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Final day of legislative session sees flurry of activity

September 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
State lawmakers are working at a frantic pace. Friday was the last day to pass legislation this session. So far, several bills have made it through including one that is designed to speed up construction of a possible NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles.

A rare sight at the Capitol: Democrats and Republicans hugging and shaking hands with each other.

You heard right. The infamous bickering stopped for a couple of jobs bills that shorten environmental lawsuits on big projects.

One means 23,000 jobs for Los Angeles for a new NFL stadium.

The other expands that special treatment for L.A. to other regions like the Bay Area where the 49ers also want a new home.

"Our economy is struggling and there are record levels of people who are unemployed," said state Senator Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles).

But it was back to partisan politics on other last-minute bills.

After both parties argued over whether it's appropriate to use the word "babysitter" anymore, Democrats won approval for letting subsidized childcare providers unionize.

"This bill will permit family childcare providers to join together and have a voice over matters which affect their profession," said state Assm. Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles).

"We're going to unionize the babysitters? Wow. What a concept. I don't know when we unionized something, the costs went down. These are taxpayer funds," said state Assm. Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks).

Incredibly, the Democrats introduced a proposal to move all ballot initiatives from June to November on the last day of session, quickly having impromptu committee hearings so it could be voted on immediately.

"Let's be a little more thoughtful about it and make the public have a little more confidence and faith in this Legislature by not doing things at the last minute," said state Assm. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale).

Is this good for Democracy to do a "jam job"?

"I understand it. It's a valid point. But the flip side of it is sometimes you have to take advantage of the moment," said state Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

Among the other last-minute proposals was Governor Jerry Brown's jobs package; another gives Amazon another year before having to collect online sales tax.

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