Senate passes 13 of Stern’s bills his rookie legislative session

Senator Henry Stern discusses Senate Bill 794 in April 2017.

At the end of his first legislative session, Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) saw 13 of the bills he introduced pass on the Senate floor.

“I’m hoping for some beginner’s luck,” Stern said in anticipation of his bills going to the Assembly. “We had some wins and some losses. I’m a freshman so I didn’t expect to succeed right out of gate.”

Senate Bill 286, the first of Stern’s to be seen on the floor, would allow voters who lose their vote-by-mail ballot or never receive it to cast a regular ballot instead of a provisional one, which is more cost effective.

Coauthored with Senator Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles), Senate Bill 49 is known as the Environmental Defense Act. Under the bill, existing Federal laws would be enforced under California law to safeguard the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act in case Federal standards change.

Under SB 225, businesses would be required to post, in plain view, a phone number victims of human trafficking or slavery can text to get help.

“We have some really important work with human trafficking,” Stern said. “There is going to be a huge community depending on this. This epidemic has no end in sight.”

In an effort to help young victims of sexual assault, Senate Bill 756 would make predators of victims under 14 years old pay for mental health services to treat trauma they caused.

“That one also has a really huge gap in the law,” he said. “There is a lot of concern in L.A. County. We’re going to be laser focused there.”

Senators unanimously passed Stern’s SB 794, which would require all baked goods and candy that contain marijuana to be marked with a universal symbol, designed by the Bureau of Marijuana, and sold in child-resistant packaging.

State employees would benefit from a bike share program under Stern’s Senate Bill 702. Through the legislation, the Department of General Services Office of Fleet and Asset Management would expand the BikeShare program where it is “feasible and reasonable” and would allow employees to reserve bikes during the work day.

Through SB 773, the history, summary and log information for oil and gas wells would be required to be kept in the local office of the owner or operator of the well. During business hours, these documents would be subject to inspection.

Seeking to engage youth in politics, Senate Bill 596 would allow schools to hold an election where students would be nominated for consideration for a state board as a representative.

Similarly looking to involve young adults in the democratic process, SB 332 would provide paperwork and resources to foster youth so they can register to vote. If passed, the legislation would require the Secretary of State’s online voter registration link, phone number and email to be placed on three existing forms used for 18 to 21-year-old foster dependents.

The Secretary of State’s powers and duties would be further clarified under Stern’s Senate Bill 511. Also, the person in this role would be required to make “reasonable efforts” to promote voter registration and voting, particularly in underrepresented communities.

Also regarding the Secretary of State’s duties, Senate Bill 358 would require campaign finance information to be posted online for local campaigns.

Senate Bill 732 would have local governments identify and map data for agricultural lands and open space. Additionally, cities and counties would have to establish goals, policies and objectives to protect the land.

Though Senate Bill 57 was stalled on the Senate Floor, its partner bill SB 801 passed. Through 801, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison would obtain additional energy storage and reduce dependence on gas from Aliso Canyon.

Senate Bill 57, which would keep gas injections out of Aliso Canyon until a root cause analysis is done, is still technically active, but has not gotten the votes need to pass.

“We lost the battle but we will keep pushing there,” Stern said. “We’re going to keep the campaign alive.”

Stern also said he was disappointed his Senate Bill 683, which sought budget transparency, did not make it through the Senate.

“I was trying to push for more commonsense exposure,” he said.

All 13 bills will now be reviewed by the state Assembly. Stern said he does not feel like he will lose control of the bills and is excited to work with his allies in the Assembly to further shape his legislation.

The senator said he looks forward to finishing up work in the Capitol and spending more time home in the district soon.

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