State legislators return to Sacramento with focus on bills

An Assembly district map shows districts 38 and 36 at the top of Los Angeles County. Both districts include parts of the Santa Clarita Valley. Courtesy of California State Legislature.

After a month of spending time at home in their districts with loved ones and constituents, state legislators returned to work in Sacramento this week.

For elected officials, this means focusing on pushing their own legislation through the last hurdles on the Assembly and Senate floors and voting on others’ bills.

On Wednesday morning, Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) spoke at a rally for Assembly Bill 249, for which he is a principal coauthor. The bill aims to shed light on “corporate interests” by noting large donations by special interest groups.

“We cannot survive as a republic until we get dark money out of politics,” Stern said at the rally. “The truth is on your side and the people are on your side.”

Stern’s SB 225, which would require businesses to post a phone number for victims of human trafficking to text to get help, is in the Assembly Rules Committee. The senator said there has been some pushback on the bill from hotels and motels, but he anticipates the bill will still move forward.

“I think we’re going to break the impasse,” Stern said to The Signal.

Senate Bill 801, also by Stern, is headed through the legislative process as well. The bill would require the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison to obtain additional energy storage and reduce dependence on gas from Aliso Canyon.

“With the lawsuit against the gas company, any settlement dollars would come back to community,” he said. “We don’t want ratepayers paying for this cleanup.”

Stern’s effort in Senate Bill 732 to enforce protections for open space by local governments is progressing as well.

In his attempt to engage youth in politics, SB 596 allows California schools to elect students for a state board as a representative and is moving along.

“I’m getting these bills done and hopefully bringing home funding and comfort to district,” Stern said. “I am really enjoying the work I’m doing. I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

Though he is not an author on Senate Bill 3, the Affordable Housing Bond Act, Stern said he has been active in the conversation to attain affordable housing and is prioritizing this conversation.

Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) has several bills on track to make their way to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, according to his office.

“The end of the legislature’s session is always a hectic time that involves making decisions on hundreds of bills,” Lackey’s Communications Director Tim Townsend said. “Assemblyman Lackey is focused on getting his remaining bills passed and to the Governor.”

Lackey’s Assembly Bill 171, known as the California Airport District Act, would allow airport districts to borrow more money to expand their facilities.

This would impact the Mojave Air and Spaceport, allowing them to expand commercial space flight and bring more jobs to the area, Lackey’s office said.

The bill has passed through the Assembly floor and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee so far.

Legislators will also be voting on hundreds of bills at the beginning of September, according to Lackey’s office, so the assemblyman is preparing for that by researching and analyzing bills.

“His top priority is supporting ideas that will make California a better place to live for working and middle-class families,” Townsend said.

For Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita), the next few weeks will mean trying to push through four of his bills.

The Senate has passed Acosta’s Assembly Bill 1027, which would allow Californians 21 or older to take an intermediate or advanced motorcycle class for licensing instead of an introductory course.

This is the first of Acosta’s bills to make it through both state houses and to the Governor’s desk.

Assembly Bill 539 would give law enforcement the right to seek a court-ordered warrant for invasion of privacy cases, which aims to help victims of “revenge porn.”

Specific to the SCV, Assembly Bill 1172 would relinquish part of Sierra Highway to the city of Santa Clarita to allow them to control maintenance.

The city requested ownership of the street between Newhall Avenue and Friendly Valley Parkway.

Students using online charter schools who are relocated to other geographic areas would be allowed stay enrolled through Acosta’s AB 1528. Existing law would allow this until 2018 and Acosta’s bill extends it until 2021.

This bill was introduced to aid those who were displaced by the Aliso Canyon gas leak in 2015.

Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) will also be trying to propel his bills forward, including his Senate Bill 634, which would create one unified Santa Clarita water agency.

The bill was placed in the suspense file Wednesday and will be further evaluated by the Appropriations Committee on Sept. 1.

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