Releases & Statements

Speaker Pérez Statement on Senator Maldonado Vote

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SACRAMENTO - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement regarding his vote in favor of confirming Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) as Lieutenant Governor:

“Two months ago, when this Chamber considered the same nomination, I voted against it because I believe our focus should be on job creation and reform, and did not believe that we should reward a backroom deal by the Governor.

“In the intervening period, this body has come together to approve a down-payment of job creation legislation to the people of California. We have approved legislation to waive the sales tax on equipment used to manufacture green products, creating an enormous incentive for job growth in one of THE growth industries of the 21st century, and we have approved a homebuyers tax credit that will help put the construction industry back to work by spurring new construction and the reduction of existing stocks.

“These were productive steps forward that Democratic and Republican Assemblymembers took together.  Now we have taken another step forward by approving this nomination. I have met with Senator Maldonado over the past several weeks and have given him some frank advice, which is private. To the extent he has taken that advice, I believe he helped his case with me and other members.

“One thing that is certain is that Senator Maldonado and Governor Schwarzenegger now understand that this Assembly takes its responsibility seriously, and the Senator has demonstrated a willingness to work with us on job creation, the budget and reform. I now believe he has demonstrated respect for the role this Assembly plays when we execute the solemn and enormous honor of standing in for the voters when a vacancy precludes them from exercising their will, and have voted in favor of his nomination accordingly.”

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

On Earth Day, Speaker Pérez Pushes Innovative Bills to Create Jobs, Spur Green Building Upgrades, Preserve Artificial Reef Ecosystems

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SACRAMENTO – With Californians celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this week, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) is quickly moving innovative bills through the Legislature to create jobs by spurring green building upgrades. The Speaker is also authoring legislation to allow companies to preserve marine life-supporting artificial reefs resting on the underwater portion of decommissioned oil rigs and to grow the state’s carpet recycling industry by keeping waste carpet out of landfills.

“Californians know moving toward a green economy can be a win-win when done right, and I’m proud to be carrying bills that are examples of such solutions,” Pérez said. “We’re moving to leverage federal HOMESTAR resources so skilled workers can find good jobs upgrading energy efficiencies so homeowners save money, we’re making sure the State Capitol does our share to protect the environment and cut energy costs through the Capitol Sustainability Task Force, and we’re advancing the rigs-to-reef program that helps spur marine life and generate desperately needed funds to protect and enhance our valuable coastal and ocean resources. And in my own district, carpet recycling has created hundreds of good-paying green jobs. But we can create even more of these green jobs if we boost our efforts to recycle and reuse waste carpets. As we focus on our key priorities of creating jobs, fixing the budget and reforming a broken system, being able to boost our environment at the same time is definitely a win-win.”

AB 2614 would direct the California Energy Commission (CEC) to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a program to facilitate the federal HOMESTAR program currently being considered in the U.S. Senate. The state program would involve numerous stakeholders to provide accountability and ensure that the projected energy savings are realized.

HOMESTAR is expected to provide for 50% rebates of up to $1500 for simple energy efficiency upgrades and 50% rebates of up to $3000 for more comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits. Additionally, HOMESTAR is expected to:

  • Create 168,000 jobs in skilled construction and manufacturing, two of the hardest hit sectors during the U.S. economic downturn
  • Save participating homeowners an average of between $200 - $500 per year in energy costs
  • Invest $6 billion in the form of consumer rebates to be matched by private investment
  • Help over three million American families to retrofit their houses to increase energy efficiency and save them as much as $9.5 billion in energy costs over 10 years
  • Remove the equivalent of 165,000 cars from the road or four 300 megawatt power plants form operation
  • Dedicate $200 million to provide access to low interest financing
  • Use a majority of manufactured goods made in the U.S., averaging well over 90 percent domestic production

AB 2670 would create the State Capitol Sustainability Task Force, whose duties would include:

