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Amid End-of-Session Scramble, CEQA Bill Moves Forward



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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 9, 2011

Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg announced the idea to streamline the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process late Thursday night, ahead of Friday's end-of-session deadline.

A handful of Senate Democrats abstained or voted no.  But most, like Sen. Ted Lieu, voted aye.

Lieu: "Why are we jamming this bill through at the end of the session? I'm gonna tell you why - because we have 12 percent crushing unemployment.  Those people can't wait.  We need to get this done.  We need to get it done now."

Many Senate Republicans supported the measure, but not all.  Sen. Sam Blakeslee said it's too ambiguous and contradictory to be effective. 

Blakeslee: "How can a project both simultaneously not require any taxpayer financing and be a public works project? (Makes buzzer noise)  Nobody applies.  Good.  Okay, I like the remedy but nobody applies.  Not many jobs there!"

The Assembly approved the measure later Friday.

Meantime, the Senate also passed a similar measure that would speed the construction of a Los Angeles football stadium.

Both bills now go to the governor.

Elsewhere at the Capitol...

The tax package Governor Jerry Brown negotiated with two Assembly Republicans stalled in the Senate late Friday night despite passing the Assembly Thursday.
 
In addition to strong Republican opposition in the Senate, several Democrats abstained and one, Sen. Lou Correa, voted no.
 
But a bipartisan measure that would allow Amazon and other online retailers to delay collecting sales tax until late next year passed both chambers and now goes to the governor.
 
Also, a deal reached by Democrats and business groups that would tweak the state's regulatory system is headed to the governor's desk as well.
 
Meanwhile, Democrats pushed through some bills over strong Republican opposition - including one that would place all initiatives on November general election ballots, rather than June primaries.
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