Releases & Statements

Lieu Announces Critical Waterway Environmental Bill Signed by Governor

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(Sacramento) - Assemblymember Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance) announced that Governor Schwarzenegger signed his legislation to create a cost-effective solution to deal with the growing number of abandoned boats in California’s waterways. Assembly Bill 166 will establish a vessel turn-in program that permits boat owners to transfer ownership of their dilapidated vessels before they become an environmental hazard.

"This is a huge win. AB 166 is a much needed law that will go a long way toward solving the environmental problem of boats that pollute our rivers, lakes and coastlines," said Assemblymember Lieu. "I am thrilled that the Governor agrees that California needs to address the environmental degradation created by these boats that have been illegally abandoned by their owners."

Local governments, law enforcement agencies and environmental organizations are reporting an enormous increase in the number of vessels that are abandoned in California waterways. Reports indicate that there were as many boats abandoned in the first quarter of 2009 as there were in all of 2008 – a sign of a weak economic time when people are shedding luxury items such as boats.

"Abandoned boats in our treasured waterways pose a navigational, environmental, and economic hazard for Californians," says Sara Aminzadeh, Public Affairs Associate for San Francisco Baykeeper, one of the bill’s sponsors. "AB 166 will help keep derelict boats, and the oil, sewage, and other hazardous materials that they contain, out of our favorite swimming, kayaking, and boating areas. The bill will help protect people, fish and wildlife from the pollution hotspots created by abandoned boats."

However, there is a shortage of available funds to help clean up these sunken vessels so they continue to degrade local waterways for years. Under the new program established by AB 166, local agencies would be able to accept title of vessels from willing owners for the purpose of disposal. Abating vessels before they are abandoned will protect the state’s waterways and is the least expensive disposal option.

"We look forward to adding this new tool in our battle against abandoned vessels and their effects on navigation and the environment," said Captain Paul Gugg, Captain of the Port of San Francisco, U.S. Coast Guard. "Allowing boaters to voluntarily turn in their boats for disposal will reduce the amount of abandoned vessels in our waterways and further strengthen our unified front on this problem."

"Our clients are looking forward to the implementation of this new program," said Bill Krauss, advocate for the bill’s recreational boating and marina cosponsors. "We have worked hard for two years to see this bill through, and with it finally becoming law, we can now work even harder to clean up our state’s waterways."

AB 166 is cosponsored by San Francisco Baykeeper, California State Sheriffs’ Association, California Association of Harbor Masters & Port Captains, California Marine Parks & Harbors Association, California Yacht Brokers Association, Marina Recreation Association, Northern California Marine Association, and Western Boaters Safety Group.

Landmark Handgun Ammunition Regulation Legislation Signed

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(Sacramento) – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill (AB) 962, authored byAssemblymember Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) late last night. The bill restricts the access to bullets by criminals, gang members and other persons prohibited from possessing firearms.

“I am very pleased that the Governor approved giving law enforcement the valuable tool to track down armed and dangerous criminals and gang-bangers in our communities,” said De León. “AB 962 will take ammunition out of the hands of those dangerous individuals and is a critical component for cracking down on the gang violence terrorizing neighborhoods in many urban communities across California.”

AB 962 prohibits the selling of handgun ammunition to criminals and gang members. It also mandates that ammunition must be safely stored and requires purchasers of ammunition to show ID and provide a thumbprint. The thumbprint will enable local law enforcement to conduct reliable, real time background checks on ammunition purchasers and track down those that illegally purchase such ammunition.

AB 962 is built upon successful local ordinances in Los Angeles and Sacramento and which has led to the arrest of hundreds of armed and dangerous criminals and the confiscation of hundreds of firearms, including machine guns, assault weapons and bombs.

According to a RAND study, this type of law reduces illegal ammunition purchases and increases the detection and apprehension of dangerous persons who should not be armed and are likely to commit additional violent crimes in the future.

In just the last year, the Sacramento Ordinance allowed law enforcement to track down and arrest individuals who were prohibited from purchasing ammunition. Of those arrested, nearly 200 hundred were armed and dangerous criminals;151 had felony convictions; Five gang members, 44 were on probation; 41 were second strikers; two of them were third strikers; four were sex offenders; and two had been to prison for murder.

