The Thorn West

The Thorn West is a state and local news roundup compiled by members of DSA-LA. Our goal is to provide a weekly update on the latest developments in state and local politics, and to track the issues that are most important to our membership.


Issue No. 174 - September 15, 2023


State Politics

  • Thursday was the deadline to pass bills at the California state level, prompting a flurry of activity. CalMatters is tracking which bills have advanced to the governor to sign or veto. More below.

City Politics

  • More on LA City Council expansion from LA Forward, which also maps some of the activist groups that have been pushing for reform. Both the Forward piece and this article in the LA Times note one elephant in the room: the latest report from the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst recommends delaying implementation until 2032, the first election after the next scheduled redistricting. The other key area of debate among sitting councilmembers is how many new seats to add, with Councilmember Nithya Raman pushing for doubling the size to 31 members, while others are calling for more limited expansion.



  • This week the Legislature advanced a number of bills that would benefit workers, all of which are now before Governor Newsom. AB 1228 slightly scales back the strength of a fast food workers council bill passed last year; but in exchange the fast food industry will withdraw a ballot measure that would fully overturn the worker’s council bill… SB 525 raises the minimum wage for tens of thousands of healthcare workers to $25 an hour, but prevents municipalities from raising it higher than that for ten years… AB 1 allows state legislative workers to collectively bargain; many similar bills have failed to advance out of the legislature… AB 799 allows workers who have been on strike for two weeks to claim unemployment benefits.

Housing Rights

  • The state Legislature advanced two bills — SB 555, a study bill, and AB 309, a pilot program — that would take small steps to advance the cause of social housing in California. Both bills originated in the Legislature’s new “renter’s caucus,” but were significantly watered down from their original versions.

Police Violence and Community Resistance

  • SB 50, a bill introduced by Senator Steven Bradford that would combat racial profiling by prohibiting the police across the state from pulling over vehicles for pretextual stops —– a policy Los Angeles instituted last year — was pulled from consideration for this legislative year. Last year, a similar bill, also authored by Bradford, was also unable to overcome police opposition.


  • Nearly 700 LAPD officers have joined in a harassment lawsuit against the city over the city’s compliance with a public records request last year. The release of records resulted in the publicly available headshots of every LAPD officer being made available in one searchable database — a measure intended to increase police accountability. (The plaintiffs are not “undercover officers” as the LA TImes repeatedly refers to them.)


  • SB 253, which will allow local governments to implement speed cameras, has advanced to the governor. Speed cameras have shown to be an effective deterrent against vehicle speeding where they have been tried. The bill was heavily qualified to accommodate opposition.

Environmental Justice

  • SB 253, which would require business entities with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion to publicly disclose the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their operations, has advanced out of the legislature.



  • In April, a federal court ruled that Berkeley can’t ban gas in new construction. Now 25 California cities, including LA, have sent a letter to Governor Newsom saying he needs to step in to create a statewide zero-emission building standard.