(Sacramento) – The Farmworker Health Act, Assembly Bill 1963, by Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara), successfully passed the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee today.
The measure, cosponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, the California Health Officers Association, and Pesticide Action Network of North America, will reduce pesticide poisoning in California by streamlining the tracking of pesticide usage and exposure by state officials.
“Farm workers are regularly exposed to potentially harmful pesticides risking birth defects, non-hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia and other life threatening diseases to help bring food to our tables,” said Assemblymember Nava. “It is critical that we provide this vital workforce with the best possible protections from chemicals that adversely affect their health.” As part of their job, farm workers in California load, mix, and apply hazardous pesticide chemicals, including organophosphates and carbamates. These pesticides work by inhibiting a nerve enzyme called cholinesterase (ChE), which is essential to maintaining normal nerve function.
Symptoms of ChE depression include: impaired reproduction; an increased risk of spontaneous abortion and congenital defects resulting in fetal death and altered birth parameters such as low birth weight and birth length; a weakened immune system; an increased risk of non-hodgkins lymphoma and leukemia; increased incidence of asthma; nerve damage; and neurotoxilogically related death.
Approximately 5 million pounds were applied in California in 2008.
According to a law enacted in 1974, employers who require workers to apply these pesticides must test workers’ ChE levels to ensure that workers' health is not endangered. Unfortunately, there is no requirement for test results to be delivered to any state agency responsible for worker health.
AB 1963 is a simple fix to an outdated law – it would require electronic reporting of lab results to relevant state agencies that can protect workers and prevent pesticide poisonings.
“The testing program is over 30 years old; it's high time to make a modest adjustment so that state authorities can determine if the program is protecting farm workers from easily preventable pesticide exposure, or not,” said Margaret Reeves, Senior Scientist at Pesticide Action Network of North America. “Reporting test results is both feasible and necessary for the protection of thousands of workers who routinely handle highly hazardous neurotoxins.” Electronic reporting will allow authorities, including the Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, to implement necessary safety precautions in work places with high exposure levels. These changes can include evaluating current safety precautions, changing handling practices, improving pesticide safety training, and general sanitation and decontamination practices.
Additionally, electronic reporting can provide increased medical supervision of workers. AB 1963 will lead to improvements in the workplace safety and reduce farm worker exposure to harmful pesticides. The measure now moves to the Assembly Health Committee for consideration in the coming weeks.
(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Tom Torlakson (D-Contra Costa) and Assemblymember Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles) have introduced a bill which requires a university or college to write a Disclosure Letter to a student-athlete recruit detailing the terms of a scholarship before signing the National Letter of Intent.
“Student-Athletes have been promised the moon – multi-year free-tuition scholarships and paid-for medical expenses related to sports injuries. But some universities and colleges are not living up to their assurances and many student-athletes are left on the sidelines
without the scholarship and without help for paying off medical costs when a player is hurt while playing in a game, tournament or sport,” said Torlakson, who is a teacher and a coach and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Schools and Community. “This bill will clarify the rights and responsibilities of the student-athlete and university or college so the student can make the best decision regarding such an important time in their life.”
The NCAA prohibits multi-year free-tuition scholarships but students are often made verbal promises during the recruiting process that are not always followed through. Scholarships are limited to one year renewals and students can be dropped at any moment. In addition, the NCAA does not require a university or college pay for sports-related medical expenses so a student who is injured may be responsible for hospital, doctor and physical therapy bills.
“It is time for us to address this lack of transparency. Student-Athletes contribute to athletic programs at higher learning institutions around the country. These programs benefit the students, alumni, administration and ultimately the university or college. Enrollment also becomes more competitive when the sports spotlight is on a particular athletic department and fans start paying more attention,” said Davis,
Chair of the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media. “Therefore the administration owes a duty of good faith in negotiation with prospective student athletes and should not allow recruiters and coaches to make promises to take care of them which they cannot keep. Our bill will protect California’s recruits as they make one of the most important decisions in life.”
The Student-Athletes’ Right to Know Bill – AB 2079 – also requires all institutions with intercollegiate athletic programs to provide a disclosure letter to the student recruits within one week of a recruiter’s contact with a student-athlete.
(Sacramento) – Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Alyson Huber to identify and eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in government agencies moved one step closer to becoming law today. AB 1659 and AB 2130 passed out of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection with bipartisan support.
