Bills to Limit Concealed Weapons and Decriminalize Psychedelics – Lake County Record-Bee

By Lynn La, Alastair Bland

Just in time to go home for Memorial Day weekend, lawmakers tore through a bunch of bills late last week to beat the even bigger deluge this week, when there’s a deadline on Friday to pass the remaining bills through the house where they were. inserted.

Some of the bills passed include:

  • Concealed Carry: When the US Supreme Court struck down a New York State law in 2022, it resulted in more relaxed concealed carry permit requirements. To limit the spread of concealed weapons, this bill passed by the Senate on Thursday would add more weapons training requirements and add more public places to the list where Californians cannot carry their concealed weapons.
  • Legislative union: The Assembly bill that would give legislative employees the right to unionize passed Thursday. It has been modified to ensure that political affiliation does not influence the composition of bargaining units. Although previous efforts failed, the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor, D-Inglewood, told CalMatters that this year, “the political will is here.”
  • Fossil fuel divestment: Democratic Sen. Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach wants to reduce investments in fossil fuel companies from state employee and teacher pension funds. Opponents argue that the bill would reduce diversification and investment returns. And according to the appropriations committee, divesting from these companies would cost the state employees’ retirement fund between $75 million and $125 million in one-time transaction fees and $31 million for teachers.
  • Fentanyl crisis: After a marathon five-hour committee meeting Wednesday on the fentanyl crisis, the House on Thursday passed several fentanyl-related bills, including legislation that would create a fentanyl task force, prioritize cooperation between state and local law enforcement to crack down on fentanyl. on trafficking, increase fines for traffickers, and expand the accessibility of Narcan.
  • End the travel ban: In 2016, California banned state-sponsored travel to states it deemed anti-LGBTQ. Amid criticism that the ban has hindered more people than it helped, Senate President Acting Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, wants to repeal it and instead set up a marketing and advertising campaign that promotes the “Social equity, civil rights and anti-discrimination”.
  • Protect Abortion Providers: To strengthen protections for California abortion providers, this bill proposes to protect them from civil actions outside of the state where abortion is illegal, and prohibits the Department of Child Care Services from California Medical automatically suspend providers from the Medi-Cal program. if they were disenrolled from Medicare and Medicaid for providing abortion services.
  • Decriminalize psychedelics: Despite the California District Attorneys Association arguing that psychedelics “have no federally accepted medical use and have a high likelihood of misuse,” the Senate passed a bill to decriminalize certain hallucinogenic substances, known to be used by some veterans to treat PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

And to stay alive, they changed some bills:

  • Healthcare Minimum Wage: Healthcare workers advocating for a wage increase are supporting Sen. María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, and her bill to increase her hourly minimum wage to $25, starting in January (current minimum wage is $15.50) . But the bill was changed to increase the wage to $21 an hour by June 2024 and $25 by June 2025.
  • Ebony Alert: To bring more attention and resources to missing black youth, Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, wants to establish an “Ebony Alert” for missing children and youth ages 12-25. The bill was amended with more specific circumstances in which the alert can be issued, including if the missing person has a disability or is missing under suspicious circumstances.

Without taking climate change into account?

Meanwhile, a dispute is brewing among California officials over two of the hottest issues of the century: water supply and climate change.

In a report released Thursday, State Auditor Grant Parks scolded the Department of Water Resources for not sufficiently accounting for changing weather conditions in its water supply forecasting methods, which ultimately affects the management of reservoirs and leads to reduced supplies.

“Despite recognizing the need to do so more than a decade ago, DWR has not fully updated its forecast model and related procedures to better account for the effects of climate change,” the auditor said. His report cited two cases, in 2008 and 2018, when the department admitted that climate change was affecting water supply management and reducing the accuracy of forecasts.

At the center of the dispute is the 2021 water year, a time of drought in which the department “significantly overestimated the state’s water supply,” according to the auditor.

Due to this expected influx, discharges from the reservoirs increased, sending stored water downstream to the ocean. When the predicted mountain snowmelt did not arrive, partly due to higher temperatures, dry soils, and increased evaporation, California entered the summer with less water than it would have with a more accurate forecast.

In their response, department officials said they are in the process of honing their forecasting capabilities, but accurately understanding new and unprecedented weather patterns “requires time, because new tools must be developed to characterize conditions and shape forecasts significantly.

The auditor’s report included a list of recommendations for improving the department’s forecasting methods, better evaluating its own science, and making summaries of that work publicly available — suggestions that department officials said “would apply additional processes and procedures in reservoir operations.

They added: “No amount of paperwork will solve the challenges of climate change.”