With a list of 11 bills in hand – covering issues from nightlife to cannabis, healthcare, housing, transportation, state funding for our local AIDS Monument to proposed new laws on how hotels and restaurants operate – the delegation met with Assembly Member Richard Bloom and Senator Ben Allen, both of whom represent West Hollywood in the State Legislature.
The delegation also met with Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), author of SB 905 which would allow seven cities, including West Hollywood, to extend liquor sales until 4 a.m., and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), author of SB 1302 which precludes local governments from prohibiting cannabis deliveries from nearby localities.
Assembly Member Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and Assembly Member Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) took time to meet with our delegation to discuss our legislative priorities.
A highlight of the trip was when Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) brought our delegation onto the floor of the State Senate where the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce was officially welcomed to the State Capitol.
Additionally, the delegation met with staff members of nine other legislators from throughout California.
Your chamber’s voice was heard!
For instance, on Wednesday we met with Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair, of the Senate Appropriations Committee and raised two bills in the committee’s Suspense File – SB 905 (extending liquor sales until 4 a.m.) and SB 930 (establishing state-chartered banking for cannabis businesses). Two days later both bills were removed from the Suspense File, passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and went on to pass on the Senate Floor the following week. (Both bills are now awaiting their first hearing in the State Assembly.)
Similarly, we met with a staff member for Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. We lobbied against AB 3087, a bill which would have created an imbalance in payments for healthcare services and led to layoffs at hospitals. Two days later that bill failed to get out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s Suspense File and died.
Our very last meeting was with Assemblymember Bill Quirk’s (D-Hayward) staff member responsible for shepherding AB 2020 (which allows local governments to issue permits for cannabis special events) through the Legislature. We were able to report what we had heard in our previous 15 meeting about AB 2020. This allowed him to fill-out his vote count and the following week AB 2020 went on to pass the State Assembly.
Of course, we were not alone in lobbying on these high-profile bills, but we’ll take our fair share of the credit.
Legislators are voting on bills that impact our businesses and our lives every day. It’s vital that they hear directly from business leaders in West Hollywood how their decisions affect us. And the good news is they WANT to hear from us!
Delegates also had the opportunity to hear a terrific speech by Governor Jerry Brown, his 16th and final speech to the Sacramento Host Breakfast – a 93-year tradition in the State Capitol. We also had the opportunity to visit with former California Treasurer (and 1994 Democratic Nominee for Governor) Kathleen Brown.
It wasn’t all “work!” We had a rollicking dinner at Frank Fat’s – a longtime political hangout in Downtown Sacramento.
We’re going to go back in 2019 and want you to come along!