In a marathon end to the 2020 California legislative session, state lawmakers passed a flurry of bills
responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing protests against police brutality and racism—while it let other bills die without a vote.
Deliberating up until a midnight deadline on Sept. 1, the Legislature acted to extend eviction protections for renters impacted by COVID-19; ban police chokeholds and neck restraints; require that employers inform their employees about COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace; and exempt some workers from last year’s controversial independent contractor law—among others that now await Gov. Gavin’s Newsom signature.
Newsom signed a few bills right away—including the eviction measure and a ban on flavored tobacco—and he has until Sept. 30 to consider the rest.
Assembly Bill 3088 delays all evictions in the state due to unpaid rent until February 2021. The law requires tenants to pay at least 25 percent of their future rent between September and February to avoid getting evicted, and it does not forgive any past rent owed since March. Starting in March 2021, landlords can start pursuing unpaid rent in small claims court.
FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
BUYING TIME A new state law extends a statewide eviction moratorium until February 2021—but tenants still owe their missed rent.
While both tenant and landlord groups opposed parts of the bill, the compromise passed the Legislature easily. San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon expressed her gratitude for the measure in a Sept. 1 Instagram post.
“So grateful for this,” Harmon wrote. “The city of SLO has over 62 percent renters, and people need this type of support during this historically challenging time.”
Other bills in the mix did not make it out of the legislative session. Senate Bill 977, introduced by local Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel)
, which would’ve strengthened the state’s oversight of hospital mergers, did not make it off the Assembly floor. The bill came in response to data showing that unchecked hospital consolidation is driving up medical costs.
“The outcome of SB 977 today represents a win for the large health care conglomerates that monopolize the health care marketplace,” Monning said in a Sept. 1 statement. “We have failed to protect Californians and failed to protect their right to affordable, accessible health care from anti-competitive, market manipulation. We will continue to fight to achieve a fairly regulated health care marketplace.”
Among the other bills to fail in Sacramento were two police accountability measures—a bill that would’ve allowed police officers to lose their certification after acts of misconduct, and a bill that would’ve opened more officer misconduct records to the public. ∆