(CALMATTERS) – A Republican-led proposal to end California’s COVID state of emergency — and terminate Newsom’s pandemic emergency powers — failed to pass a key Senate committee Tuesday, though the bill’s author, state Sen. Melissa Melendez of Murrieta, can bring it back later for another vote. But Tuesday’s party-line vote — with 4 Republicans supporting the measure and 8 Democrats opposing it — suggests it doesn’t stand much of a chance of clearing the supermajority-Democratic Legislature. It’s the second big loss for the GOP in as many days: On Monday, the Assembly declined to consider a Republican proposal to suspend California’s gas excise tax for six months.
“California has been under a state of emergency for more than 700 days. … It’s time for the state to allow local governments to take the lead and address emergencies locally without the shotgun approach of a statewide emergency.”State Sen. Melissa Melendez of Murrieta
Though the bill garnered some public support — including from Californians for Good Governance, a Placer County Board of Supervisors representative and Placer County Moms for Liberty — it was opposed by a host of powerful groups, including the California Hospital Association, California Labor Federation, California Professional Firefighters and the cities of San Jose, Oakland, Santa Monica and Los Angeles. They said the flexibility in health care administration granted by the emergency declaration was still needed.
The Newsom administration last month unveiled plans to phase out many COVID executive orders and said that by the end of June, just 30 of the original 561 measures will remain.
Another bill that failed to advance Tuesday: A Democratic-led proposal to crack down on crime by reauthorizing district attorneys to prosecute organized retail theft and similar crimes that often cross county lines. But the bill’s author, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks, can bring it back later for another vote.