PAUL KREKORIAN'S LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
IN THE CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY 2006-09
Bills Signed by the Governor
AB 258 - Marine Debris Reduction Act, Chapter 735, Statutes of 2007
This bill creates a statewide program to reduce one of the most common and destructive forms of marine debris: the bb-sized preproduction plastic pellets that are used to create all kinds of plastic products. Over sixty billion pounds of these pellets, known as “nurdles,” are manufactured in the U.S. every year. Manufacturers use the pellets because they are easy to transport and store in large quantities, but the tiny size of the pellets also makes them prone to spillage. Vast amounts of the pellets eventually find their way into storm water systems and then directly into the Pacific Ocean. Once there, the pellets fundamentally alter the marine ecosystem and lead to the death of birds, fish and other forms of marine life that mistake them for food.
AB 921 - Rehearings for Public Assistance, Chapter 502, Statutes of 2007
AB 921 will ensure that the Department of Social Services (DSS) is able to perform reviews for rehearing and ensure that public benefits are appropriately awarded to those who are eligible and not to those who are ineligible. Bureaucratic decisions to deny or revoke public benefits can have devastating impacts on some of California’s most vulnerable families. This new law will help ensure that such decisions are made on the merits of the recipient’s case, and also that those decisions can be reheard in appropriate cases where justice requires.
AB 946 - Sewer Districts – Solar Energy, Chapter 112, Statutes of 2007
As a member of the Assembly’s Utilities and Commerce Committee, Assemblymember Krekorian has focused on policies that will expand the availability of sustainable energy resources. AB 946, will expand solar energy generation in California and increase California’s overall renewable energy output, while also reducing carbon emissions. This new law allows water districts to make greater use of their potential to generate solar energy and distribute it to the energy grid, thereby bringing more renewable energy into California’s energy portfolio. AB 946 also allows these public agencies to develop solar generation facilities on property under their control that may not be on-site or immediately adjacent to a water or water treatment facility.
AB 949 - Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Reform, Chapter 686, Statutes of 2007
AB 949 will implement a set of protections for senior citizens living in Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly when those facilities close down. Under this new law, RCFE’s must provide 60-day notice, create relocation plans for each resident and a facility closure plan, and decline to accept new residents during a closure. The law set ups mandatory penalties for facilities that fail to meet the requirements.
AB 1013 - Weapons/Nuisance Eviction, Chapter 456, Statutes of 2007
This bill makes neighborhoods safer by authorizing local officials to evict gang members and others who use their residences to store or sell illegal weapons and ammunition, by declaring such residences nuisances. With this new tool, law enforcement can eliminate the bases of operation for gang members and stop our neighborhoods from being infested with firearm caches.
AB 1307 - PERS Supplemental Savings, Chapter 511, Statutes of 2007
This bill will expand eligibility for participation in the CalPERS Supplemental Contributions Program (SCP) to all California public agencies, and allow for permissible in-service distributions of employee contributions in the SCP. This proposal will provide eligible public employees with a voluntary, flexible plan to better meet their changing needs for supplemental retirement income. The SCP gives employees an opportunity to save for retirement, but gives them access to their contributions if they face financial emergencies.
AB 1484 - Model State Trademark Bill, Chapter 711, Statutes of 2007
This bill replaces California’s half-century-old trademark law with a modified version of the International Trademark Association’s Model State Trademark Bill. AB 1484 will bring California trademark law in line with recent changes in federal trademark statutes as well as take into account 50 years of jurisprudence in the area of trademark litigation. It retains nearly all existing California statutory language that has stronger remedies than those in the Model Bill.
AB 1539 - Medical Release for Terminally Ill Prisoners, Chapter 740, Statutes of 2007
Amidst the difficult budget cuts and the prison crowding issue faced by the Legislature this year, Assembly Bill 1539, offers a rare opportunity to alleviate both dilemmas. AB 1539 streamlines the existing medical release process for terminally ill people in prison, relieving the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR) of high medical costs incurred in caring for this population, and extends the reach of the law to include permanently medically incapacitated people in prison. This new law implements a common sense approach toward addressing the overcrowding in our prisons, and it allows our correctional system to save a tremendous amount of money that is now wasted on overtime costs and massive medical expenses for a relatively small number of inmates.
