Lawmakers look back on bills for first half of 2023 

The historic state capitol building in Sacramento is nearly 150 years old. Free tours are available of this living museum. Photo Visit California.
The state's capitol building in Sacramento.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

With the Legislature now in a monthlong summer recess that began Friday, the Santa Clarita Valley’s representatives are reflecting on the few highlights from their legislative agendas from the year to date.  

One of the most impactful pieces of legislation for the Santa Clarita Valley could end up being one state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, worked together, depending on how things shake out in Soledad Canyon. 

Cemex, an international mining company, is looking to extract 56 million tons of aggregate through a massive mining operation. The company is currently seeking permission to use the Santa Clara River just east of city limits for that purpose.  

Schiavo, continuing the efforts of a bill Wilk authored in the previous session, authored Assembly Bill 1631, which would require the state’s water board to renotice the mine’s application for permission to use water from the river. 

The water board made the decision to renotice the mine even though the legislation has not yet become law, but Cemex announced an appeal of that decision last month, meaning the bill could be determinative as to the fate of a potential review of the application.  

The state’s water board has yet to address what amounted to a threat letter Cemex sent June 1 asking the board’s executive director, Eileen Sobeck, to rescind the decision to renotice the application. AB 1631 is listed as an active bill in the committee process, and was rereferred to the Senate’s Appropriations Committee on July 11, according to the California Legislative Information website, LegInfo. 


One of the highlights for Wilk’s office from the recent session is Senate Bill 868, which would “require each school district, county office of education and charter school to equip each classroom with a wound care kit.” 

State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, speaks during the Valley Industry Association Fifth Annual State of the State at the Grand Ballroom in the Hyatt Regency in Valencia, Calif., on Thursday, July 7, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

Each kit would be required to include: one tourniquet; one bleeding control bandage; one pair of non-latex protective gloves; one marker; one pair of scissors; and approved Instructional documents, according to a news release from Wilk’s office.  

His 21st District includes most of the Santa Clarita Valley, including city limits, and stretches east down Highway 138 to Apple Valley.  

“During the 2019 Saugus shooting, lives were saved because of brave teachers with access to trauma kits. What happened at Saugus can happen anywhere so it’s critical that every school in the state be prepared for the unimaginable,” Wilk wrote in a statement. “I am very happy to see this bill move another step closer to becoming law.” 

SB 868 is currently in the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee. 

SB 643, which would require every local education agency to establish an anonymous reporting system for dangerous, violent or otherwise illegal activity that could impact the agency, is in the Assembly’s Education Committee.  

In response to constituent requests, Wilk also authored legislation, SB 247, which he said he lovingly refers to as Vanessa’s Law, in his wife’s honor. The bill is intended to “clean up legislation from a previous bill, which clarifies that beauty salons are eligible to serve a free 12-ounce beer or 5-ounce glass of wine to patrons.” SB 247 is also listed as active and headed toward the Assembly Appropriations Committee as of Wednesday. 

Wilk also took aim at what he referred to as monopolistic practices from Ticketmaster, with SB 829, which would have prohibited a ticket seller, e.g. Ticketmaster, from creating exclusive licensing agreements with buyers. The bill was suspended under Assembly Rule 56 as of June 29. It’s one of several bills that have looked at recent controversies surrounding concert ticket sales. 

In looking back at the first half of his second-to-last year in the Legislature (Wilk terms out after 2024), he said the following in a statement sent via email Friday through his spokesman: 

“While Sacramento makes it easy to get swept up in party politics, I have yet to see partisan squabbling help ordinary people pay their bills or educate their kids. I remain committed to putting constituents’ needs above all else — ensuring our future generations are well-educated, have a clean environment, and mortgage-paying jobs. Good ideas shouldn’t have party lines, and I proudly work across the aisle with like-minded colleagues who will put ideology aside to solve our biggest problems. I look forward to continuing that work when the Legislature reconvenes.” 


Schiavo reported that 11 of her bills are continuing in the committee process as of Friday, including the Cemex bill and a bill that targets elder abuse.  

Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo displays safety materials available for children during the Emergency Preparedness Fair and Workshop held at the Child & Family Center Education Building in Santa Clarita on Saturday, 061023. Dan Watson/The Signal

One of the bills aimed at helping homeless individuals and the workforce is AB 464, a bill meant to make it easier for those less fortunate to obtain the various records and documents needed for employment and financial opportunities by removing the fees associated with getting copies of those records, with proof of eligibility. AB 464, 608 and 1359 are in front of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee.  

AB 608 would expand the coverage of perinatal services for new mothers for up to one year after they give birth. Another health care-related bill Schiavo authored, AB 1359, “provides health workers, who encounter and treat illness every day, additional sick days to perform the best for their patients,” according to her office. 

