April 18, 2011 - The California State Senate Governance and Finance Committee approved a bill sponsored by Juan Vargas (SB 469) that would require cities and counties to obtain an economic impact report before approving construction of "superstores" that sell groceries, such as Walmart, according to the Sacramento Bee.
On April 6, 2011, the committee passed the measure 6-3 on a straight party-line vote, with Democrats voting to pass the measure and Republicans voting against it. The bill is supported by a number of unions, including AFSCME and the California Labor Federation. It is opposed by Walmart and business groups such as the California Retailers Association. While those voting against the bill received roughly equal amounts in campaign contributions from supporting and opposing organizations, senators voting in favor of the bill received vastly more from supporting interest groups.
- The six senators who voted in favor of SB 469 received an average of $192,485 from supporting groups. Five of the six supporting senators did not receive any money from opposing groups. The lone recipient, Ed Hernandez, took in $4,800.
- The three senators who voted against the measure took in an average of $6,197 from supporting groups and $4,433 from opposing groups.
According to the Sac Bee, "several cities now require such reports, similar in concept to environmental impact reports, but Vargas's bill stems directly from a flareup in San Diego. At the behest of unions that have battled with Walmart, the San Diego City Council approved such a requirement last fall, but Mayor Jerry Sanders vetoed it." MAPLight.org has found that during that same time frame, Vargas received $3,000 in campaign contributions from Walmart, the only contribution he has received from the company since at least January 2003.
The bill is now being considered by the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality, with a hearing scheduled for May 2.
Campaign Contributions to Senate Governance and Finance Committee Members from Groups Supporting and Opposing SB 469, Jan. 1, 2007 - Dec. 31, 2010
|Legislator||Money from All Supporting Groups||Money from All Opposing Groups |
| ||Vote on SB 469||Party|
|Jean Fuller ||$10,200||$7,000||$4,500||No||R|
|Bob Huff ||$4,590||$6,300||$6,300||No||R|
|Doug La Malfa ||$3,800||$0||$0||No||R|
Methodology: Includes reported contributions to campaigns of senators in office during the 2011-2012 California State Legislature, from interest groups invested in the vote according to MAPLight.org, January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2010. California campaign contributions data source: National Institute on Money in State Politics.