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  • Assemblymember De León says he’s very pleased the Governor signed AB 962.
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  • Assemblymember De León says AB 962 ONLY regulates the sale of ammunition, not guns.
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  • Assemblymember De León says, under AB 962, criminals will not be able to get ammo for their handguns.
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  • Assemblymember De León explains why a statewide handgun ammunition law is needed.
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  • Assemblymember De León says reducing gun violence by regulating the sale of ammunition will benefit all Californians.
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    Speaker Bass Comments on Water Package, Legislation

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    (Sacramento) – Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), during a news conference at the state capitol this afternoon, said a comprehensive water solutions package could be brought to the full legislature for review very soon. Speaker Bass says the package will include a strong conservation component, strict water rights enforcement, the creation of a Delta Stewardship Council and multi-billion dollars bond package to pay for desperately needed infrastructure improvements and delta restoration.

    "We have worked hard, day and night, especially over the last six days. And I believe that we have made amzing progress," said Speaker Bass. "You know the Governor has called for a special session on water. And I believe him calling for that special session will be helpful for us."

    "I believe that this will represent the most comprehensive and significant water infrastructure and policy advances since the state water project was established in the 1960s."

    The Speaker also commented on the Governor’s decisions related to the hundreds of bills sent to him by the State Legislature.

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  • Speaker Bass’ opening remarks to media at this afternoon’s news conference.
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  • Speaker Bass says she’s pleased the Governor decided to sign or veto legislation based on its merits.to media at this afternoon’s news conference.
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  • Speaker Bass says she believes a water solutions package is close to being finalized.
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    Governor Signs Landmark Lieu Mortgage Reform Legislation

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    (Sacramento) Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) today announced the Governor signed into law his landmark mortgage reform legislation to address the systematic failures in California’s mortgage industry. AB 260 is one of the most comprehensive new mortgage reform laws in the nation.

    “Look out Wall Street, California is no longer the Wild West,” said Assemblymember Ted Lieu. “Although it took two years, I am pleased to have been able to overcome the powerful interests blocking reform so that future generations won’t ever experience this type of crisis. This is a big win for consumers and for the future of California’s housing market.”

    AB 260, also joint-authored by Speaker Karen Bass and Assemblymember Pedro Nava, is California’s comprehensive reform response designed to bring trust and security back to the state’s mortgage market, protect borrowers from the most abusive lending practices that caused the foreclosure crisis, and reassure the secondary market that loans bought in California are sound.

    “Fraudulent mortgage practices have not only devastated California's economy and caused record unemployment, they have also triggered a national and international financial meltdown,” said Assemblymember Ted Lieu. “This new law cracks down on some of the most abusive lending practices and places significant safeguards on the industry to ensure this crisis never happens again.”

    Specific provisions of this bill include: prohibiting the steering of borrowers into higher-priced loans that are more risky than lower-interest, fixed-rate loans for which the borrower had actually qualified; banning negative amortization loans where the loan gets larger the longer the borrower holds the loan; and putting strict caps on prepayment penalties. This bill also enacts a strong fiduciary standard for all mortgage brokers and banks acting as mortgage brokers, and prohibits lenders and brokers from making false or misleading statements relative to the terms of a subprime loan.

    “The Governor’s approval of AB 260 is a message that California is no longer the Wild West for the lending industry,” said Pedro Morillas CALPIRG Consumer Advocate. “California has finally taken the first step towards reining in the excesses of banks and brokers.”

    California continues to be ground zero for home foreclosures, a direct result of irresponsible lending. According to RealtyTrac, California experienced 92,326 foreclosure filings in August 2009, amounting to one filing approximately every 30 seconds.

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    Bradford takes seat as 51st District Assemblymember

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    (Sacramento) - In a private ceremony today in the State Capitol, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) swore in Assemblymember Steve Bradford to represent the 51st Assembly District. Bradford (D-Gardena) won a special election earlier this month.

    “I’m delighted to welcome Steve Bradford to the California State Assembly,” Bass said. “As I noted when I endorsed Steve in his campaign he is experienced in leading during tough fiscal times and that’s exactly the kind of representative the 51st Assembly District and the people of California need right now. Starting right at the end of the session is a real baptism of fire, but I know Assemblymember Bradford will hit the ground running and be an effective and dedicated member of the legislature.”

    Assemblymember Bradford said he was honored to be sworn in as a member of the Assembly. “These are difficult times for our state and the legislature is confronted with several major and complex issues. In the days ahead I look forward to working with my colleagues to resolve these issues in favor of our constituents – the people of California,” Bradford said.

    He added, “At this moment I want to thank the residents of the City of Gardena for allowing me to serve them for the last twelve years as their City Councilmember and the voters of the 51st Assembly District for giving me the opportunity to serve them as their advocate in Sacramento. I also want to thank Speaker Bass for her counsel and support.”