  • Joining the California Climate Action Registry to determine, track, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Benchmarking and monitoring building operations, such as energy and water use
  • Improving waste diversion practices, such as material and electronic waste recycling, composting, and reusing materials
  • Investing in energy efficiency and water conservation technologies
  • Promoting environmentally preferable purchasing, such as green and recycled content products
  • Incorporating renewable energy, such as photovoltaic technology into our energy supply
  • Integrating sustainable practices such as double-sided copying, the use of low volatile organic compound paints, integrated pest management, and electronic distribution of certain documents
  • Partnering with utility companies, water districts, labor organizations, environmental groups, federal and local government, and private industry to develop green demonstration projects
  • Seeking a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or ENERGY STAR rating
  • Developing public education materials on sustainability for student groups and other visitors to the State Capitol
  • Finalizing the Capitol Park Master Plan

AB 2503 would establish the Rigs-to-Reefs program, allowing the underwater portion of decommissioned oil rigs to remain in place to continue serving as valuable fish habitat. AB 2503 would:

  • Continue the removal of oil platforms from the seascape
  • Protect ocean biodiversity, including threatened rock fish populations and millions of other sea creatures that live on these reefs
  • Allow a rig to be converted to a reef only if the Department of Fish and Game finds that the conversion will result in a net environmental benefit
  • Create the California Endowment for Marine Preservation, which would receive 45 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
  • Reduces air and water pollution threats associated with the full removal of these rigs – some in waters as deep as 1,200 feet – which involves significant industrial equipment from around the world

AB 2398 would create incentives for carpet manufacturers to implement a carpet product stewardship program to increase the recycling and reuse of waster carpets. AB 2398 would:

  • Require carpet manufacturers to prepare a carpet stewardship plan to show how they will take responsibility for collecting waste carpet instead of sending it to landfills
  • Set targets of 50% collection by 2014 and 70% by 2017
  • Prohibit manufacturers from selling carpet in California after 2012 unless they have prepared a plan to meet the targets

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Speaker Pérez, LA Sheriff Baca Announce Bill to Improve Safety and Security at Bus and Train Stations; Legislation Creates Weapons-Free Zones

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SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) was joined by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca at Los Angeles Union Station today to announce the Speaker’s introduction of AB 2324, legislation that 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.

“We need to keep weapons out of our mass transit system so that passengers have a safe way to travel and employees have a safe place to work, just as we do at our airports and seaports,” Pérez said. “AB 2324 will be another tool Sheriff Baca and all the other professionals here today can use to help the rest of us go about our daily routines safely and securely.”

“AB 2324 allows law enforcement to employ better methods of maintaining order and security, really giving travelers piece of mind and helping us prevent potential terrorist attacks on our transportation hubs,” Baca said. “Keeping weapons a safe distance away from these vulnerable sites strengthens our front lines and denies opportunities to would-be perpetrators.”

Assembly Bill 2324 prohibits an unauthorized person from knowingly entering a sterile area of a public transit vehicle station if that area has been posted with a notice that access is restricted, and creates a punishment if that person refuses to leave the area after being requested to do so by a peace officer or authorized personnel.

Assembly Bill 2324 also makes it a misdemeanor to willfully tamper with, remove, displace, injure, or destroy any part of any light rail train or bus equipment; and it recasts the provisions related to disturbing the peace on a public transit vehicle.

The bill also prohibits a person from intentionally bypassing security checkpoints at a public transit vehicle station and creates a punishment if a violation of this prohibition is responsible for the evacuation of public transit vehicle station.

Finally, the bill recasts provisions related to fare evasion and increases the penalty for repeat offenders.

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Speaker Pérez Directs Funding to Improve Training for Parole, Probation Officers

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(Sacramento) - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), joined by Assemblymembers Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego) and Marty Block (D-San Diego), met today with the family of Chelsea King at the State Capitol. Following the meeting, Pérez announced he is directing the Assembly to provide up to $250,000 from its budget savings to the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) for training parole and probation officers in investigation techniques that the SOMB has concluded can help protect communities from potential repeat offenders. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.

