SACRAMENTO –The California State Legislature approved the following bills by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley):
AB 2189 - Driver’s Licenses for Dreamers
This legislation, co-authored by Assemblymembers Skinner and Gil Cedillo, would allow young immigrants covered by President Obama's "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" to be eligible to apply for California driver’s licenses. "Many young people have grown up in this country and played by the rules yet are denied the ability to live productive lives. AB 2189, in combination with President Obama's "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," gives these young people the keys to pursue their dreams with a driver's license."
HELPING K-12 SCHOOLS
AB 1186 – Saving Energy, Saving Our Schools
This bill establishes a dedicated school energy efficiency program for deep energy retrofits of public K-12 schools. “As schools age and become more inefficient, energy spending increases at the expense of students and teachers,” Skinner said. “This bill represents an innovative way to put money back into classrooms, restore teacher positions and meet the environmental goals California cares about.”
HELPING WOMEN AND FAMILIES
AB 2610 – The Renters' Rights Act of 2012
This bill is part of the “California Homeowner Bill of Rights” sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris and provides protections to renters living in foreclosed homes by requiring – with limited exceptions – new purchasers of foreclosed homes to honor a tenant’s lease until the end of the lease term. Where there is no lease, the tenant must be provided with at least 90-days’ notice prior to eviction (unless a longer period is required by local law). "The mortgage crisis and resulting foreclosures directly impacted more than 200,000 California renters in 2010 alone," Skinner said. "The Renters' Rights Act of 2012 protects families in rental housing by providing basic protections and legal rights in the face of unjust foreclosure-related evictions."
AB 2356 – Equal Access to Fertility Services
Single women and same-sex partners using known sperm donors do not have access to the same insemination procedures as women with a male partner when attempting to conceive. This bill would update California law to provide single women and same-sex partners with equal access to fertility services. "I'm proud to author AB 2356, legislation that removes barriers to women seeking fertility services," Skinner said. “AB 2356 will end the unequal access to fertility services that LGBT women and single women confront when trying to conceive."
AB 1359 – CalFresh Expedited Needs
This bill requires county human services agencies to evaluate all applications for CalFresh expedited services, which conforms to federal law. Households that qualify for expedited service will receive benefits by the third calendar day after filing the application. “AB 1359 gives kids and families expedited food assistance when they need it most, ensuring access to healthy and fresh foods sooner,” Skinner said.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
AB 296 – Cool Pavements
This bill creates a program for using alternatives to traditional paved surfaces in order to mitigate the urban heat island effect. The standards will complement those in the California Green Building Code. “Urban areas with conventional pavements are magnets for overheating,” Skinner said. “AB 296 creates specifications, or new tools in our toolbox, to build cool pavements, which reduce energy demands, lower greenhouse gasses and improve air quality.”
AB 1124 – Energy Efficiency for All
This bill clarifies that current law regarding a landlord’s responsibility to maintain a habitable rental unit does not prohibit a utility company from providing energy efficiency assistance to tenants or owners of rental property. “AB 1124 allows low-income families, many whom live in apartments, to access energy-efficient retrofit programs, to update antiquated heating and hot water systems that lead to skyrocketing utility bills,” Skinner said.
AB 2641 – Non-Profit Paperwork Reduction Program
This bill provides a single government website through the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development that provides all of the necessary information and forms for incorporation and renewal processes for non-profit organizations. “AB 2641 creates a single information center, simplifying the process non-profits need to stay in compliance,” Skinner said. “Non-profits often have limited resources and streamlining the process ensures more time is spent helping our communities.”
AB 318 - Income Tax Holiday & LLC Conformity
This bill will codify the Internal Revenue Service’s definition of a legal holiday; and apply the existing $2,000 penalty for failure to file a tax return to Limited Liability Corporations. “The changes in AB 318 are expected to generate $2.5 million of revenue by 2016 by applying the same penalties to businesses regardless of the way the business is set up,” Skinner said. “Using the same holiday definition also makes our federal government more efficient and fairer.”
AB 439 – Medical Records
This bill updates current law with regard to medical information in the digital age, protecting patient privacy while also recognizing that unintentional release may occur even when providers adopt strict protections. “AB 439 strikes the right balance between protecting an important consumer law and recognizing the real complexities businesses encounter under current privacy laws,” Skinner said.
THE STATE LEGISLATURE ALSO APPROVED:
AJR 40 – Federal Housing Finance Agency
This resolution urges the Federal Housing Finance Agency Director, Edward DeMarco, to immediately allow principal reductions for homeowners “underwater” on mortgages owed to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “I want the agency, and its director Edward DeMarco, to help underwater homeowners,” Skinner said. “This issue is so important to California’s economic recovery and to the recovery of the cities and counties we represent, that I wanted the principal reduction message to be affirmed as the official position of the California Legislature.”