gotten them, including death row inmates and crime syndicates overseas.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune