A proposed bill designed to block the opening of "maternity hotels" in residential neighborhoods stalled Wednesday in the Assembly Local Government Committee.
Assembly Bill 192, authored by Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, failed to move forward after the committee voted 4-7 against the measure, reported the Daily Bulletin.
Hagman, whose district includes Diamond Bar and Walnut, plans to talk to Democratic lawmakers about their concerns about the bill, the newspaper reported.
The committee decision comes about a week after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to support Hagman's bill.
The "maternity hotels," which are residential homes for pregnant women mainly from foreign countries, have been cause for concern for many San Gabriel Valley cities.
The city of Chino Hills, where Hagman lives, shut down a mansion in town in December that had been made into one of these homes.
That same month, Walnut officials discovered a home near Meadow Pass and Pierre roads and closed it down.
Community Development Director Tom Weiner said at the time that the process to shut down the operation took about 60 days. Walnut received a tip from a resident who noticed increased foot traffic at the home.
“Our investigation found it was used for one of these homes similar to Chino Hills,” Weiner said. “We were aggressive in taking care of the problem and successful at having them cease operation.”
Supervisor Don Knabe has expressed concern for the safety of the women and their infants in the homes, which have been found in Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights.
"These maternity hotels have grown beyond the scope of a zoning issue," Knabe said during a recent board of Supervisors meeting. "The conditions inside some of these houses are putting the lives of the mothers and babies at risk, and we must do what we can to protect them and stop this illegal activity."
Under Hagman's proposed legislation, violating a city's or county's zoning ordinance and operating a hotel in a residential area would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 to $5,000 or imprisonment of 30 days to six months, or both.
Local immigrant rights groups have spoken out against proposed measures to crack down on the homes, calling efforts to shutter them through zoning laws too broad and extreme.