Thrill of victory, agony of defeat

As the governor wielded his pen last night, state lawmakers from Alameda County saw victories on issues such as human trafficking, medical insurance recission and traffic congestion as well as defeats on issues such as ballot measure petition reform, trade agreements and electronic cigarettes.

Follow me after the jump for details on some of the winners and losers…


By Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley:

    AB 73 lets Alameda County and the Berkeley to continue to fund domestic violence prevention, intervention, and prosecution efforts with revenues from a fee of up to $2 for marriage licenses and other vital records.
    AB 108 bars health insurers from rescinding, canceling, limiting or raising premiums for someone’s coverage due to any omissions, misrepresentations or inaccuracies in that person’s application form, whether willful or not, once the person has been covered for at least 18 months.
    AB 235 specifies that HMOs and other health insurers regulated by the Department of Managed Health Care must cover emergency mental health care and services. It provides a definition for “psychiatric emergency medical condition” that will let health care professionals provide emergency mental health care until the patient is stable, including admission to a psychiatric unit at a general acute hospital or an acute psychiatric hospital, and that will let health plans appropriately process claims for those services.
    AB 1386 resolves a 40-year long dispute over an abandoned Caltrans project for the State Highway Route 238 corridor, letting Caltrans to rescind the freeway project and sell the excess properties. Funds from those sales will support Hayward’s and central Alameda County’s alternative transportation program, including the development of 237 new affordable housing units in the corridor.

By Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:

    AB 652 extends the allowable length of AC Transit buses by four inches to accommodate bigger bike racks which can carry three bicycles instead of two.
    AB 758, co-authored by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, requires the California Energy Commission to develop and implement a comprehensive program for bringing the state’s older residential and commercial building stock up to modern energy-efficiency standards in terms of lighting, heating, insulation, water consumption and other parameters, thus reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and energy use while creating green jobs.
    AB 1080 adds local governments to the list of entities with which a school district can enter into leases and deals to jointly occupy property and buildings. This clears the way for the Emeryville Center of Community Life on which that city, the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce and the Emery Unified School District have been cooperating for six years.
    AB 1393 requires the University of California, the California State University and California Community Colleges to give priority for on-campus housing to emancipated foster youth.

By Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda:

    AB 17 increases fines on those convicted of human trafficking by 400 percent (up to $20,000) and lets law enforcement seize assets connected to traffickers, which can greatly increase their financial loss. Half of what’s collected in fines and seizures will be made available to community-based organizations that serve underage victims of human trafficking.
    AB 1440 authorizes emergency workers to cast their ballots outside of their home precincts, upon the Governor’s declaration of a State of Emergency. Affected counties would have to issue provisional ballots.

By Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark:

    AB 665 broadens use of the federal adoption incentive awards the state gets as a result of increased adoptions of older children to include other legal permanency options – such as legal adoption, relative guardianship and reunification services – available to older foster youth, so as to increase opportunities for these youth to be placed in stable homes, too.

By state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro:

    SB 95 requires car dealers to pay off a lien on a trade-in vehicle before it is re-sold or re-traded so buyers aren’t stuck with two car payments.
    SB 320 adds to the list of exceptions from foreign money judgments that may be recognized in California any judgment for defamation obtained in a nation with less protection for free expression than provided under the state and U.S. constitutions.
    SB 470 lets prescription drug consumers choose whether to have listed on a drug’s label the specific use or condition for which the drug was prescribed, in an effort to reduce errors.

By state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley:

    SB 83 lets county transportation planning agencies put measures on their counties’ ballots to impose fees of up to $10 per vehicle to raise money for local projects to ease traffic congestion.

And, there’s SB 678, by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, which creates the California Community Corrections Performance Incentives Act of 2009 which would establish a system of performance-based funding to support evidence-based practices relating to the supervision of adult felony probationers. (Yes, I know Leno’s not from the East Bay, but Alameda County Chief Probation Officer Donald Blevins is a big fan of this bill, hailing it as a way “to finally get the attention of the state that there’s a way to improve the system by using local resources.”)