    Assemblymember Bradford defeated four other candidates in a special election held to elect a successor to former Assemblymember Curren Price who was elected to the state Senate.

    A public ceremony swearing in for Assemblymember Bradford will be held at later date.

    Bradford takes seat as 51st District Assemblymember

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    (Sacramento) - In a private ceremony today in the State Capitol, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) swore in Assemblymember Steve Bradford to represent the 51st Assembly District. Bradford (D-Gardena) won a special election earlier this month.

    “I’m delighted to welcome Steve Bradford to the California State Assembly,” Bass said. “As I noted when I endorsed Steve in his campaign he is experienced in leading during tough fiscal times and that’s exactly the kind of representative the 51st Assembly District and the people of California need right now. Starting right at the end of the session is a real baptism of fire, but I know Assemblymember Bradford will hit the ground running and be an effective and dedicated member of the legislature.”

    Assemblymember Bradford said he was honored to be sworn in as a member of the Assembly. “These are difficult times for our state and the legislature is confronted with several major and complex issues. In the days ahead I look forward to working with my colleagues to resolve these issues in favor of our constituents – the people of California,” Bradford said.

    He added, “At this moment I want to thank the residents of the City of Gardena for allowing me to serve them for the last twelve years as their City Councilmember and the voters of the 51st Assembly District for giving me the opportunity to serve them as their advocate in Sacramento. I also want to thank Speaker Bass for her counsel and support.”

    Assemblymember Bradford defeated four other candidates in a special election held to elect a successor to former Assemblymember Curren Price who was elected to the state Senate.

    A public ceremony swearing in for Assemblymember Bradford will be held at later date.

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    [fpsub url="#" img="images/stories/thumbnails/864.gif" label="Full Story" vlabel="Video" vurl="#" title="Assemblymembers Ma, Torres Call for Restoration of Funding for Women’s Shelters"] Over 170,000 domestic violence-related calls for assistance are made in California every year. These calls come from every community as domestic violence cuts across ethnic, cultural and economic boundaries.[/fpsub] [fpsub url="#" img="images/stories/thumbnails/863.gif" label="Full Story" vlabel="Video" vurl="#" title="Assemblymember Nava Asks Governor to Sign Bill to Protect Consumers"] “We are asking the governor to immediately sign my legislation in order to prevent further harm to California families that face a barrage of solicitations making promises to modify their home loans while collecting advance fees for little or no result,” said Nava. “AB 764 will end these scams, ban the collection of advance fees and impose severe penalties for those who violate the law.”[/fpsub] [fpsub url="#" img="images/stories/thumbnails/861.gif" label="Full Story" vlabel="Video" vurl="#" title="Bass & Galgiani Herald $4.5 Billion Federal Stimulus Application for High-Speed Rail Funding"] “California is the only state in the nation to have passed a high-speed rail bond measure, which demonstrates the public’s commitment to funding the nation’s first high-speed, 220 mile-per-hour train system,” Speaker Bass said.[/fpsub] [fpsub url="#" img="images/stories/thumbnails/860.gif" label="Full Story" vlabel="Video" vurl="#" title="Galgiani, Coto Report Progress in Bipartisan Delegation’s Meetings in Washington DC"] Despite the recession, huge revenue shortfalls, and other issues facing our state, Californians have worked together to stem the tide of crises we faced this year. We will continue to work with our federal partners to make sure California has the resources it needs to move forward.[/fpsub] [fpsub url="#" img="images/stories/thumbnails/855.gif" label="Full Story" vlabel="Video" vurl="#" title="Speaker Karen Bass on the Legislative Session"] “In a tough year for California– a year in which the legislature had to focus on painful steps to deal with the recession, there was still some progress and success."[/fpsub] [fpsub url="#" img="images/stories/thumbnails/852.gif" label="Full Story" vlabel="Video" vurl="#" title="Speaker Bass, Joined by Mayor Villaraigosa, Announces Introduction of Monitored Mortgage Workout Program"] “Finding alternatives to foreclosure that homeowners and banks can agree to will keep our neighborhoods intact and help turn California’s economy around,” Bass said. “I’m proud to have partners like Mayor Villaraigosa, who understand that community is the heart of the economy, working on this effort to keep families in their homes.”[/fpsub] [fpsub url="#" img="images/stories/thumbnails/853.gif" label="Full Story" vlabel="Video" vurl="#" title="Bradford takes seat as 51st District Assemblymember"] “These are difficult times for our state and the legislature is confronted with several major and complex issues. In the days ahead I look forward to working with my colleagues to resolve these issues in favor of our constituents – the people of California,” Bradford said.[/fpsub]

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