SACRAMENTO – The first of January 2014 marks the implementation of eight laws authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). These laws cover issues ranging from open government to green technologies to access to our elections.
“The bills that were signed into law this year will make our government more transparent, better serve the needs of foster children, improve our environment, and increase access to the electoral process,” said Yee.
SB 44 will require all state websites to add a link to the Secretary of State’s voter registration page, allowing even more people to easily take part in the political process. In 2012, Yee’s SB 397 allowed online voter registration throughout California, and over 900,000 Californians have used it to register to vote or update their registration.
SB 286 extends the Green Sticker program an additional three years, which will allow plug-in hybrid cars to access HOV lanes until 2019. This will incentivize Californians to utilize new technologies, benefiting our economy while cleaning our air and further reducing our carbon footprint.
SB 335 will move data regarding state contracts from the State Contracting and Procurement and Registration System to FI$CAL. This will make it easier to search for and compare these contracts online.
SB 342 strengthens the standards for social workers to ensure that more visits foster youth take place in the home, so as to assure the child is living in an adequate home environment. Under this law, the majority of visits for each child must occur in the home.
SB 528 directs the Department of Social Services to collect data on parenting and pregnant youth, so we can better understand the challenges these youth face and provide services accordingly. It also authorizes social workers to provide them with age appropriate reproductive health education, and promotes the use of parenting conferences designed to teach parenting skills. These conferences are aimed to help connect foster youth with programs and services related to their parenting situation.
SB 553 requires fee elections, such as storm drain or levy assessments, to implement the same standards for oversight as other elections already have, requiring ballots are kept for public inspection to prevent against potential fraud. Prior to this law, these ballots could be destroyed, denying the public the opportunity to confirm the results of the election.
SB 751 extends the Brown Act to cover all meetings by large intergovernmental agencies This brings an end to the practice of members of these bodies, often times elected officials, voting anonymously.
Yee also passed numerous resolutions calling for Congressional action in 2013. SJR 6 urged passage of Senator Barbara Boxer’s LINE Act, which requires local governments beset by excessive lines at polling places to modernize their systems so as to increase access to our elections. SJR 13 called for the restoration of the F-3 and F-4 Visa categories in the Federal Immigration Reform Bill so as to allow families to be reunited. SJR 14 demanded the restoration of the Voting Rights Act to prevent discrimination in elections. SR 8 called upon Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
In addition, SCR 66 declared September 19 to be Online Voter Registration Day in the State of California. SCR 20 designates October 20 as Leyte Landing Commemoration Day to recognize the landing of the United States military on the Philippine island of Leyte on October 20, 1944.
Since entering the legislature in 2003, Yee has now successfully passed 181 pieces of legislation, with 133 of them chaptered into law.
(Posted by John Maybury, Pacifica Riptide, Pacifica, California)