“Legislators create new boards, commissions, agencies and departments to solve a problem and then no one looks back and asks whether the new bureaucracy actually solved the problem it was created to solve or whether the problem is worse,” testified Assemblymember Alyson Huber. “We can fix this systemic problem by conducting comprehensive, regular reviews of state government to ensure taxpayers that their money is being used wisely. Other states have been doing this for years and California should adopt this common sense approach to oversight.”
Assemblymember Huber was joined at the hearing by Michael Shaw, Legislative Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, in support of the bill.
“AB 1659 and AB 2130 create a long-term review process that promotes accountability and consistency by establishing routine reviews of existing boards and commissions that focus on determining whether or not they are still necessary,” said Shaw. “Through this improved public process we hope California will become a better place to start and grow businesses that keep our state prosperous.”
AB 1659 would take existing legislative resources and re-direct them to the Joint Sunset Review Committee which would conduct a comprehensive analysis of state government agencies to determine if the agency is still necessary, should be reorganized or is cost effective. In order to compel action on recommendations, it is the intent that automatic sunset dates would be established for entities scheduled for review. Prior to the committee’s recommendation each agency scheduled for sunset would be required to submit a report to the committee. Then, the committee would take public testimony and evaluate the agency prior to the agency’s scheduled sunset.
AB 2130 serves as starting point to define which government entities will be subject to the Committee established by AB 1659 and sets the sunset timetable for the first years of reviews.
In 1989, the Little Hoover Commission issued a report, entitled Boards and Commissions: California's Hidden Government, which found that, “California's multi-level, complex governmental structure today includes more than 400 boards, commissions, authorities, associations, councils and committees. These plural bodies operate to a large degree autonomously and outside of the normal checks and balances of representative government.”
The Commission concluded that “the state's boards, commissions and similar bodies are proliferating without adequate evaluation of need, effectiveness and efficiency.”
Numerous other states have a sunset review function. Texas, for example, created its Sunset Advisory Commission in 1978. Since the Commission’s inception 58 agencies have been abolished and another 12 agencies have been consolidated saving $27 for each dollar spent on the Commission. Total savings achieved by the Commission equals roughly 5% of the state's budget.
Despite the explosion in California’s bureaucracy no system has been instituted to comprehensively evaluate their effectiveness and necessity. AB 1659 addresses the need for a system of review.
The bills will be heard in Assembly Committee on Appropriations next.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymembers Norma Torres (D-Pomona) and Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park) today urged the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) to consider several home foreclosure prevention approaches as CalHFA develops the state’s program proposal for $700 million in new federal Hardest Hit Housing Market (H4M) assistance. The proposal for the federal H4M funding is due by April 16, 2010.
“California has been hit harder by the foreclosure crisis and subsequent recession than any other state in the Union, and these funds will help stabilize California’s housing market,” said Speaker Pérez. “Stopping the hemorrhaging in the housing market will help to stabilize our economy, and allow us to focus on creating the quality, high-paying jobs that are our pathway to recovery.”
“As you know, the H4M program presents California with an opportunity to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure, are underwater in their mortgages, and/or are unemployed,” the legislators wrote in a letter to CalHFA. “Recognizing the short time period the California Housing Finance Agency has to develop this program, we commend the Agency for your efforts to solicit input from stakeholders who work with at-risk homeowners.”
The legislators added, “As the Assembly continues our efforts to help California recover from the recession and the foreclosure crisis, we look forward to working with you to ensure that the proposal and programs developed by your Agency will be successful in helping California homeowners – and the neighborhoods and communities that suffer from foreclosures as well.”
Specifically, the legislators suggested the following measures:
• Develop strategies with banking partners to leverage the $700 million available to the state to ensure that the funds are used to the maximum advantage. Encourage lenders to participate as equal partners in the program so that the private sector investment complements the government investment
• Offer homeowners comprehensive information and tools to evaluate foreclosure alternatives including short sales
• Devise strategies to help ensure that homeowners assisted through the program can maintain their mortgages for the long-term
• Build upon an existing program with Genworth to provide unemployment insurance to homeowners who may be temporarily out of work and therefore unable to pay their mortgage
• Consider the establishment of partnerships with programs that provide counseling or mediation services to homeowners at risk of foreclosure
The Assembly’s home foreclosure prevention approaches are based on recent outreach efforts conducted by Assemblymember Torres in the Inland Empire, Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston) in the Central Valley and Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego) in the San Diego region.
SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Census, discusses how census participation helps California receive its fair share of federal funding and congressional representation. Fuentes notes that there is still time to mail in census forms and that because the Census Bureau keeps the information confidential and does not share it with anyone, no California resident should fear participating in the census.
Transcript:Hello, this is Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Census.
National Census Day was April 1st, but Californians still have time to fill out this simple but very important questionnaire.
Census forms postmarked throughout April and beyond will be accepted and will help us avoid costly visits Census staff would have to make to homes beginning in May
There is no other civic act that impacts our state and local communities like returning your census form.
It will decide whether or not California will receive its fair share of the 400 billion dollars of federal funding that is given out to states each year for the next ten years.
The census will decide if schools will be properly funded, hospitals have the resources to care for the sick and elderly, and whether or not our roads and bridges will be safe for Californians.
This very important count will also be used to decide how many congressional representatives we will have in Washington DC.
It’s important for all Californians to know that any information you give the US Census Bureau will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone.
No resident in our state should fear participation in the census because of their legal status.
Even though the census will have a huge impact on our state, it is very easy to participate in.
There are ten simple questions to complete and return and the Census Bureau’s toll free help line is in English at 866-872-6868 and in Spanish at 866-928-2010.
Again, that’s 866-872-6868 for English and 866-928-2010 for Spanish.
Please visit 2010 census.gov for more information.
With everything our state stands to gain I invite you to join us in making California count in the 2010 census.
This is Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes.
Thank you for listening.
CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408
Asambleísta Fuentes: Ayude a que California Cuente en el Censo del 2010
SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje demócrata semanal, el asambleísta Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), presidente del Comité Selecto de la Asamblea sobre el Censo, comenta cómo la participación en el Censo ayudará a California a recibir su porción justa de los fondos federales y su representación al Congreso. Fuentes indica que todavía es tiempo de enviar por correo su forma del Censo y que la Oficina del Censo mantiene la información confidencial y no la comparte con ninguna otra agencia o individuos, y es por esta razón que ningún residente de California debería tener miedo de participar en el Censo.
MENSAJE RADIALHola, les habla el asambleísta Felipe Fuentes, presidente del Comité Selecto de la Asamblea sobre el Censo.
El día nacional del Censo fue el primero de abril, pero los californianos todavía tienen tiempo para llenar el simple pero muy importante cuestionario.
Las formas del Censo enviadas antes del 30 de abril y después de esta fecha serán aceptadas y nos ayudaran a evitar las costosas visitas del personal del Censo a nuestros hogares programadas para comienzos de mayo.
No existe ningún otro acto cívico con tal grado de impacto para nuestro estado y comunidades locales que llenar y enviar de vuelta la forma del Censo
Esto decidirá si California recibe o no su justa parte de los 400 mil millones de dólares en fondos federales que se distribuyen a todos los estados cada año por los próximos diez años.
El censo decidirá si las escuelas recibirán los fondos apropiados, los hospitales contarán con los recursos necesarios para atender a los enfermos y ancianos, o si los puentes y carreteras serán los suficientemente seguros para los californianos.
Este importante conteo será usado para decidir cuantos representantes al Congreso tendremos como estado en Washington DC.
Por eso que es muy importante que los californianos sepan que cualquier información proporcionada a la Oficina del Censo es confidencial y por ley no puede ser compartida con ninguna otra agencia o individuos.
Ningún residente de nuestro estado debería tener miedo o excluirse de participar en el Censo debido a su estado legal.
Aunque el Censo tendrá un gran impacto en nuestro estado, también es muy fácil de participar en el. Son solamente diez simples preguntas para completar y enviarla de vuelta, y la Oficina del Censo cuenta con una línea telefónica de ayuda gratuita en español llamando al 1-866-928-2010.
Otra vez, es el 1-866-928-2010.
Por favor visite el portal de Internet 2010 census.gov para más información.
Con todo lo que el estado tiene por ganar, le invito a que nos acompañe para que nos cuenten como se debe en el Censo del 2010.
Gracias por su atención. Les habló el asambleísta Felipe Fuentes.
SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) highlights bills passed by the Legislature this week that create jobs by boosting California’s housing and green technology markets. He explains the efforts represent only a down payment on what’s needed to turn the economy around and that the Legislature’s cooperative, bipartisan effort to create jobs continues.
