SACRAMENTO — A number of bills authored by local state legislators were signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this past Sunday, the bills dealing with a wide variety of topics that ranged from education to Medi-Cal and state infrastructure.
Many of the bills that received the affirmatory signature from the governor were authored by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley and state Sen. Fran Pavley, who represent the city of Santa Monica.
Before bills reach the desk of the governor, they first have to pass through both the state Assembly and the state Senate.
Schwarzenegger had a midnight deadline to act on more than 700 bills awaiting his signature. In an attempt to force legislators to reach an agreement over upgrades to the state’s water systems, the governor had threatened to refrain from signing any new bills until a water agreement had been reached.
On Sunday, Schwarzenegger said he was satisfied with progress made by legislators on the water deal and signed 230 bills into law, vetoing 221. Most bills will take effect Jan. 1. During the special 30-day session the governor acted on a total of 202 bills. He signed 478 bills and vetoed 229 bills.
The following are a list of some key bills authored by Brownley, a former Santa Monica-Malibu school board president, and Pavley, who represented Santa Monica in the Assembly before taking over for former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, who was termed out.
• AB239 Teacher credentialing: Because of California’s lack of well-qualified teachers, especially teachers with math, science and special education credentials, this allows out-of-state teachers and counselors with National Board Certification to become eligible for a credential in California.
• AB399 Public employee benefit: Contributions from unallocated California Public Employee Retirement System members over 70 can now be put into a non-interest unclaimed funds account to pay the taxes due on these contributions. This bill will prevent back taxes and penalty fees when members withdraw benefits. Furloughs will not have any affect on the retirement benefits of state employees and judges.
• AB 487 Sale of obsolete instructional materials: This allows county offices of education and school districts to sell obsolete instructional materials and use the funds raised toward supplemental and technology-related materials.
• AB 851 Education finance: This is meant to simplify the state’s complex school finance system by decreasing costs and increasing transparency. Laws pertaining to education finance that are deemed obsolete will be removed. The numerous branches in which districts receive revenue will be decreased to only two fixed adjustments. However, the amount of funding for each district will not be affected.
• AB 947 Non-resident tuition in community colleges: Out-of-state community college students will now be required to pay the same fee that covers the cost of buildings and student services that in-state students are currently charged.
• AB 1182 Reporting requirements for public post-secondary education: This is expected to make reports from California’s public colleges more manageable by revamping 49 of the 115 annual reports that California’s public colleges are required to make.
• AB 1269 Medi-Cal eligibility: The Medi-Cal California Working Disabled program allows the disabled to purchase Medi-Cal if their earned income fell 250 percent below the federal poverty line, regardless of any disability income benefits. This expands eligibility to members who are temporarily unemployed. This will also exempt retirement income, so Individuals who work and are over 65 can still qualify provided that their earned income is below the 250 percent federal poverty level.
• SB 532 State highway routes: This makes it possible for the city of Santa Monica to make important infrastructure and urban design alterations that increase highway safety while attracting more pedestrians on Lincoln Boulevard. Dave Cogdill, R-Fresno, is the original author, but it was amended to include the section on Lincoln Boulevard, so Assemblywoman Brownley was added as an author.
• SB 197 Domestic violence/conditional exams of witnesses: Domestic violence victims/witnesses will now be allowed to give their testimony ahead of time, outside of court. This would only apply to a victim/witness whose life is in danger or to dismissed cases that were re-filed because the witness was unavailable.
• SB 239 Mortgage fraud: This will make it a felony to commit fraud on a mortgage application.
• SB 448 Habitat enhancement act: This creates a program that encourages private landowners to manage their land in a way that protects endangered or threatened species without any additional restrictions or regulations.
• SB 757 Ban on lead In wheel weights: California will now ban selling and installing lead wheel weights. Used to balance vehicle wheels, lead wheel weights that fall off vehicles have been proven to be a major source of lead pollution in drinking water.
• SB 790 Storm water: In an attempt to find alternative sources of water in California, this bill promotes using stormwater to supply water for open space, landscaping and groundwater recharge.