Legislative roundup: Acosta reflects on 2017, looks ahead to 2018

From right to left, Bob Slocum, Assemblyman Dante Acosta and Carolyn Acosta unveil the Fallen Warriors Monument at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Assemblyman Dante Acosta said the past legislative session was successful, but not without disappointments.

The freshman assemblyman and former Santa Clarita city councilman said Thursday that several bills he presented in the last year were signed into law, including the relinquishing of a portion of Sierra Highway known as Route 14U to the city of Santa Clarita and streamlining the licensing process for motorcycle riders.

“But most importantly one of my bills signed in to law helps law enforcement have the tools necessary to investigate and prosecute people who use recording devices to invade other people’s privacy,” he said. “This will help end the practice of people using sensitive video and photos to ruin other people’s lives. It’s a crime, and with my bill, Assembly Bill 539, now signed into law it can be prosecuted as such.”

The Sierra Highway and motorcycle license registration, Assembly Bills 1172 and 1027 respectively, were passed through the Legislature without any recorded opposition. Assembly Bill 539 was opposed by two senators.

When asked what his biggest disappointments for 2017 were, Acosta pointed to Assembly Bill 537, which would have reclassified some felonies. The measure died in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a 3-2 vote with three members abstaining.

“Assembly Bill 537 would have fixed some structural problems in our justice system that treats some crimes that I believe are serious, such as child abuse resulting in the death of a minor, as non-serious and non-violent felonies,” he said. “My bill would have elevated a select list of felonies to the serious category which means the perpetrators would have been required to serve time in state prison.”

Acosta also counted Assembly Bill 754, which would have created a program to fund after-school extracurricular activities for foster youth as a legislative casualty.

“Unfortunately it was defeated during the appropriations process, which I believe shows a lack of clear prioritization by our state,” he said. “We need to focus our resources to best help people rather than wasting on pet projects.”

Acosta said his staff is still compiling their set of bills to introduce in the next legislative year and are welcoming community input.

“We are still working to put together a package of legislation for the coming year that reflects my ongoing goals to streamline government to make it work better for all Californians, to service the unique local needs of the 38th Assembly District, to ensure a safer community, and to care for the neediest Californians,” he said. “Every member of the community is encouraged to reach out to my office and share their ideas.”

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