Speaker Pérez Meets with Chelsea King’s Family, Directs Funding to Improve Training for Parole, Probation Officers Protecting Against Predators

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SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), joined by Assemblymembers Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego) and Marty Block (D-San Diego), met today with the family of Chelsea King at the State Capitol. Following the meeting, Pérez announced he is directing the Assembly to provide up to $250,000 from its budget savings to the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) for training parole and probation officers in investigation techniques that the SOMB has concluded can help protect communities from potential repeat offenders.

“The safety of our public must always be the highest priority for any government, and clearly California needs to look at ways to increase supervision of parolees to prevent anyone else from being victimized—and to ensure that the punishment for those offenses is appropriate to protect communities, and especially children, from dangerous offenders,” Pérez said.

“I’m pleased to work with the Speaker to support our front-line officers with this funding,” Fletcher said. “Our laws and the enforcement of our laws must be strengthened if we’re going to keep our children safe in their communities.”

In the current fiscal year, the Assembly has already redirected $18 million from its budget savings to provide Californians with services from Cal-Fire, the Employment Development Department and the California Department of Parks and Recreation

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

Below are links to audio from today’s news conference.

Assembly Speaker Pérez’s opening remarks at today’s news conference. (2:25) mp3

Assemblymember Block says the legislation is the right response to such a horrible crime. (:13) mp3

Mr. King thanks Speaker Pérez and Assemblymembers for their support. (:40) mp3

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Speaker Pérez Bill to Maximize Jobs from Federal Energy Funding Advances

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Speaker Calls on U.S. Senate to Pass President’s HOMESTAR Program

SACRAMENTO – California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) lauded today’s Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee approval of AB 2614, legislation he authored to facilitate the job-creating federal HOMESTAR energy efficiency rebate program now being considered in the U.S. Senate. Additionally, Pérez urged swift approval of the HOMESTAR program in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

“In his State of the Union address the President outlined how HOMESTAR would revitalize the construction industry, help small businesses, and support manufacturing – all of which have tremendous job creating potential,” Pérez said in the letter. “We are also moving forward to ensure our state is properly positioned to implement the HOMESTAR program as soon as it becomes law.  In fact, I am pleased to share with you that my Assembly Bill 2614 is moving through the legislative process with strong bipartisan support.”

AB 2614 would direct the California Energy Commission (CEC) to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a program involving numerous stakeholders to provide accountability and ensure that the projected energy savings are realized.

HOMESTAR is expected to provide for 50% rebates of up to $1500 for simple energy efficiency upgrades and 50% rebates of up to $3000 for more comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits. Additionally, HOMESTAR is expected to:

  • Save participating homeowners an average of between $200 - $500 per year in energy costs
  • Create 168,000 jobs in skilled construction and manufacturing, two of the hardest hit sectors during the U.S. economic downturn Invest $6 billion in the form of consumer rebates to be matched by private investment
  • Help over three million American families to retrofit their houses to increase energy efficiency  and save them as much as $9.5 billion in energy costs over 10 years
  • Remove the equivalent of 165,000 cars  from the road or four 300 megawatt power plants form operation
  • Dedicate $200 million to provide access to low interest financing
  • Use a majority of manufactured goods made in the U.S., averaging well over 90 percent domestic production

The HOMESTAR effort comes on top of recent passage of state legislation to help California become more energy efficient. AB 758 (Skinner) requires the CEC to develop and implement a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy savings in existing residential and commercial buildings by using energy audits, energy efficiency improvements, financing options, and green workforce training. SB 77 (Pavley) requires the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority to establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Reserve program to assist local jurisdictions in financing the installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy or water efficiency improvements meeting specified requirements that are permanently affixed on real property through the use of a voluntary contractual assessment.

