The Latest: California nixes temporary cut for pot taxes

May 16, 2019 GMT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on action by the California Legislature (all times local):

3 p.m.

A proposal to temporarily lower taxes on marijuana products in California likely will not pass the state legislature this year.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta has proposed a bill that would cut taxes on marijuana to 11% from 15% to help licensed marijuana retailers compete with the illegal market. The bill did not make it out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

The proposal comes as tax collections have been far less than anticipated during the first year recreational marijuana has been legal California. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration lowered marijuana revenue estimates by $223 million.


Bonta’s proposal would have lowered revenue by an additional $227 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Lawmakers did advance a bill to make it easier for marijuana retailers to use banks.


1:56 p.m.

California lawmakers will not vote this year on a proposal to expand the state’s new data privacy law.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra had called on state lawmakers to pass a law that would allow consumers to take companies to court over violations of the new Consumer Privacy Act scheduled to take effect next year.

But the chairman of a key Senate committee said Thursday the bill would not move forward.

Privacy advocates have rallied behind the legislation, arguing it would ensure accountability in the tech industry.

Major tech companies like Amazon and Facebook lobbied lawmakers about the legislation. Business groups opposed the bill, suggesting it would be a boon for trial lawyers while tying up businesses in litigation.


1:45 p.m.

California lawmakers have delayed a proposal to make Election Day a statewide holiday.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to delay action for one year on Assembly Bill 177 that would have closed schools and given all state employees a day off on Election Day every other November.

Backers argued the bill could have boosted voter turnout.

But legislative staffers estimated providing a day off or overtime to state employees would have cost California’s government tens of millions of dollars.

California law already requires employers give workers who do not have time to vote before or after their shifts up to two hours off with pay to cast a ballot.

Colorado lawmakers this year also considered a turn Election Day into a holiday. But that measure did not pass.



12:45 p.m.

California lawmakers won’t move forward this year on a plan to build denser housing in some single-family-home neighborhoods and closer to transit stations and jobs.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to make the proposal a two-year bill, meaning action will be delayed until next year.

The legislation was one of the more contentious proposals related to California’s housing storage. Backers including tech companies and trade unions have argued allowing more homes around transit stations and loosening other rules could curb California’s housing crunch.

But critics say the measure threatened to change the character of some neighborhoods, worsen traffic and override local decision makers.

State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, says he’s disappointed by the move.


12:15 p.m.

A California legislative committee has stripped the $1 billion in funding from a bill to protect homes against wildfire through home improvements.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday removed the spending from a bill by Democratic Assemblyman Jim Wood.

It comes after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom declined to commit to the spending last week. He’s said he would work with the Legislature to find money and “we’ll try to do our best.”

A spokeswoman for Wood says he’ll continue fighting for spending.

Wood’s proposal would have given $1 billion in financial assistance and rebates to people in high fire risk areas to harden their homes, such as by making their roofs fire resistant.

Californians can already get up to $3,000 to retrofit their homes if they live in earthquake zones.