SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, California Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) will begin his final year in the Senate when the legislature reconvenes on January 6, 2014. His legislation has already had an impressive impact on California public policy, ranging from public safety, health, education, energy, technology, environmental quality, consumer protection and voting.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my constituents and our state. I look forward to this final year being no less productive,” said Senator Padilla.
Padilla was first elected to the Senate in 2006 to represent the 20th District in Los Angeles County. Since that time, he has won legislative approval for 93 bills, 80 of which were signed into law.
Senator Padilla’s bills that took effect January 1, 2014 includes:
SB 135 – Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) System. This new law requires the development of a comprehensive statewide earthquake early warning system in California. A fully developed system would process data from an array of sensors throughout the state, detect the strength and the progression of an earthquake and provide up to 60 seconds advanced warning before potentially damaging ground shaking is felt.
SB 362 – Disaster Responder Voting. This new law protects the voting rights of emergency workers who are participating in disaster relief efforts outside of California by setting-up an alternative means to obtain a ballot and cast their vote in an election.
SB 360 – Publicly Owned Voting Machines. This new law allows counties to develop, own and operate public voting systems, subject to approval and certification by the California Secretary of State.
SB 380 – Telecommunication Service Interruption. This new law prohibits the arbitrary shutdown of wireless communication services without a court order. For decades, California law has required a court order to interrupt or shutdown traditional telephone service. The bill was in response to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency (BART) shutdown of mobile services for three hours during public protests in August 2011.
SB 330 – Mental Health for K-12. This new law improves the educational framework for teaching California K-12 public school students about mental health issues to ensure that they receive instruction to raise both awareness and understanding by requiring the California State Board of Education and the Instructional Quality Commission to develop a distinct category on mental health instruction.
SB 435 – Piece-Rate Workers. This new law ensures that piece rate workers are paid for their rest periods and encourages them to take rest periods when exposed to extreme heat.
SB 740 – CA Advanced Services Fund. This new law modifies the eligibility requirements and funding for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to support broadband infrastructure in the most remote areas of the state that lack high-speed Internet access.
SB 440 – Community College Transfers. This new law requires that the California Community Colleges and the California State University develop a strategic plan for full implementation of the Student Transfer Achievement Reform (STAR) Act of 2010 and create Associate Degrees for Transfer in every major by 2014-15 and in each areas of emphasis by 2016-17.
SB 191 – Pediatric Trauma Care. This new law authorizes counties to continue to collect funds for local emergency medical services, including pediatric trauma care, at no cost to the general fund.
SB 311 – Voter Participation. This new law requires that proposals to create, change, repeal or amend a city or county charter be submitted to its voters during a statewide general election.
SB 5 – Teacher Pipeline. This new law provides aspiring teachers the necessary time to develop the skills to effectively meet state expectations and requirements by allowing graduate level teacher preparation programs to expand from 1 to 2 years.
SCR 54–Government Access to Customer Information. This Senate Concurrent Resolution directs the California Law Revision Commission to examine California law and recommend needed reforms as it relates to government access to customer information from communications service providers.
Legislative Highlights from Senator Padilla’s career:
SB 1298 – Autonomous Vehicles. This 2012 bill requires the establishment of safety and performance standards for the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on California’s roads and highways. Audi, BMW, Ford, Volvo, and Volkswagen are all actively working on autonomous vehicle technology.
SB 26 – Cell Phones in Prison. This 2011 bill cracks down on the smuggling and possession of cell phones and other wireless communication devices in California prisons by imposing tough penalties for both smugglers and inmates. Cell phones in prison have been linked to murders, threats and intimidation of witnesses and victims, the coordination of gang activity and drug trafficking, planned escapes, and attacks on prison guards.
SB 1420 – Nutritional Information on Menus and Menu Boards. This 2008 bill requires nutritional information to be displayed by restaurants on menus and menu boards. California was first state in the nation to require this information and it later became national policy as part of the preventative healthcare section of the Affordable Care Act.
SB 1440 – Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act. This 2010 bill requires the California Community Colleges and the California State University to streamline the transfer process for community college students by creating two-year Associate in Arts (AA-T) and Associate in Science degrees (AS-T) for transfer with priority admission to the CSU system with junior status.
SB 332 – Smoke-Free Housing. This 2011 bill enacted a landmark anti-smoking law which for the first time explicitly allows landlords to establish smoke free units in multi-family rental housing.
SB 35 – Voter Registration. This 2012 bill brings California into full compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), commonly known as Motor Voter, by requiring Covered California and hundreds of state agencies to register voters. Motor Voter requires state governments to expand the public’s access to voter registration when renewing a driver’s license, vehicle registration or applying for social services.
SB 559 – Civil Rights. This 2011 bill protects Californians by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of genetic information in the areas of housing, employment, education, public accommodations, health insurance coverage, life insurance coverage, mortgage lending, and elections. As more and more Californians gain access to their personal genomic information, there is an increased potential for the misuse of genetic information to discriminate.
SB 1525 – College Student Athlete Bill of Rights. This 2012 bill implements the first in the nation Student-Athlete Bill of Rights in order to improve graduation rates of student-athletes by requiring California universities which make over ten million in athletics media revenue provide student-athletes who are injured, equivalent academic scholarships, pay the health care premiums and cover all insurance deductibles.
SB 71 – Green Manufacturing Tax Incentives. This 2010 bill exempts green manufacturers from paying sales and use taxes on manufacturing equipment to encourage investment in manufacturing, job creation and economic growth in California. California was one of only three states in the nation that did not provide a sales tax exemption or tax credit for the purchase of green manufacturing equipment.
SB 1193 – Broadband Deployment. This 2008 bill implements the California Advanced Services Fund by allocating $100 million to build broadband infrastructure in un-served and underserved areas of California.
SB 753 – English Learner Reform. This 2011 bill reforms how California’s 1.5 million English Learner students are evaluated in school by moving the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) from the beginning of the year to later in the school year like most other testing.
SB 624 – Illegal Sales of Tobacco to Minors. This 2007 bill allows local law enforcement to enforce the STAKE Act (Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act) by conducting compliance checks of tobacco retailers. Prior to Padilla’s bill, only the State Department of Health Services was allowed to conduct compliance checks.
SB 408 – Body Armor. This 2010 bill prohibits violent felons from purchasing, owning or possessing body armor. The bill was needed because of many deadly encounters between law enforcement and felons wearing body armor, including one of the most infamous, a North Hollywood shootout in 1997 where two bank robbers wearing body armor were able to engage 350 Los Angeles Police Department officers for an hour-long shoot out. Shots fired by officers literally bounced off the bank robbers’ body armor.
SB 1770 – Anti-reproductive rights crimes. This 2008 bill requires the Commission on Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) to prepare guidelines establishing standard procedures for law enforcement agencies in the investigation and reporting of cases involving anti-reproductive-rights crimes.
SB 729 – Vehicle Trade-In Consumer Protection. This 2007 bill creates a restitution program that compensates consumers who suffer financial loss in a vehicle trade-in transaction when purchasing a car from a car dealer that becomes insolvent. It is modeled after the successful travel agency restitution program.
For a complete list of Senator Padilla’s legislative accomplishments click-on link: http://sd20.senate.ca.gov/legislation
Senator Alex Padilla, 40, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of MIT and as President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 1,100,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District which includes most of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. You can find more information about Senator Padilla at his website http://sd20.senate.ca.gov/ .