GOC Executive Director Sam Paredes made his way through the crowds last week to testify before the Assembly Appropriations Committee in opposition to SB 707* (Wolk) and SB 347* (Jackson) – two bills which are nothing more than the anti-gunner’s irrational attempts to reduce crime in California.
Bills having any sort of fiscal price tag must go through the liberal Appropriations Committee, a which is the last stop before heading to the full Assembly. Whenever a bill costs more than $150,000, it automatically becomes a candidate for what’s called the “Suspense File.” With SB 347 having an estimated cost of $261,000 per year and SB 707 an annual $220,000 to the DROS fund, they more than met this threshold. What’s important to note is that members have an option to present their bill, and even if they elect not to, a chance has generally been provided for opponents to publicly declare their concerns to committee members.
Not so fast, gun owners! It’s 2015 and Appropriations Chairman Jimmy Gomez didn’t think the committee needed to hear from you. No one was given the chance to speak on any bill that was put on Suspense.
When the Committee decides what stays on the Suspense File (not advancing) and what comes off (moves to the Floor for a vote by the full Assembly), there is never any testimony. Thus, if you don’t get your shot at the first go around, you are out of luck. Period.
It will be no surprise to us at GOC that even though both bills have a hefty price tag and are just plain reckless, they will most likely be voted off Suspense and head straight to the Floor. Were the authors’ decisions to waive presentation a strategic move to prevent opponents from making our case before the full Committee? Or are they just super confident that the bills will pass and feel no need to make their case?
We can only speculate – but what we do know, is that nothing will change until the absolute power becomes a lot less absolute.
*SB 707 removes the exemption permitting a person who holds a valid license to carry a concealed firearm, to possess a firearm on the campus of a university or college and SB 347 expands the list of persons prohibited from purchasing firearms for a 10-year period to include those convicted of specified firearm-related misdemeanors. To date, both bills received a strong thumbs up by Democrats (no Republicans supported either bill).