Lackey’s bills on paratransit eligibility, cannabis research head to Senate floor

Signal file photo of the state's Capitol building in Sacramento

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities could soon benefit from new California laws, including one aimed at improving access to public transportation, after three bills by Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, moved one step closer to the governor’s desk. 

“I’m excited to see (Assembly Bill) 169, AB 420 and AB 1351 make it to the Senate floor,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “All three bills are eligible to be heard on the Senate floor this week, and could make it to the governor’s desk by the end of next week.” 

AB 169

In January, Lackey introduced a bill that would expand protections for guide, service and signal dogs whether they’re on duty or not. 

If passed, AB 169 would allow for the owner of an attacked service dog to be entitled to payments of up to $10,000 from the convicted party, and the misdemeanor crime committed could lead to a yearlong sentence in county jail. 

“A guide dog instills confidence, ensures protection, and gives freedom back to someone affected by a disability,” Lackey said in a January statement. “These are the animals whose life’s work revolves around protecting us. The least we can do for them is ensure that both they and their owners are properly cared for in a time of need.”

AB 1351

This bill begins the process for “easier and quicker” access to public transportation for individuals with disabilities, especially when visiting areas outside of their primary service area. 

Should Gov. Gavin Newsom sign AB 1351, the bill would determine the eligibility of an applicant within seven days of a submitted application and provide service to an eligible person at any requested time and day in response to requests made the previous day. 

AB 420

Lackey has continued to advocate for public safety after transitioning from being a special education teacher to a highway patrolman. 

“That’s why I’m happy to see AB 420 continue through the legislative process, for it will expand the scope in which our universities can research the impairment effects of cannabis and the potential dangers that could come along with it,” he said. 

The bill would change the University of California’s California Cannabis Research Program to cultivate cannabis for research purposes and changes its legislative reporting requirement from every six months to every 24 months.

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