Click here to view the full letter from the Speaker to Reid.

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Speaker Pérez and Assemblymember Fuentes: Helping Homeowners Critical to Recovery

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SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) discuss the Assembly’s efforts to help California homeowners. They note that in addition to passing legislation to help Californians purchase a home, avoid foreclosure or avoid unexpected tax debt after a short sale, the Assembly is reaching out in a statewide effort to quickly and effectively use $700 million in federal foreclosure prevention funds expected for California in May.

 

 

English language MP3 file. The running time is 2:08. mp3

Spanish language MP3 file. The running time is 2:48. mp3

Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

Website of Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes: www.asm.ca.gov/fuentes

Transcript:

Hello, this is Assembly Speaker John Pérez.

Recent upswings in national jobs numbers and the stock market are promising signs for our economy.

But California is still recovering far too slowly.

Our struggling housing market is, of course, a major part of what’s slowing us down.

Recognizing this, the Assembly is working to help homeowners stay in their homes and to help homebuyers get into the housing market.

We’ve also passed a bill this week that helps tens of thousands of California taxpayers who had to utilize short sales and other tools because of the recession and foreclosure crisis.

It prevents these taxpayers from being swamped by unexpected tax debt just when their heads are coming up above water.

With the Obama Administration making additional resources available, there are even more things that we can do to help.

The Hardest Hit Housing Market program will provide California with up to $700 million in federal foreclosure prevention funds beginning as early as May.

We must utilize these funds quickly and effectively.

The Assembly has reached out to the hard hit Central Valley, the Inland Empire, San Diego and other areas struggling for ideas.

Now, in working with the California Housing Finance Agency on ways to implement the funds, we’re relaying the message that we’ve heard time and again from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Everyone must be involved, from those who know what it’s like to go through the foreclosure crisis to those with the resources to protect against it.

We have to leverage the new funds, bringing in banks and private sector investment to maximize available dollars.

Homeowners must be provided a variety of information and the tools they need to avoid foreclosure.

We can also do more to help with counseling and mediation services to find alternatives to foreclosure.

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Asambleísta Fuentes: Ayuda a los Dueños de Casa de California es Esencial para la Recuperación Económica

SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje demócrata semanal, el asambleísta Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), comenta sobre los esfuerzos que lleva adelante la Asamblea para ayudar a los dueños de casa en California. Fuentes indica que además de aprobar una legislación que ayude a los californianos a comprar una vivienda, y evitar los embargos como también la deuda tributaria debido a una venta de tiempo corto, la Asamblea se ha dado la tarea a nivel estatal de conocer las realidades para usar rápida y efectivamente los 700 millones de dólares en fondos federales para evitar los embargos que comenzarán a llegar a California el mes de mayo.

A continuación se encuentra el mensaje radial.

Spanish language MP3 file. mp3

Portal del asambleísta Felipe Fuentes: www.asm.ca.gov/fuentes

MENSAJE RADIAL Hola, les habla el asambleísta Felipe Fuentes, presidente del Comité de Apropiaciones de la Asamblea

La reciente mejoría en los números del empleo a nivel nacional y de la bolsa de valores son señales prometedoras para nuestra economía.

Pero California todavía se recupera muy lentamente.

Nuestro agobiante mercado de la vivienda es, de todas maneras, el mayor problema de nuestra lentitud.

Reconociendo esto, la Asamblea trabaja para ayudar a los dueños de casa a no perder sus hogares y crear las condiciones para que más personas tengan acceso al mercado habitacional.

Hemos pasado una propuesta de ley esta semana que ayudará a decenas de miles de contribuyentes Californianos que han tenido que utilizar ventas cortas y otros métodos por causa de esta recesión y la crisis hipotecaria.

La medida evita que la deuda inesperada de impuestos perjudique a los contribuyentes cuando apenas se recuperan económicamente.

Con la administración Obama otorgando recursos adicionales, existe la posibilidad de hacer mucho más de lo que se ha hecho hasta el momento.

