Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, said drugged driving was a centerpiece issue for him in 2017 and will continue to be a factor in the new legislative year. The former highway patrolman called his bill to set up a task force headed by the California Highway Patrol to study best practices in detecting drugged drivers a highlight of the year. “It was certainly movement in the right direction,” he said. “We’ve got some work to do. We want to enhance public safety as it relates to impaired driving through drugs and alcohol.” Lackey also said a highlight of his year was the signing into law of Assembly Bill 503, a measure that requires cities to offer monthly payment programs and reduced fines for low-income individuals before the state Department of Motor Vehicles can withhold a resident’s car registration. “It’s all rooted in fairness,” he said. Lackey said he plans to introduce legislation dubbed “Gabriel’s Law” — named for an 8-year-old Palmdale boy whose mother and her boyfriend are accused of torturing to death. Lackey’s bill, which he said was being worked on in conjunction with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, would fill in gaps in cross reporting between agencies. Lackey also plans to introduce legislation to restrict the black market for cannabis and to end sexual harassment in the state Assembly in light of the Nov. 27 resignation of Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, and the Dec. 8 resignation of Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, D-Encino, due to sexual harassment allegations. Lackey said he was disappointed his bill to establish an aerospace institute in the Antelope Valley was shelved in the appropriations process, but he has had ongoing discussions with Antelope Valley College and the University of California in the hopes of attracting and retaining talent for the aerospace industry. “That will include the Santa Clarita Valley,” he said. Lackey said he was also disappointed by the passage of the increased gas tax, a move he called “an assault on commuter communities.” Assemblyman Dante Acosta and Senator Scott Wilk also pointed to the gas tax as legislative disappointments in recent interviews with The Signal.