Key Bills for 2017
Continuing to fight for District 13
This year I worked on a number of issues directly affecting the people of Assembly District 13. Every day tens of thousands of our neighbors make the trip over the Altamont to work in the Bay Area, and I collaborated with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass Assembly Bill 758 to ease the commute. It establishes the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority to plan, develop, and deliver cost-effective and responsive transit connectivity between BART and ACE.
In early October, the California State Auditor released its report on the audit I requested of the Twin Tunnels project. The Auditor brought to light that the state has no economic or financial analysis for the project, and that the Department of Water Resources was not following state law in awarding contracts. After 11 years of planning there is still no viable plan and I will continue to fight this destructive boondoggle.
After many tragic deaths at a local parachute center, I also worked on a bill to strengthen the ability of families and communities to hold negligent and unsafe parachute centers to account, where the Federal Aviation Administration has failed time and time again.
Safer, cleaner communities
In addition to reducing the stress on commuters, AB 758 will result in thousands of fewer cars on our roadways, significantly cleaning up the air. I also worked on bills this year to simplify the process for installing rooftop solar within Homeowner Associations and reduce food waste by establishing the California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. More safe, healthy food will now get to people in need, rather than in the trash can because of this Act.
This year I led on several public safety improvements. I passed a bill to help those dealing with severe mental illness in jail get the care they need from psychiatrists in a more timely fashion and require jails to seek appropriate mental health referrals in the community. We also passed bills establishing a pretrial diversion program to help misdemeanor drug offenders get access to treatment, and to better protect victims of domestic violence and increase their ability to obtain restraining orders against their abusers.
Education and Pay Equity
While many communities in California benefit from our robust public higher education system, ours has long been left out. Since the January release of the report I requested from the Legislative Analyst’s Office on the capacity of our system, I have continued the fight to bring a state university to Stockton. I also drafted a tuition-free proposal to put before the voters funded by a one-percent surtax on incomes over $1 million. Although this proposal did not move forward this year, I will continue to work to make college more accessible and affordable for all Californians.
The California Legislative Women’s Caucus pushed a number of policies to improve the lives of women and children throughout the state, and I am proud that gender pay equity was one of those priorities. Assembly Bill 168 bans potential employers from asking about an applicant’s previous salary history, which perpetuates years of lower salaries. This change empowers women to overcome this historic inequality and will help ensure that workers are compensated based on their abilities and not their gender.
This has been another successful year fighting for you, the constituents of AD 13, and I welcome your suggestions and feedback as I prepare a platform representing Stockton, Tracy, Mountain House, Thornton and western San Joaquin County in the state Assembly.