El programa “The Hardest Hit Housing Market” otorgará a California casi $700 millones de dólares en fondos federales para prevenir más embargos a partir de los primeros días de mayo.

Nosotros debemos usar estos fondos de forma eficaz y rápida.

La Asamblea se ha contactado con las áreas más afectadas del Valle Central, de Inland Empire, San Diego y otras regiones para recaudar ideas.

Ahora, trabajando con la Agencia de Financiamiento de la Vivienda de California en formas para usar estos fondos, nosotros transmitimos el mensaje que hemos escuchado una y otra vez de vecindario en vecindario.

Todos debemos estar envueltos, desde aquellos que saben lo qué es ser embargado hasta aquellos que cuentan con los recursos para protegerse de ellos.

Nosotros debemos potenciar los nuevos fondos, invitando a los bancos y al sector privado a maximizar los dólares disponibles.

A los dueños de casa se les debe proporcionar una variedad de información y herramientas necesarias para evitar los embargos.

También creo que podemos hacer más con los servicios de asesorías y mediación para entregar alternativas a los embargos.

Y eso incluye la posibilidad de aumentar la posibilidad de un seguro donde las familias que confrontan la perdida del empleo puedan permanecer en sus viviendas.

En la Asamblea, el empleo y la recuperación económica son nuestra prioridad número uno. Y menos embargos y un mercado de la vivienda más sano son vitales para ambos.

Les habló Felipe Fuentes, presidente del Comité de Apropiaciones de la Asamblea. Gracias por su atención.

Nava Protects Farm Workers from Harmful Pesticides

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Farmworker Health Act Passed Key Committee Today

(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.

Website of Assemblymember Nava: www.asmdc.org/nava

Contact: John Mann (916) 718-7420

Here are links to audio of Assemblymember Nava:


Assemblymember Nava’s opening remarks at today’s committee hearing.Assemblymember Nava says AB 1963 is simple, common sense legislation to make sure workers are being protected.{mp3remote}http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/Newsline/Audio/20100406AB1963Nava1.mp3"> mp3

Assemblymembers Tom Torlakson and Mike Davis Introduce Bill to Protect Student-Athletes (AB 2079 - Student-Athletes’ Right to Know Bill)

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(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.

Website of Assemblymember Torlakson: www.assembly.ca.gov/torlakson

Website of Assemblymember Davis:
www.assembly.ca.gov/davis

Contact: Beryl Chong (916) 319-2011

Here are links to audio of Assemblymembers Torlakson, Davis and student-athlete Durrell Chamorro:

Assemblymember Torlakson says student-athlete recruits should be fully informed before they sign an agreement to attend a college or university.

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[span class=media]Assemblymember Torlakson says he hopes AB 2079 starts a national trend.
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[span class=media]Assemblymember Davis says all consumers, including student-athlete recruits, have a right to be fully informed before signing an agreement.
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[span class=media]Durrell Chamorro, a California resident, says he had a verbal agreement with a university in Colorado that was not fulfilled.
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Durrell Chamorro says colleges and universities should have to keep their promises.{mp3remote}http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/Newsline/Audio/20100406AB2079Chamorro2.mp3"> mp3

Assemblymember Huber Bills to Streamline State Government Move Forward

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(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.

Website of Assemblymember Huber: www.asmdc.org/huber

Here are links to audio of Assemblymember Huber:

Assemblymember Huber explains the purpose of her Sunset Review Committee legislation,AB 1659.

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[span class=media]Assemblymember Huber says its time for state government to be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to government efficiency.
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[span class=media]Assemblymember Huber says a Sunset Review Committee will not solve the state's financial challenges but could have a substantially fiscal impact.
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Assemblymember Huber says she has found widespread public support for AB 1659.{mp3remote}http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/Newsline/Audio/20100405AB1659Huber7.mp3"> mp3