Wilk and Stern bills go to committee this week

Scott Wilk took the oath of office as the new Republican senator from the 21st District on Dec. 5. Courtesy photo

Both State Senators Scott Wilk of the 21st district and Henry Stern of the 27th district  in the Santa Clarita Valley have proposed bills that are going to committee early this week.

Senator Wilk’s Senate Bill 283, which will be heard by the Senate Committee on Human Services on Tuesday, seeks to serve people with developmental disabilities.

Under the bill, a person who has acquired a brain injury after they are 18, but before they are 22 years old, would be eligible to receive services and support that they are currently ineligible for because of their age. For those under 18, they are currently eligible for funding, services and support for themselves and their families from state-funded regional centers.

“This is the right thing to do, especially when you consider the difference this change will make to the developmentally disabled and their families,” Wilk said in a statement to The Signal. “California law has lagged behind the rest of the nation…. (and) needs to get with the times and make this change.”

The federal government and 38 other states currently allow those with developmental disabilities who are under 22 to receive services, Wilk’s office said.

Wilk recognized a need for the bill after meeting with constituent James O’Hara of Castaic, whose son experienced a severe brain injury from a car accident just after he had turned 18, and was thus ineligible for rehabilitation therapy. Both O’Hara and autism advocate Emily Iland will testify on Tuesday.

If the bill passes, it will go to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and if it is passed there, will go to the full Senate for a vote this summer.


Also going for review on Tuesday is Senate Bill 259.

That bill, introduced by Wilk, would require the head of a public department or agency to sign a statement alongside all the reports they issue to the legislature declaring that the content of the report is true, accurate and complete.

Contents of signed statements are not to include opinions, recommendations, predictions or forecasts.

Additionally, the bill would make anyone who claims a statement is true when that person knows to be false pay a penalty of up to $20,000.

“Cooking the books in order to appear responsible to the people is inexcusable,” Wilk said in a statement to The Signal. “Right now, we have a system that essentially rewards dishonesty by looking the other way when bureaucrats purposely fudge the truth. SB 259 will ensure the head of any state agency or department is held to an expectation of honesty, as they should always have held themselves to but unfortunately have not.”

The bill is prompted by many incidents, but primarily by an instance where the California High-Speed Rail Authority knowingly stated a project would cost $9 billion less than it reportedly did.


Senator Henry Stern’s Senate Bill 683 will go to committee on Wednesday this week as well.

Seeking financial transparency, the bill would require the governor’s fiscal budget to be “machine readable” and not just “human readable,” as computers cannot read digital PDFs or scans of text that many budgets are submitted with.

Machine readable data can be tracked, searched and manipulated so users can examine, analyze, process and interact with documents.

Currently, the budget must be submitted within the first 10 days of each regular session. The budget contains a complete plan and an itemized statement of all proposed expenditures and all estimated revenues.

However, budgets are currently available in many versions – hard copy paper, PDFs and limited online formats, while the bill suggests formats such as CSV, JSON, RDF and XML that – formats that make it easy for humans to read and write, and for machines to parse and generate.

“Even digital data on the website is not necessarily machine readable as it needs to be in a format that can be read and processed by a computer,” a fact sheet for the bill read. “This limits the ability of interested and digitally literate users from interacting with the data and analyzing it in a way that is most useful to them.”

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