Another Successful Legislative Year
Over the past few weeks, I've highlighted the accomplishments of this year's historic state budget that I negotiated and helped craft as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. I'm happy to report similar success on the legislative front with six bills signed into law, focusing on our health, environment and criminal justice system.
Most significant is the enactment of AB 1200 and AB 1201, which protect us from harmful substances called PFAS, commonly known as "forever chemicals." They have been linked to health problems such as cancer, thyroid issues and vaccine interference. AB 1200 bans the use of PFAS in to-go food containers. The added coating prevents grease from leaking through. Companies will now have to use safer alternatives. Additionally, California will become the first state to require cookware manufacturers to disclose what chemicals, including PFAS, were included in their products. Not only will we ingest fewer toxins under this new law, but they'll also be less prevalent in our air, water and elsewhere in the environment. AB 1201 further cracks down on PFAS by raising the standards of what can be labeled "compostable," so that chemicals don't contaminate compost that's often mixed in with agricultural soil.
Another notable achievement is AB 33, which builds on my record to fight climate change. It expands an existing state low-interest loan program so public entities, like schools and hospitals, can install clean energy storage systems and electric vehicle charging. As climate change exacerbates California's wildfire season and possible power outages, they must have the ability to operate during blackouts.
I additionally made progress toward making our criminal legal system fairer and more just. AB 1452 authorizes San Francisco County to test whether increasing the pay of low-income jurors from $15/day to $100/day would diversify juries, leading to fairer trials and verdicts. AB 1540 implements a "second look" policy, prohibiting the court from denying resentencing motions without a hearing. I tried to legalize safe street crossings and prevent unnecessary law enforcement interactions with community members that sometimes turn deadly under AB 1238/Freedom to Walk Act; unfortunately, the Governor vetoed it. I will continue to work on ways to not only address the arbitrary enforcement of our jaywalking laws, but also the costly tickets that financially burden working families - both of which disproportionately impact communities of color.
Lastly, I secured a special waiver for Seton Medical Center in Daly City, granting them up to one year to comply with seismic retrofit requirements. AB 1527, along with my previous efforts to keep this facility open during the pandemic, will allow our district's healthcare systems to meet the unprecedented challenges brought on for the pandemic.
I'm already putting together next year's agenda and will update you soon on my priorities for 2022.
P.S. My annual Bike Fair is back this Saturday, October 16, from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, at Aptos Middle School. You can click here to find more information or to RSVP.
Assemblymember, 19th District