State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, has reason to celebrate this month as Gov. Jerry Brown has signed several of her bills into law.

Senate Bill 221, also known as the California Wounded Warriors Transitional Leave Act, will give new state employees who are disabled veterans up to 96 hours of sick leave during their first year in the state workforce. The time could be used to attend VA appointments or other medical appointments without having to take unpaid leave.

California has approximately 2.5 million veterans, and 300,000 return to the state each year.
These benefits will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, for employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2016, and who are 30 percent or more disabled.

Brown also signed three environmental bills introduced by Jackson, including two in response to the Refugio oil spill earlier this year.

Senate Bill 295 requires annual state pipeline inspections by the State Fire Marshall, changing the requirement from every two years. Jackson, whose district includes Refugio State Beach, where over 100,000 gallons of oil spilled from a ruptured pipeline earlier this year, says that the incident could have been prevented.

Also included in the response is Senate Bill 414, also known as the Rapid Oil Response Act, which seeks to make oil spill response faster and more effective.

Senate Bill 379 would require cities and counties to plan for how they will adapt their general plans to the impacts of climate change beginning in 2017. Impacts of climate change such as sea-level rise, fires, floods and drought would be required to be addressed.

U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley
U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, has announced a federal grant to assist low-income families in obtaining locally grown agriculture in Ventura County.

The Abundant Table, a nonprofit organization based in Oxnard, will receive a $99,997 grant from the USDA’s 2015 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), which aims to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products.

The grant will allow The Abundant Table to increase the number of community-sponsored agriculture boxes from an expanded number of farms to low-access areas of the county and to establish at least three schools participating in monthly “pop-up” farm stands as well as increase the number of fruits and vegetables in the boxes and in the farm-to-school programs.

In September, Brownley announced that $1.1 million in federal funding would go to Hispanic-serving educational institutions in Ventura County — Cal State University, Channel Islands, and the Ventura County Community College District.

“I am committed to ensuring that no student is priced out of a college education and am pleased that these important educational institutions in Ventura County will have additional funds to increase opportunities for Ventura County’s diverse student body,” said Brownley.

State Sen. Fran Pavley, Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 324, introduced by Sen. Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, that will assist individuals with disabilities and their families to save money, tax-free, without fear of losing eligibility for public assistance.

The bill was introduced to coincide with Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin’s, D-Thousand Oaks, Assembly Bill 449 that set up a state-run savings program. The bills allow California to participate in a new program, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, signed by President Barack Obama in December.

Pavley’s Groundwater Management Act, Senate Bill 226, was also signed by Brown and will offer a “more efficient method for determining the rights of opposing parties to pump groundwater from a shared aquifer.”

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, Brown signed into law Irwin’s Assembly Bill 670, which mandates that a minimum number of yearly cybersecurity risk assessments be performed on state networks. This bill was introduced in response to recent data hacks in both government and private networks that exposed millions of users to the possibility of data theft.