Fall 2017 – Legislative Updates
Over the past five years during my time as an Assemblymember, I have had the honor of speaking with many constituents about concerns for our region and the state. I’ve heard many interesting and creative suggestions for ways to protect our environment, reach our most vulnerable Californians, educate our children, and more. Some of the laws I have written came from these discussions.
This fall, I hope you’ll continue to share your concerns with me. Let’s work together to find solutions for our most difficult problems in our communities and throughout California.
My Legislation Sent to the Governor
This year, the State Legislature approved several of my measures to help improve the lives of Californians. The Governor has until October 15 to sign these measures into law.
Protections and services for people in need:
- AB 404 (Stone) Foster Care Reforms: In 2015, the Legislature and the Governor prioritized improving outcomes for youth in foster care by passing and signing into law AB 403 to begin a multi-year reform process for the continuum of care (CCR). The law becomes fully operational by 2022. AB 404 clarifies implementation of CCR.
- AB 597 (Stone) County Data Trusts: This measure adds local educational agencies to the list of agencies and departments who can share data to form a multidisciplinary team. It also allows Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and San Benito Counties to participate in a database between counties and allows sharing of aggregate data with select researchers to help improve outcomes for vulnerable children.
- AB 1371 (Stone) Attorney Consultations for Foster Youth: This bill affirms and expands the rights of foster youth and wards of the court who are parents to consult with legal counsel prior to their children being removed from their custody.
Improving public safety:
- AB 529 (Stone) Juvenile Records: This bill requires the automatic sealing of records of individuals who were alleged to be a ward of the juvenile court and had their petition dismissed or not sustained by the court after an adjudication hearing.
- AB 935 (Stone) Equality for Juvenile Competency Proceedings: This measure helps the California juvenile justice system better serve youth suffering with mental illness by providing juveniles with the same protections currently provided to adults in competency proceedings. The measure puts a cap on the length of time that youth can stay in juvenile halls, which can be inappropriate placements for longer-term mental health services.
- AB 1308 (Stone) Parole Review to Reduce Recidivism: Under current law, certain inmates who were under the age of 23 when they committed a crime for which they received a lengthy or life sentence are eligible for a youth offender parole hearing after serving a lengthy prison sentence. AB 1308 expands the age to 25, as scientific evidence concluding that certain areas of the brain, particularly those that affect judgment and decision-making, do not fully develop until the mid-20s.
Providing legal protections:
- AB 1556 (Stone) Anti-Discrimination for Gender Identity: This measure updates the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to use gender inclusive language, such as “person” or “employee” from the gendered terms such as “he or she”. Much of FEHA was previously updated to neutral terms, but these remaining terms need to be changed in order to clarify that transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are fully protected under the law.
- AB 1269 (Stone) Mobilehome Park Dispute Mediation: This bill helps residents of mobilehome parks resolve disputes with park owners without going through expensive civil litigation. The measure establishes a process for the investigation and mediation of the Mobilehome Residency Law at the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to more quickly and less expensively resolve issues related to home sales, complaint responses, and charges leading to eviction.
Already signed into law:
- AB 436 (Stone) San Lorenzo River Flood Project: This new law provides necessary authorizations to the City of Santa Cruz so that final critical improvements can be made to the flood project. In combination with the other infrastructure updates, the last phase of this project will help protect against flooding that occurs during severe weather events.
- AB 790 (Stone) ID for Released Prisoners: This measure provides a reduced fee of $8 for a replacement identification card to eligible inmates leaving prisons or county jails. Having a valid ID can help people successfully reintegrate into the community and avoid recidivism.
You can find all of my bills, or any other proposed laws of interest, at the California Legislative Information portal.
My Appointments to Help Protect the California Coast
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been appointed to the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), which puts science first to determine how to best protect our ocean and coastal ecosystems. OPC works to provide state agencies with important resources regarding marine plastic pollution, sea-level rise, fisheries management, and other critical issues. For more information, visit http://www.opc.ca.gov/.
Additionally, I will continue to serve on the California State Coastal Conservancy as one of six legislators who provide legislative oversight. The Conservancy ensures that future generations of Californians will have the opportunity to enjoy our precious coastal resources. It works to provide coastal access, protect and restore habitats, and improve waterfront development. As an independent body, it helps resolve complex land issues amongst governmental entities, citizens, and the private sector. The Conservancy coordinates with and complements the work of the Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. For more information, visit http://scc.ca.gov/.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to add my voice to policy discussions about protecting sensitive habitats and improving access to our beautiful coastline.
Do you have a bill idea?
I invite you to share with me your ideas for state laws or policies that you’d like to see changed. It can be about any subject, large or small. My staff and I review these ideas to see what we can do to address the issue. While I accept idea submissions to my office at any time, I must introduce new bills early in 2017. If you have a bill idea that you’d like to submit, the best way to do it is through the comment form on my website. I look forward to hearing from you!
Contacting My Office: Sharing Your Views, Getting Assistance, and Visiting My Office
Do you need assistance with a state agency like the DMV, Employment Development Department, or Franchise Tax Board? Do you have questions about state legislation? Would you like to share a concern or suggestion with one of your state representatives?
I have two district offices to serve Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties:
Santa Cruz County District Office
701 Ocean Street, 318-B
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Tel: (831) 425-1503
Fax: (831) 425-2570
Monterey County District Office
99 Pacific Street, Ste. 575-G
Monterey, CA 93940
Tel: (831) 649-2832
Fax: (831) 649-2935
Santa Clara County residents may contact our district staff by calling (408) 782-0647.
Santa Clara County Mobile Office Hours: Coming soon!
You can also send me a question or comment through my website comment form. I’ll respond as soon as I can.