Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law three new bills to promote wildlife corridors, provide mental health assistance for those in jail and demand transparency from oil and gas companies, respectively.
State Sen. Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, who represents parts of the Santa Clarita Valley, introduced Senate bills 790, 406 and 317 — three of his seven bills signed into law this year.
SB 790, The Keep California Wild Act, ensured the development of transportation and housing while ensuring California’s wildlife protection in areas including the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Corridor.
Stern partnered up with the National Wildlife Federation for the development of a land bridge over the U.S. Route 101 freeway in Los Angeles County, which would offer a safer way for wildlife to cross.
“We have failed to account for wildlife and the habitat they need to roam as we build our freeways and housing in the Los Angeles region,” Stern said in a prepared statement.
SB 496, The Oil and Gas Well Data Transparency Act, made it easier for people to access information on oil and gas wells in their neighborhood from the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.
SB 317, Competence to Stand Trial, allowed all misdemeanor defendants to earn equal credits for time served, so defendants deemed “incompetent to stand trial” can earn credit while involuntarily held in a hospital.
The law provided more options for mental health treatments, and defendants could participate in a mental health program or collaborative court where they have more access to resources.
In addition, Stern introduced another four bills that target how California manages extreme heat situations, power shutoffs, grid reliability and wildfires.
SB 533, Power Shutoff Prevention and Disclosure Act, and SB 423, Grid Reliability through Clean Energy Act, were signed into law as part of Newsom’s $15 billion climate resiliency package. Stern also assisted in securing funding, more than $800 million, for the next two years to address climate change.
SB 63, The Wildfire Resilience through Community and Ecology Act, established a new fire corps at the state and neighborhood level. The Fire Resiliency Corps can connect with the President’s Civilian Climate Corps.
“Climate change isn’t one-dimensional and the fires, ecology and development patterns we have in Southern California present unique challenges compared to Northern California,” Stern said in a prepared statement.
And lastly, SB 650, The Corporate Transparency in Elder Care Act of 2021, required nursing facilities to provide consolidated financial reports and documentation of the corporate structure to the public and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.