It took about 25 seconds for the Senate Appropriations
Committee to pass - and amend - a closely-watched bill would
regulate fracking in California.
The same happened for several high-profile gun control
measures, a statewide plastic bag ban and the Democratic Senate
leader's effort to overhaul California's landmark environmental
About 70 of the more than 250 bills did not pass - most
notably, taxes on soda, tobacco and oil drilling.
Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) says her oil severance tax
was rejected at a critical time, as oil companies ramp up the
controversial extraction process called "hydraulic
"Fracking is set to expand - whether we like it or not - on a
monumental scale," Evans says, "and unless we have a tax in place
to tax the oil extracted by fracking, we will never be able to do
In all, the committee blocked bills that would have spent a
combined $3 billion from the state's general fund and raised a
combined $5 billion.
The measures that moved forward would spend about $340
million. They face a deadline of next Friday to pass the Senate
Bill Allowing Some Non-Citizens to be Poll Workers
Meanwhile, the California Assembly has passed a bill that
would allow legal permanent residents who aren't U.S. citizens to
serve as poll workers during elections.
Asm. Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) says his measure would help
citizens who don't speak English well cast their ballots.
"Legal permanent residents have the right to buy firearms in this
country. They can serve in the U.S. Military. They're
required to pay taxes. This bill simply asks that they also
be allowed to serve at the polls," he says.
But Republican Rocky Chavez, who says he's a strong backer of
immigration reform, says this bill would detract from the
importance of earning citizenship. "I'm so excited what we're
doing here to support immigration. I support everything we've
been doing on it. But I also think we need to keep certain
elements restricted to citizens," he says.
The measure passed the Assembly on a party-line vote of
48-22. It now moves to the California Senate.