2015 Legislative Summary

Advancing Education

AB 625 - Protecting Our Schools During the State Takeover Process
AB 625 protects our schools and students from harm during and after the state takeover process by clearly outlining the roles, expectations, and ground rules of state audits. Building off the experience of Oakland Unified School District, which is among the nine districts that have been issued emergency loans, the increased communication and coordination provided by the new law will improve the timeliness of the audit process and reduce the burden on the audited school district.

AB 833 - Increasing Access to Early Childhood Programs in Alameda County
AB 833 allows Alameda County to address the local need for quality child care services by authorized the county to develop and implement a pilot program to increase quality early care and education locally through stable, comprehensive, and adequately funded high-quality early learning and educational support systems. 

Increasing Access, Affordability of High-Quality Health Care

SB 4 - Expanding Access to Health Care for All Californians
Principal Coauthor with Senator Ricardo Lara
While California has made incredible progress through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to expand health care coverage to millions of California’s uninsured, millions of Californians remain uninsured due to their immigration status. SB 4 ensures that undocumented youth have health coverage, saving the state millions in emergency health care costs and investing in smart preventive health measures.

AB 187 - Improving Health Care for Children and Youth with Special Needs
AB 187 continues the current administration of the California Children’s Services, a vital program providing timely access to specialty health care services for our most medically vulnerable children. The new law ensures that future administration of the program maintains high standards of care, continues to allow providers to make the best decisions for their patients, and strengthens care coordination for families.

AB X2-15- Improving Access to Health Care by Addressing Reimbursement Rates
Principal Coauthor with Assemblymember Susan Talamantes-Eggman

For Californians facing the prospect of a painful or agonizing death, the Compassionate Care and End of Life Options Act will give them the choice and the ability to affect the circumstances around their death. By allowing terminally-ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for aid-in-dying drugs, the new law gives Californians the ability to choose a painless, dignified, and peaceful death.

AB 1305 - Requiring Fair Health Deductibles for Families
AB 1305 prohibits health plans and insurers from requiring a person to pay a higher deductible or out-of-pocket cost sharing limit simply because the person is a member of a family. This will save some families thousands of dollars in extra out-of-pocket expenses, and will protect consumers from having to pay more toward their care because they are in a family plan.

Racial Justice, Victims’ Rights, and Public Safety

AB 953 - Eliminating Racial Profiling
Coauthor with Assemblymember Weber
AB 953 addresses racial profiling by law enforcement by modernizing current law to more accurately address the ways in which profiling occurs, establishing a uniform system for collecting and analyzing data on law enforcement-community interactions, and establishing an advisory board to investigate profiling patterns and practices and provide recommendations on how to curb its harmful impact.

AB 1140 - Modernizing the State Victim Compensation Fund
The California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board administers the California Victim Compensation Program and compensates victims of specific types of crimes through a Restitution Fund. AB 1140 modernizes the program to better serve victims by addressing outdated restrictions and reflecting changing technologies and crimes to more fairly care for victimized children and adults in California.

SB 635 - Compensating Victims of Wrongful Incarceration
Principal Coauthor with Senator Nielsen

SB 635 addresses one of the worst nightmares that can occur in the American justice system: the wrongful conviction and incarceration of an innocent person. The bill raises compensation for wrongful incarceration after a person is found factually innocent to from $100 to $140 per day of incarceration.

Environmental Conservation and Animal Protections

AB 96 - Protecting Wildlife by Banning the Sale of Ivory in California
Coauthor with Speaker Toni AtkinsAB 96 prohibits the sale of elephant ivory or rhino horn in California, finally closing a legal loophole in the state which prevented effective enforcement of current prohibitions. Scientists estimate that poachers kill 96 elephants each month for their tusks, causing their population of 500,000 to shrink considerably. The new state law will make it more difficult for illegal sellers to hide from the law, thereby protecting elephants from senseless slaughter and extinction.

SB 185 – State Divestiture in Dirty Energy
Authored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, Presented to the Assembly by Bonta
SB 185 requires California’s public pension funds---the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)---to divest from holdings in thermal coal. CalPERS and CalSTRS are the largest public pension funds in the nation, with $292 billion and $191 billion in assets, respectively. SB 185 aligns the state’s investments with its priority of leading the nations fight against climate change.

Economic Opportunities, Business Frameworks, and Worker Protections

AB 43 - Fighting Poverty and Income Inequality
Principal Coauthor with Assemblymember Stone
No one who works a full-time job in California should live in poverty. AB 43 embodied this priority by establishing the first Earned Income Tax Credit in the history of California---a refundable tax credit for low-income workers. The proposal was incorporated into the State Budget and will benefit over two million working Californians and lift approximately 50,000 people out of poverty and another 50,000 out of deep poverty.

AB 266 - Establishing a Comprehensive Regulatory Framework for Medical Marijuana
Joint Author with Assemblymembers Ken Cooley, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr., and Tom Lackey, and Jim Wood
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act will once and for all establish comprehensive, statewide licensure and regulations for the medical marijuana industry to ensure patient access, as well as to protect the environment, public safety, and public health. The new framework will provide patients with assurances that their medicine is safe. Law enforcement will have a foundation for identifying drugged drivers and increased funding to protect the public. The environment will be protected from neglect, destruction, and water diversion. And the medical marijuana industry itself will be able to come out of the shadows and receive the same protections under the law as other state-licensed businesses, creating jobs and contributing to the economy.

AB 816 - Creating Pathways for Workers to Own their Own Businesses
AB 816 creates new opportunities for millions of Californians to own and manage their own democratically owned and managed small businesses as worker cooperatives. Worker-owned small businesses are an effective way to rebuild the local economy and address economic inequality.

AB 1028 - Protecting the Rights of Disabled Judicial Officers
AB 1028 puts equal rights first by allowing former judges or justices retired by the Supreme Court for disability to continue to serve the community by administering oaths and affirmations.

Celebrating Cultural Diversity and Addressing Ethnic Disparities

AB 7 - Honoring California Hero and Filipino Labor Leader Larry Itliong
AB 7 established Larry Itliong Day in California, a special day of recognition to honor the life and legacy of one of America’s, California’s, and the Filipino American community’s greatest labor heroes, to be celebrated on his October 25th birth date.

ACR 66 - Celebrating Filipino American Heritage Month
ACR 66 uplifts Filipino American culture, history, tradition, and heritage in California by recognizing October 2015 as Filipino American History Month.