By Hayashi:

    AB 1158 would have added the characteristic of other land uses – including educational facilities that provide direct linkages for people traveling to and from primary and secondary education schools community colleges, and universities – to the list of specified characteristics that a transit village plan may address. Hayashi believed this would let community colleges secure future funding for educational centers that can be a part of transit villages. “This bill is unnecessary because local governments are already free to address any form of development as part of a transit village plan, including educational facilities. In addition, not all local governments have a need to include educational facilities in a transit village plan,” the veto message said.

By Skinner:

    AB 1276 would have barred any state official including the Governor, from giving consent to the federal government to bind California to provisions of international trade agreements, including procurement rules, without the Legislature’s explicit consent through a change in state law. “The Governor’s authority very clearly extends to both international and administrative matters, so he is well suited to represent the ideas of the California population on matters of trade,” the veto message said.

By Swanson:

    AB 838 would have required the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board by July 1, 2011 to adopt a standard for controlling the risk heat-related illness where employees work indoors. “As I said when vetoing similar legislation two years ago, there is no need to legislate a mandate in this area. The OSHSB has the authority to adopt regulations in this area and will do so when it determines the need for a specific standard on indoor heat,” the veto message said.
    AB 1312 would have extended by five more years the requirement that all health clubs have automatic external defibrillators with trained personnel present to help save people having heart attacks, and to require that golf clubs and amusement parks have defibrillators available, too. “There is no compelling need to extend the 2012 sunset date at this time, especially when a reasonable exemption for a particular type of business model was sought and rejected. I am not willing to extend this law to additional businesses until this problem is addressed,” the veto message said.

By Torrico:

    AB 1049 would have added the state Safely Surrendered Baby Fund to the state income tax return form’s voluntary contributions section. “I have reviewed the merits of this bill. After careful and deliberative consideration, I do not believe it is necessary to sign this bill at this time,” the veto message said.
    AB 1270 would have made it easier for victims to receive compensation from the Victim’s Compensation and Government Claims Board in a timely manner by requiring the board to have written procedures and time frames in place as suggested by a state audit report. The governor’s veto message said the Board already is adopting the audit’s suggestions, so this bill isn’t needed.

By Corbett:

    SB 34 would have required that petition signature gatherers be paid by the hour, not per signature, in order to reduce fraud. “As I have stated when vetoing similar legislation, prohibitions on per-signature payments will make it more difficult for grassroots organizations to gather the necessary signatures and qualify measures for the ballot,” the veto message said.
    SB 196 would have lengthened the notice given to the state and required public hearings before a hospital emergency room can be shut down; she wrote the bill in reaction to the flap over San Leandro Hospital. “While I share the author’s concern about the significant strain being placed on our emergency room network in California, I cannot support a bill that would mandate a hospital to maintain specific services when those services are not a requirement of licensure,” the veto message said. “Forcing hospitals to keep an emergency room open, especially when they are closing because of financial circumstances, will only jeopardize patient care due to the rapid attrition of medical and nursing staff, as well as suppliers.”
    SB 305 would have required the Office of the State Architect, using existing resources, to update the inventory and report on the seismic safety of California public schools to more accurately identify building deficiencies in school facilities. “Nothing in current law precludes this from occurring, and it is already being done. Therefore, this bill is unnecessary,” the veto message said.
    SB 400 would have halted sales of electronic cigarettes, currently unregulated and sometimes marketed to children. “While I support restricting access of electronic cigarettes to children under the age of 18, I cannot sign a measure that also declares them a federally regulated drug when the matter is currently being decided through pending litigation,” the veto message said. “Items defined as ‘tobacco products’ are legal for anyone over the age of 18. If adults want to purchase and consume these products with an understanding of the associated health risks, they should be able to do so unless and until federal law changes the legal status of these tobacco products.”

By Hancock:

    SB 279 would have added energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable-energy improvements to public buildings to the list of projects that can be financed with special parcel taxes under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act. “(B)y allowing Mello-Roos taxes to be imposed on homeowners to finance energy efficiency improvements, this bill would represent a fundamental shift in the purpose of Mello-Roos taxes, which are intended to finance core infrastructure needs such as roadways, sewers, and street lighting. This is a shift that I cannot support,” the veto message said.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.