Political Roundup

By VCR Staff 08/28/2014

 

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson
sends three bills to Gov. Brown


Hannah-Beth Jackson


State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, introduced a bill (SB 505) in the wake of the Isla Vista shooting rampage that would require police agencies to consult the Department of Justice’s Automated Firearms Systems before conducting a so-called “welfare check” on a person who is potentially dangerous to him- or herself or others.


After passing the Assembly, the bill passed the Senate last week with a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 32-0. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for approval.


Three weeks prior to the mass shooting in Isla Vista that took the lives of six people, law enforcement visited the home of Elliott Rodger to check on his well-being but did not know of the three guns Rodger would later use in the shooting spree.


“We will never know for sure if the outcome in Isla Vista might have been different with a gun database search,” Jackson said in a statement. “But the next time California experiences a similar tragedy, we shouldn’t be left wondering. Searches of the gun database can be done in as little as 90 seconds, and those 90 seconds can help save lives.”


The bill has the support of the California Police Chiefs Association, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and others.


Another bill heading to Brown and authored by Jackson would require out-of-state corporations with franchisees in the state to prove “substantial and material breach” of contract before forcing an owner out of business and protecting owners from retaliation if they join any franchisee association or sell/transfer their business licenses.


This bill, SB 610, passed the Senate on a 23-9 bipartisan vote after its approval in the Assembly.


Jackson’s SB 1135 is also on its way to Brown’s desk. SB 1135 adds a section to the penal code to prohibit sterilizations in correctional facilities for the purposes of birth control except in cases when a patient’s life is in danger. The bill came about after reports from the Center for Investigative Reporting last year of unlawful and coercive sterilization of female inmates at the Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison for Women that were occurring as late as 2010.


“Pressuring a vulnerable population into making permanent reproductive choices without informed consent violates our most basic human rights,” said Jackson in a press release.


Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the three bills.


Jackson’s bill ensuring that schools are complying with Title IX, a law that prohibits gender discrimination in school sports, has become law after Gov. Brown signed it last week. The bill, SB 1349, requires all public elementary and secondary schools that offer competitive sports to report on their websites the number of boys and girls who play sports and the number of boys’ and girls’ teams by sport and competition level.


Assemblyman Das Williams advocates for bees


Das Williams


The state legislature has passed a bill, AB 1789, authored by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, that would require a timeline to be provided by the Department of Pesticide Regulation to complete an evaluation of neonicotinoid compounds and their effect on the bee population.


Honey bees pollinate a large portion of American agriculture and have been on the decline in the past decade, leading to experts searching for the reason why. Pesticides containing neonicotinoid compounds have been increasingly blamed for the reduction, and are the most widely used insecticides.


“Honey bees are critical to maintaining our diverse food supply and essential contributors to the agricultural economy of California. It is important that California efficiently focus efforts to aid in the overall protection of honey bee health,” said Williams.


AB 1789 will now head to Gov. Brown for his signature.


Assembly passes Jeff Gorell’s tax exemption bill


Jeff Gorell


The California Assembly has passed the bill authored by Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell, R-Camarillo, AB 1560, which would increase the tax credits allocated to the California Competes program by up to $25 million for businesses that develop aircraft in the state.


Originally planned as a privacy bill, AB 1560 was changed to provide support for the California Competes program before heading to the Assembly.


The California Competes Tax Credit was approved by the legislature in 2013, providing awards of up to $200 million annually to businesses seeking to locate or stay in California. In its first year of operation, the program was oversubscribed by $470 million.


“The California Competes tax credit has been hailed by the Chamber of Commerce as a job creator and is already projected to create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in state investment,” stated Gorell in a press release.


Gorrell is also the co-author of the bipartisan state water bond compromise that will appear on this November’s ballot. SB 866, which would have provided $11.1 billion, will now be $7.5 billion.


Gorrell serves as vice chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.


Brown also approved legislation co-authored by Gorell, Assembly Bill 2395, that increases the Oxnard Harbor District’s borrowing authority from the current $1 million cap to $10 million, while retaining key accountability standards including a two-thirds vote by the district’s Board of Harbor Commissioners for any new borrowing.


The legislation will allow the Oxnard Harbor District to upgrade and modernize facilities.


Brownley supports vets;
Capps allocates funds for drought crisis


Lois Capps


Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, announced in early August that the Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded the Salvation Army $1.7 million in aid to support veterans in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Counties.


“We have a moral obligation to end veteran’s homelessness and I’m pleased to be able to announce this grant that will be used to address this critical need,” said Brownley in a statement.


Meanwhile, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced that the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board will receive $300,000 from the Bureau of Reclamation for an emergency drought relief project.


The grant will be used to continue an effort to pump water from Lake Cachuma to South Coast communities in Santa Barbara. The funding falls under the 1995 Drought Act. This allows the bureau to undertake activities that would mitigate or minimize drought damages or loss.


“This drought crisis is the most urgent problem facing our state and the Central Coast, and it requires a collaborative effort by many,” Capps said in a press release.

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