Local legislators’ bills move forward

Sacramento, State Capitol Building
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State legislators had until June 4 to pass their bills out of the house in which they originated, and legislators representing the Santa Clarita Valley are reporting multiple bills on the move.  

Sens. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, received the approval of their Senate colleagues to send several of their bills to the state Assembly. 

Wilk continues to focus on helping California recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said in a prepared statement. 

Among the seven pieces of legislation Wilk moved to the Assembly were bills addressing student learning loss, reforming the Employment Development Department, supporting foster youth and combatting the CEMEX mine project. 

State Sen. Scott Wilk presents SB 520 on the floor of the California state Senate on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Photo by Lorie Shelley.

Wilk also sent two resolutions to the lower house, including one urging the U.S. Congress to address federal retirement benefits for people turning 60 during the pandemic. 

“I am glad to see these measures move to the Assembly, but will continue to work across the aisle on these measures and any others that will get our small business community the support it needs to recover and reopen safely,” Wilk, the Senate’s Republican leader, said in a prepared statement.  

Stern advanced to the Assembly 12 bills on issues ranging from transparency to fire safety. 

He said the “toxicity” of the last year “is starting to abate,” allowing him and his fellow senators to return to “a lot of unfinished business from last year.” 

“That’s the big-ticket process here,” Stern said. “There’s now space to do real work. There’s now space to work with legislators and (it) doesn’t matter what side of the aisle.” 

State Sen. Henry Stern prepares to speak at SCOPE’s 30th anniversary celebration in Valencia on Sunday. Ryan Painter/The Signal.

Stern said Wilk helped him get Senate Bill 533, requiring the state’s public utilities to be more proactive about public safety power shutoffs, off the Senate floor. 

“We’re trying to hold both (Southern California) Edison and the California Public Utilities Commission accountable and make the process itself more transparent to the community,” said Stern, who also pushed forward legislation addressing genocide and Holocaust education, wildfire prevention and several other issues. 

Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, moved five bills to the Senate. One bill would align state election law with federal laws related to campaign contributions from foreign entities. 

“My foreign election interference bill will enforce the ban on campaign donations from foreign governments,” she said in a prepared statement. 

Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares introduces new legislation after being sworn into office on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020.

Valladares also obtained Assembly approval of bills providing domestic violence reporting material in four additional languages, supporting the safe reopening of theme parks, exempting local forest management practices from environmental laws, and funding universal preschool in California. 

“This bill is an essential step in improving California’s early childhood education and bettering child readiness for K-12,” she said of her universal preschool bill. “I’ve been advocating for universal preschool for over a decade. To accomplish this in my first term is deeply personal.” 

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, also pushed through five bills to the Senate.  

“In the environment that exists at the Capitol, it’s a true accomplishment to get through the committee process and the floor process successfully,” Lackey told The Signal. 

Among those bills that experienced success in the Assembly was Assembly Bill 1305. The bill would exempt researchers from adhering to state marijuana cultivation laws, allowing them to conduct DEA-approved research using California-grown marijuana.  

Assemblyman Tom Lackey speaks on the Elected Official Panel during the Regional Center Legislative Town Hall at Bella Vida SCV Senior Center on Thursday, February 27, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Assembly and Senate will consider Monday Lackey’s $4 million budget proposal creating a grant program to help law enforcement agencies address their backlogs of sexual assault forensic evidence, also known as rape kits.  

Lackey also advanced bills requiring that mental health records follow an incarcerated person being transferred in state and county institutions, identifying apprenticeship opportunities for homeless and foster youth, allowing probation officers to return to using non-roster firearms, and prohibiting judges from offering misdemeanor diversions for DUIs.  

Legislators have until September to steward their bills out of the Legislature. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s deadline to sign or veto bills that successfully land on his desk is Oct. 10. 

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