2014 Legislative Report- December End of Session Wrap Up

Capitol Image

Election Results: On November 4, 2014, a statewide election was held.  The election brought many changes to the California State Legislature. First, the Republicans took advantage of a traditional dip in mid-term election turnout and gained seats in both the Assembly and the Senate to end Democrats supermajorities in both houses. With the new open primary, there were twelve seats where a Democrat was running against a Democrat and five seats where Republicans were running against another Republican.

The biggest surprise was Democrat Raul Bocanegra losing to a political unknown Patty Lopez.  Bocanegra was in line to be an integral part of the leadership in the Assembly.

An interesting tidbit is that out of 39 city and county officials who ran for state office, 24 won their elections. There were 62% Democrats who ran for office to only 37% Republicans running for office. Of those running for office, 20% were Asian Pacific Islander and 16% were either African American or Latino.

New Members in CalCom Company Territories: There are some new members now representing many of the CalCom companies. This gives CalCom a new opportunity to share our story of how we are vital to the telecommunications infrastructure of the state to these new elected officials. The changes are reflected below:

  •       WAS:  Assemblyman Dan Logue   NOW:  James Gallagher
  •       WAS:  Tim Donnelly   NOW:  Jay Obernolte
  •       WAS:  Roger Dickinson   NOW:  Kevin McCarty
  •       WAS:  Richard Pan   NOW:  Jim Cooper
  •       WAS:  V. Manuel Perez   NOW:  Eduardo Garcia
  •       WAS:  Darrell Steinberg   NOW:  Richard Pan

What to Expect in 2015: The 2014 Legislative Session ended a two-year legislative session (2013-2014).  On January 5, 2015 a new two-year session will begin (2015-2016).

On December 1, 2014 all members of the State Legislature were sworn into office.  There are many new faces as over 27 new members joined the State Legislature.  It looks like many business-friendly Democrats were voted into office as well and as mentioned, no supermajorities in any house.

The real importance of the supermajorities is that while the budget can be approved and passed with a simple majority, it requires two-thirds vote to raise taxes.  Tax changes are bound to be part of the discussion in Sacramento in this new session. Newly elected Senator Bob Hertzberg has already introduced a bill to bring that discussion forward (SB 8) introduced on December 1, 2014.

There are four (4) Senate seats that will have special elections held to fill the vacancies.   They are:

  • Senator Steve Knight’s (R-Palmdale)  – now going to Congress CD 25
  • Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Dublin)  – now going to Congress CD 11
  • Senator Mimi Walters (R-Orange) – ran for Congress CD 45
  • Senator Rod Wright (D-Compton) – Isadore Hall just won that seat last week

The CalCom lobbying team will be bringing these and other issues to your attention as they occur in Sacramento.  It should be a very interesting year.

2014 Legislative Priority Bills: There were many bills of interest to CalCom, including a priority bill of ensuring the California High Cost Fund A and B (CHCF) was extended and signed by the Governor.  SB 1364 authored by Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), extends funding of the CHCF A and B until January 1, 2019.  You may review a complete list of priority bills here