AB 1163 – Adult Education, Chapter 655, Statutes of 2008
Current law allows adult education programs to use up to 5% of their block entitlement for approved programs. The state Superintendent must develop reporting requirements and conduct program evaluations on adult education programs. The current cap is too low to accommodate the increasing need for distance learning programs. The Board of Education has the authority to waive the 5% cap but has resisted approving a waiver higher than 7%. AB 1163 would increase to 15% the cap on adult block entitlement expenditures while maintaining accountability through reporting and program evaluation requirements. This will give the state and school districts additional flexibility while continuing to limit how much can be spent on Adult Education.
AB 1461 – UPPL Repeal, Chapter 431, Statutes of 2008
AB 1461 creates a two-county pilot project wherein individuals presenting at emergency departments would be screened for methamphetamine or other substance abuse. After brief screening, the individuals would be referred to appropriate counseling and treatment services. The Department is also required to establish protocols for statewide implementation of early screening programs. This bill also seeks to remove all the barriers to getting screened for substances, by repealing the UPPL exclusion which denies reimbursement for treatment of intoxicated patients and discourages emergency room physicians from giving patients appropriate counseling and treatment. This pilot project seeks to demonstrate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the brief screening and intervention model that has been successfully implemented in various other states with the assistance of Federal and private funding.
AB 1894 – Mandatory Coverage for HIV/AIDS Testing, Chapter 630, Statutes of 2008
AB 1894 requires every insurer that issues amends or renews an individual or group policy of health insurance that covers hospital, medical, or surgical expenses, on or after January 1, 2009, to provide coverage for patient testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibodies regardless of whether the testing is related to a primary diagnosis. This first-in-the-nation measure will ensure that all insured patients will have access to early HIV/AIDS detection that will simultaneously allow longer lives and increased quality-of-life for those whose tests are positive.
AB 2098 – Downer Animals, Chapter 194, Statutes of 2008
In response to an undercover investigation by the Humane Society that showed sick and disabled cows being grotesquely mistreated in a Southern California slaughterhouse (which led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history), Assemblymember Krekorian introduced AB 2098 to strengthen California’s ability to protect animals, people, and our food supply by specifically prohibiting slaughterhouses from processing and selling meat from non-ambulatory animals for human consumption. This bill was the first of its kind in the nation and was signed in into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in July 2008.
AB 2433 – Online Free Speech Protection, Chapter 742, Statutes of 2008
If a person exercises anonymous free-speech on a California internet forum like Google or Yahoo, their speech may attract a malicious Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or SLAPP, from an out-of-state plaintiff. In the first stage of the case, the plaintiff’s counsel will file a subpoena with the California court that has jurisdiction over the internet forum that hosted the speech, in order to prompt the court to force the internet forum to divulge the identity of the speaker. If the suit had originated in California, the speaker could simply file an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike the case, but subpoenas are not causes of action under the Anti-SLAPP statute under the existing interpretation of the law. In summary: anonymous online free expression is at risk.
Under AB 2433, the target a malicious subpoena arising from a case outside of California will be able to file a motion to quash the subpoena in the California court where it was issued, unless the plaintiff can make a prima facie case that they were the target of defamatory speech. AB 2433 will allow free speakers to protect their identities and allow for continued robust free expression on the internet. Importantly, AB 2433 will also create a disincentive for seeking such subpoenas in California in the first place by allowing those whose records or other information are being sought, and subpoenaed witnesses, including online service providers, to recover their attorney’s fees in resisting abusive subpoenas.
AB 2750 – Appropriate Compensation for Victims of Piracy, Chapter 468, Statutes of 2008
One of the most imminent threats to the continued success of California’s Entertainment Industry is the organized, systemic theft of copyrighted content, also known as Piracy. While California’s constitution requires that the victims of a crime be compensated for that crime, case law has not afforded victims of piracy appropriate compensation for the theft of their work. AB 2750 will strengthen California’s anti-piracy laws by making clear that the amount of restitution awarded to the victims of piracy of music or audiovisual works, and those who investigate the piracy of those works, must be measured based on the aggregate wholesale value of genuine articles, rather than on the value of the counterfeit goods. By establishing a statutory formula for valuation of pirated content when restitution will be awarded in music and movie piracy cases, AB 2750 will also promote judicial economy.
AB 2758 – Voting System Source Code Escrow Reform, Chapter 198, Statutes of 2008
California’s law requires voting machine vendors to place the source code for their “ballot tally software” in an escrow facility that is accessible by the Secretary of State. AB 2758 widens the scope of this law by requiring voting system vendors to deposit all voting system source code in an escrow facility, rather than “ballot tally software” only. Additionally, AB 2758 requires voting system vendors to include technical details about the source code that will allow for meaningful testing and more exhaustive analysis of the voting systems in a laboratory environment.