Deadline week: These are the big issues Brown left for the last minute

October 05, 2015 | Christopher Brown

By Patrick McGreevy The Los Angeles Times

With one week left to act on nearly 500 bills, Gov. Jerry Brown is besieged by vigils, rallies, petition drives and phone calls from people wanting his signature or veto on legislation.

Brown can no doubt hear the loud rallies held on the Capitol steps. Meanwhile, his office mailbox has been stuffed with letters urging action on a proposed new system for regulating the sale of medical marijuana, help for women who want equal pay from employers and approval of a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients so they can hasten their deaths.

“Input from supporters and opponents is one of many factors weighed in assessing legislation,” said Deborah Hoffman, a spokeswoman for Brown.

The governor has until the end of Sunday to act on most of the measures still crowding his desk. He has until midnight Wednesday to decide on the assisted suicide measure.

 

Assisted death has been one of the year's most contentious topics

The governor has received petitions signed by about 1,000 Los Angeles police officers, firefighters and others urging him to sign the End of Life Option Act. The letters are a show of support for former LAPD Det. Christy O’Donnell, a single mother whom doctors have given just a few months to live because she has terminal lung cancer.

Californians have debated the issue for about two decades. The push to legalize assisted dying gained new momentum after another terminally ill California woman, Brittany Maynard, moved to Oregon last year to legally obtain a lethal prescription and end her life.

Supporters include: California Assn. for Nurse Practitioners, California Assn. of Marriage and Family Therapists, California Church IMPACT.

Opponents include: Assn. of Northern California Oncologists, California Catholic Conference, California Disability Alliance.

The medical marijuana industry has a big stake in a different issue

Brown’s office helped draft three bills that would set up a regulatory scheme to license and oversee the growth, transport and sale of marijuana. So the governor is expected to sign those bills, nearly two decades after California voters legalized medical cannabis.

The Legislature passed the bills anticipating that state voters will legalize recreational use of the drug next year. Several groups are aiming potential measures at the November 2016 ballot to give Californians that option.

Supporters include: Americans for Safe Access, representing medical marijuana patients.

Opponents: No organized opposition has come forward.

Brown will probably also sign an equal pay bill

The governor has signaled his plans to OK a bid to eliminate pay gaps between men and women in California. The legislation generally would prohibit employers from paying workers less than wages paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work. It also would protect employees who ask co-workers what they are paid and then challenge their bosses to prove that disparities are not the result of bias. It has been called one of the nation's most aggressive measures.

Supporters include: California Women's Law Center, California Chamber of Commerce and California Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO.

Opponents include: The California National Organization for Women, which says the bill should include protection for categories such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability status.

It's not clear how the governor will act on these measures

A proposal to automatically register to vote people who obtain driver’s licenses at the DMV, unless they opt out
Require law enforcement agencies to get warrants before accessing emails and other electronic data on smartphones and laptops
Mandate the state’s two main retirement systems to divest from the coal industry.
Prohibit the use of antibiotics on farm animals unless prescribed by a veterinarian for an infection or disease. This bill would outlaw the use of antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals.



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