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Alerts:Legislature Works In Earnest
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August 31, 2011
FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                        Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:                 News From the Capitol
On Monday, August 15th the California State Legislature returned from their month-long summer recess, and began the arduous process of dispensing with the many pieces of legislation, as their adjournment date of September 9th looms in the background.  Last week, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees released hundreds of bills from their so-called “suspense files,” a system used by these two fiscal committees which helps them to prioritize any legislation with a cost to the state General Fund in excess of $150,000.   This week the Senate and Assembly have been meeting daily on their respective Floors in order to debate issues ranging from California Forward’s sponsored legislation creating “performance-based budgeting,” the proposed dissolution of the City of Vernon, a ban on the use of shark fins, and other closely watched measures. 
The rush to the finish line, wherein the legislature will have to conclude its work by midnight on September 9th, typically produces some end-of-session procedural high-jinks between the two houses. Additionally, many of the sitting members of the legislature are trying to determine how the new legislative redistricting will or will not benefit their current standing, what their options are for running, and many are concerned with how their votes over the next 6 working days could affect their campaign in 2012.   
Library-related legislation still awaiting action includes:
AB 438 by Assemblyman Das Williams, seeks to impose certain requirements on a city or library district that intends to withdraw from a county free library system in order to operate the library by private contractor. This measure is sponsored by the Ventura Reader’s Book Group and SEIU. This bill is principally opposed by the League of California Cities and Library Systems and Services (LSSI). AB 438 was amended on August 18th, and then again on August 29th, , the latter with some minor, technical amendments. As a result, the bill was not available to be taken up officially on the Floor until today.    CLA is actively “watching” this legislation, as members are aware, and we will be reporting on the content and outcome of the Senate Floor debate as soon as it occurs. 
SB 602 by Senator Leland Yee, would protect the personal information of a user of an eBook by prohibiting a commercial book service provider from “knowingly disclosing to any governmental entity, a user’s personal information related to the use of a book or part of a book, except to a law enforcement or non-law enforcement entity or private person as specified.” (Source: Senate Floor analysis)  Interestingly, since commercial book service providers can save detailed information about a user’s reading habits (such as usage patterns, including e-pages that are tabbed, highlighted, etc.), the sponsor, the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation felt it was important to provide privacy protections for this new source of technology. SB 602 is somewhat complex in terms of its legal tests for how the information can be compelled, and, as such, the California District Attorneys Association recently requested specific amendments to the bill, which were accepted by the author, and addressed their concerns. SB 602 is currently awaiting debate on the Assembly Floor. (CLA position: Support). In the coming days, we will provide you with information regarding how to write the Governor, to request his signature on SB 602.