Schiavo’s 40th Assembly District includes the city of Santa Clarita and the developments just west of city limits and several swaths on the northern end of the San Fernando Valley.   

“My office continues to advance the priorities we set out to accomplish — access to housing, making health care more affordable, finding solutions to our homelessness crisis and keeping our communities safe,” she wrote in a statement shared via news release Friday. “I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to advance these bills with the goal of presenting the remaining bills to the governor.”  

Schiavo introduced a total of 24 pieces of legislation, according to LegInfo, and also had one chaptered as of Monday: Assembly Bill 751 updates the language of the law regarding the procedures an agency must use when investigating an elder-abuse claim. 

A couple of her efforts she categorized as “creating safe communities” included a gun-control measure and an effort to ban hazardous materials   

Schiavo also authored a pair of bills aimed at creating more housing, which also are in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee: AB 519 would reduce “administrative costs to produce affordable housing by establishing a workgroup tasked with developing a unified application and review process for affordable housing grants, loans and tax incentives,” according to Schiavo;  

AB 911 “creates a faster delivery of affordable homes and financing throughout the state” by making it easier for affordable-housing developers to remove density requirements before buying a property. 

“On the heels of bringing a record $20 million back to our district,” she added, “advancing these important bills is work we continue to advance to ensure our community is one that thrives.”  

Schiavo also authored a pair of efforts that looked at pregnancy center outreach: AB 602, which is in the Senate’s Rules Committee, addresses false advertising in pregnancy-related services; and AB 710, which was held in committee in May, would have required an outreach campaign regarding the centers’ services. 


Sen. Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, was most proud of his legislative work on behalf of what he called “critical climate measures” in a statement issued Friday. 

“This week my colleagues, led by (Senate President) Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, worked very hard to push the envelope on a number of fronts in our battle against climate change in California,” Stern wrote in a release issued by his office. “We cannot afford to pat ourselves on the back as we compete for once-in-a-lifetime federal funding to mitigate the threat of pollution, disaster and gas price spikes mounting for everyday Californians.”   

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

Stern’s 27th District includes a western portion of the SCV bordered by Newhall Avenue and then Orchard Village Road and then McBean Parkway, as you head north, and then Stevenson Ranch and Five Point Valencia, then heading south to Simi Valley and most of Conejo Valley. 

In a roundup released by his office, Stern mentioned SB 261, SB 795 and SB 781 as the top of the list of his legislative accomplishments for the last six months. All three are with the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee. 

SB 261 would “require large financial institutions and corporations, some of which will not be covered by the pending Securities and Exchange regulation, to publicly disclose climate-related financial risks to their bottom line,” according to Stern’s office. SB 795 would “build better tracking and permitting systems for the installation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.” SB 781 would encourage utilities and all state entities to utilize strategies for greenhouse gas reduction. 

Two setbacks Stern mentioned were SB 12 and SB 507, which would have pushed for more aggressive electric-vehicle standards. SB 12 stalled in Appropriations with a cost associated in changing the mandate from a 40% reduction of 1990 emission levels to a 55% reduction likely to be in the billions with no identified means for funding the measure. SB 507 would have authorized a study to assess the statewide need for vehicle-charging stations. 


The lifelong High Desert resident and retired California Highway Patrol officer continued his work on public safety-related measures during the most recent legislative session, with several such bills moving forward. 

Elisa Arcidiacono, chief of staff for Lackey, emailed the following statement on behalf of Lackey on Tuesday: 

“California is in the midst of dealing with a fentanyl poisoning crisis as well as a housing crisis along with skyrocketing increases in crime. Our communities are eager to see positive results and they will be looking to the Legislature for solutions,” Lackey wrote. “I am hopeful that my colleagues in Sacramento are as committed to finding those solutions as I am and I encourage the public to continue to play an active role in this process.” 

Tom Lackey

His 34th District includes an eastern portion of the SCV — including Agua Dulce and outlying parts of Saugus — and then reaches east through Mojave all the way to the Nevada state line. 

Staying true to his former employer, he also authored a bill to help them recruit officers: AB 1435 would raise the maximum age at which a person could join the CHP from 35 to 40, until 2027. It’s currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Another Lackey bill, AB 1368, aimed at speeding up the processing of archived evidence from cold-case sexual assaults, was held under submission after it was referred to the Appropriations Committee hearing. 

A bill in front of the Senate’s Public Safety Committee, AB 1544, would create a central index of child abuse in an effort to track substantiated cases of neglect or abuse. Lackey’s district has been the subject of two very high-profile murder cases associated with child abuse: the deaths of Anthony Avalos and Gabriel Fernandez. 

LegInfo indicates he had one piece of legislation chaptered into law so far: ACR 14 proclaims April 18 as Special Olympics Day in California. 

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS