Three bills authored by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, were given the green light by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
The measures, which seek to address issues faced by foster youth, the homeless and animals, are set to go to the Senate floor for consideration, according to a news release sent Friday.
Senate Bill 219 proposes the creation of a pilot program that would allow foster youth to receive grants worth up to $500 for extracurricular and enrichment activities.
Wilk previously said he believes this would have a tremendous difference in the lives of foster youth across the district and, particularly in the Antelope Valley, as one out of every three foster youth in Los Angeles County resides in the AV.
“This will help ensure foster youth are able to enjoy normal childhood activities,” Wilk said in the news release, adding, “(By) working with the Youth Law Center, the bill’s sponsor, we hope to fill this important gap and take the first step in making these opportunities affordable and accessible to foster youth.”
Senate Bill 333 is another piece of legislation crafted by Wilk that looks to address California’s homeless crisis by requiring the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to develop and implement a long-term, strategic plan to combat homelessness across the state.
“Too many Californians are forced to live in such miserable, inhumane conditions, especially in areas like the high desert with extreme weather conditions,” Wilk said Friday. “My bill will allow the state to take a significant step forward in ending this crisis and getting our most vulnerable community members back on their feet.”
Senate Bill 580 is the last of Wilk’s bills to make it through the Appropriations Committee on Friday. It requires offenders convicted of serious animal abuse crimes to undergo mandatory mental health assessments. The bill also allows those convicted of less serious offenses to be sentenced to an animal offender education course that will teach them proper techniques for interacting with animals in a positive way.
“Animal abuse is often the first act of violence committed by a troubled individual and it is typical that the family pet be the target of violence before the wife, the kids, and the community. For that reason it is imperative that we do something to intervene at that early stage before the victim count rises,” Wilk said. “I am extremely happy that the committee saw the value in this important legislation today.”