SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced that four bills he has authored to protect public safety, health and the environment have cleared the State Senate and are now on their way back to the Assembly for a largely procedural vote of concurrence before being sent to the governor’s desk.
Assembly Bill 2324 – Improves Safety for Public Transit
“In light of the attempted terrorist attack in New York City, and other terrorist attacks on public transit systems around the world, it is imperative that California’s law enforcement authorities have every tool they need to protect our transit systems,” Pérez said. “AB 2324 will be another valuable tool that law enforcement professionals can use to help the rest of us go about our daily routines safely and securely.”
AB 2324, which is in response to security concerns raised by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will help protect commuters and travelers by making it a crime to bring most weapons aboard public transit vehicles and into vulnerable areas of bus depots and train stations. The bill will also make it a crime to knowingly avoid security screenings and strengthen penalties for repeat offenders engaging in certain dangerous crimes.
Assembly Bill 2503 – Establishes Rigs-to-Reefs Program
“The rigs-to-reef program will boost marine life and helps us bring in the funds we need to protect and enhance our valuable coastal and ocean resources,” Pérez said. “The protection we provide California’s coast and our ocean will be part of the legacy we leave for generations to come.”
AB 2503 would allow the underwater portion of decommissioned oil rigs to remain in place to continue serving as valuable fish habitat. The bill would continue the removal of oil platforms from the seascape and protect ocean biodiversity, including threatened rock fish populations and millions of other sea creatures that live on these reefs. The bill would allow a rig to be converted to a reef only if the Ocean Protection Council finds that the conversion will result in a net environmental benefit.
The bill would also create the California Endowment for Marine Preservation, which would receive up to 80 percent of the cost savings from rig conversion instead of complete removal. These funds, which could amount to up to one billion dollars, could be spent by the Endowment only for ocean and marine protection projects and activities.
Air and water pollution threats associated with the full removal of these rigs, some in waters as deep as 1,200 feet, would be addressed by reducing the need for the involvement of significant industrial removal equipment that must travel from around the world.
Assembly Bill 2352 – Provides Organ Transplant Patients with Anti-Rejection Medication
“Most transplant patients require more than a year to fully recover their strength and go back to work, yet under current law, anti-rejection meds are only covered for one year,” Pérez said. “There is absolutely nothing that makes less sense than giving someone a new chance at life, then setting them up for failure by ensuring the organ is rejected.”
AB 2352 provides that Medi-Cal beneficiaries shall remain eligible to receive Medi-Cal coverage for anti-rejection medication for up to two years following an organ transplant, unless during that period the beneficiary becomes eligible for Medicare or private health insurance that would cover the medication.
Assembly Bill 2720 – Promotes Healthy Food Access
“The lack of access to healthy food is a serious health injustice that cuts across societal and geographic lines,” said Pérez. “This bill addresses this issue by proactively seeking opportunities to increase the number of grocery stores, urban and rural farm stands and farmers’ markets in communities that have no or distant access to affordable, quality and nutritious foods – communities known as food deserts.”
AB 2720, which establishes the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative, positions California to receive federal dollars under the President’s 2010 Healthy Food Financing Initiative – which was included in his 2011 budget proposal. The President’s proposal would provide up to $340 million nationwide in incentives, grants and loans to eliminate food deserts by 2017.
AB 2720 also requires the California Department of Food and Agriculture to provide recommendations to the Legislature regarding possible actions to promote access to healthy food in these underserved areas by July 1, 2011.
Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker
CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408