Transcript:Hello, this is Assembly Speaker John Pérez.
This week the Legislature approved two important job creation measures that start putting Californians back to work.
One bill provides a $10,000 tax incentive on the purchase of a new home that will create construction jobs for new homebuilding.
The incentive can also be used by first time homebuyers to purchase pre owned homes, helping our housing market rebound.
The other bill we passed provides a tax credit that helps create new jobs for manufacturing of green technology products.
This investment will help spur development of California’s green economy.
I’m proud we’ve been able to pass these measures that start creating the jobs we need.
However, they represent only a down payment on the policies we need to turn our economy around.
The Legislature will continue to work with Californians throughout the state on creating the jobs we need to get out of this recession.
Cooperation and bi-partisanship, not partisan gridlock, is essential if we’re going to help every Californian succeed.
This is Assembly Speaker John Pérez.
Thanks for listening.
CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408
Pérez Llama a Medidas de Creación de Empleos un Primer Paso en los Esfuerzos para Ayudar a los Trabajadores de California
SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje demócrata semanal, el presidente de la Asamblea John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), destaca las medidas aprobadas por la Legislatura durante la semana que tienen por objetivo crear trabajos al impulsar los mercados de la vivienda y tecnología verde. Pérez también resalta que estos esfuerzos representan el primer paso para la recuperación económica y que la cooperación bipartidaria dentro de la Legislatura continuará con la tarea de crear nuevas fuentes de trabajo.
SACRAMENTO – As part of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez’s efforts to create jobs and help homeowners in California, the Assembly today passed legislation to provide $10,000 tax credits to buyers of new and pre-owned homes and to provide a sales tax exemption on the equipment manufacturers buy as they expand green business in California.
“Today, the Legislature approved two important job creation measures that put Californians back to work,” said Speaker Pérez. “One bill will help put construction workers back to work by providing tax incentives to first-time homebuyers, spurring the construction of new homes and the sale of existing housing stocks while the other will spur the development of the green economy by exempting the manufacturing of green technology products from sales tax. These measures will help get Californians working again, but they only represent a down payment of the kinds of job-creation policies the Legislature needs to enact to get California out of this recession.
Here are the links to audio of Speaker Pérez:
Speaker Pérez says that the Assembly passed two proposals that will create jobs for Californians. One of them being a $10,000 tax credit for first time home buyers. mp3
Speaker Pérez says the other measure will help California become a leader in the Green Economy. mp3
Speaker Pérez says that it’s important to look the gas tax swap as job creation product. mp3
Speaker Pérez says that the Governor was very happy with the package that the Assembly put together. mp3
Texas Taxes = $14.33/barrel | California only gets $4.22/barrel
Sacramento - Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) was joined Monday by educators, healthcare providers, nurses, seniors, organized labor, and environmentalists to promote Assembly Bill 1604 – the Oil Industry Fair Share Act. Representatives from the Congress of California Seniors, the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, the California School Employees Association, and Environment California, all advocated in support of the oil severance tax.
Currently, according to an analysis by the Board of Equalization, California taxes oil at 1/3 the rate of Texas. Texas’ taxes amount to about $14.33/barrel of oil, and in California the taxes amount to about $4.22/barrel. Nava’s legislation imposes a modest 10% charge on the gross value of each barrel of oil produced in California. This tax will provide approximately $1.5 billion in additional revenue to the California General Fund that can be used for public safety, education, health services, and other vital programs.
“Compared to other states, California oil companies are getting a free ride. California is the only major oil producing state that does not charge a severance tax on oil extraction. It is time to catch up with Alaska, Texas, Alabama, and Arkansas. We need to collect the people’s share of this potential revenue source by getting oil companies to pay their fair share,” said Nava.
Here are links to audio of Assemblymember Nava in English:
Assemblymember Nava says the proposed oil severance tax will raise $1.5 billion in new revenues. mp3
Assemblymember Nava says California is the only oil-producing state in the U.S. that doesn’t levy a severance tax on oil extraction. mp3
Assemblymember Nava says consumers should not see an increase in gas prices as a result of the proposed oil severance tax. mp3
Assemblymember Nava says the public should know who is responsible for keeping common-sense revenues out of state coffers. mp3
Here are links to audio of Assemblymember Nava in Spanish:
El asambleísta Nava dice que la industria del petróleo es la única que obtiene grandes ganancias y por esa razón no necesitan explorar por nuevos yacimientos en las costas de California. mp3
El asambleísta Nava dice que las compañías petroleras se oponen a pagar un impuesto que es justo. mp3
El asambleísta Nava dice que no cree que las compañías petroleras vayan a bajar la producción de gasolina porque la economía de California esta basada en el petróleo. mp3
El asambleísta Nava dice que la gente debe saber que los republicanos no respaldan los programas que ayudan a la comunidad Latina. mp3
Honors Commitment to Bipartisan Solutions; Names Two Republican Committee Chairs
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced his Democratic leadership team and unveiled the Assembly’s committee assignments for the remainder of the 2009-2010 Regular Session. Honoring his commitment to encourage bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing California, Pérez appointed Assemblymember Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) to chair the Assembly Committee on Local Government and Assemblymember Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) to chair the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs. The last time a Republican was appointed by a Democratic Speaker to chair an Assembly committee was 2002.
Pérez’s appointments also improve the balance of representation on committees, and Republicans will see a net gain of two committee vice chairmanships. In announcing the appointments Speaker Pérez said:
“When I was sworn-in as Speaker I said we must embrace bipartisan cooperation in order to create jobs, turn the economy around and help solve the many other challenges facing our state. The appointments I’m announcing not only reflect the values of the strong Democratic majority the people of California sent to Sacramento, they also include more representation of Republican points of view. As I pledged, I have appointed two Republican members to chair Assembly committees, and there are also more Republican vice-chairs and greater bipartisan balance on committees. With the difficult tasks before us of creating new jobs and implementing real reform, I want to make sure Assembly Committees maximize the talent and experience of all our members.”
LOS ANGELES – At his community inaugural ceremony today, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) described the continued economic challenges facing California and announced that as part of the shared sacrifice required to get the state past the recession, he is cutting the Assembly’s budget 15%.
“We have been forced to ask fellow Californians to sacrifice much in the past few years, and the Legislature must share in that sacrifice,” Pérez said. “I believe we must continue to embrace that spirit of shared sacrifice, and to that end, I am directing the Assembly operating budget be cut by 15%. Every dollar we save is a dollar we can use to mitigate further cuts to the state budget. Unfortunately, savings and efficiencies alone will not close this deficit—it is simply too large, and the situation demands a thoughtful, balanced solution.”
Speaker Pérez said his top priority is to get Californians working again and that he would implement innovative ideas around job creation and strategies that promote high-paying, high-skilled jobs that restore the essential middle class.
He also pointed to the importance of bipartisan cooperation to solve the state’s problems and added that he hoped that same kind of cooperation can help pass the sweeping bipartisan reform package just introduced in the Legislature. The reform package will stabilize state finances, increase accountability, enhance public oversight of government operations and make government more effective for the people of California.
Pérez, who was officially sworn-in as Speaker of the Assembly in the State Capitol on March 1, noted that since that time several California communities are pursuing the same type of ban he placed preventing special-interests texting Assemblymembers during votes and committee hearings. “Whether it’s a vote for the budget or any other issue when we cast a vote on the floor or in committee, the people of California will have the last word because of the prohibition I have ordered on text messages from lobbyists while we conduct the people’s business,” Pérez said. “It’s a simple common sense step and it’s already being emulated in communities across the state.”
Participating in the ceremony at the Japanese American Museum were Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Mayor Ana Rosa Rizo of Maywood, Assemblymember Isadore Hall III (D-Compton), Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary-Treasurer Maria Elena Durazo, Little Tokyo Center Director Bill Watanabe and Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Eric C. Bauman. The oath of office was administered by the Honorable M.L. Villar, judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Other special guests attending included Congresswoman Judy Chu, Speaker-Emeritus Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and former Governor Gray Davis. Performances by Los Angeles High School #9 for the Visual and Performing Arts Women’s Chorus and The Franklin High School Marching Band rounded out the program.
“This bill brings California’s election recount process into the 21st century. Elections are a fundamental democratic principle and we must make every effort to ensure their integrity. I believe AB 44, will do just that.”
As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I know the importance of college affordability and safety. We must ensure students are provided with safe learning environments. In addition, students need transparency in higher education costs in order to make informed financial decisions for college."
"We know that students in foster care are more likely to achieve their full potential when they are provided services designed to meet their particular needs. It's imperative that foster youth get the support and resources they need to succeed academically."