Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 7:16 pm | Fair 52º

 
 
 
 

Eight Bills Authored by Sen. Jackson to Become Law on Jan. 1

Among the numerous bills state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, authored this year, the following are taking effect Thursday, Jan. 1:

» Senate Bill 505: Introduced in the wake of the Isla Vista rampage this past May, Senate Bill 505 requires that local law enforcement agencies develop policies encouraging officers to conduct a search of the Department of Justice’s Automated Firearms System, California’s database of gun purchases, prior to conducting a “welfare check” on a person who is potentially a danger to themselves or others.

On April 30, roughly three weeks prior to a rampage that took the lives of six innocent people, law enforcement visited Elliott Rodger to check on his well-being. Although law enforcement may not have had the legal authority to seize Rodger’s three guns, had they known about them a gun database search could have provided additional information that might have helped them better assess the danger that Rodger posed to himself and others. Law enforcement could potentially have asked Rodger what he intended to do with the guns, asked to see the guns, or asked him to voluntarily surrender the guns.

“We will never know for sure if the outcome in Isla Vista might have been different with a gun database search,” Jackson said. “But the next time California experiences a similar tragedy, we shouldn’t be left wondering. Searches of the gun database can be done in as little as 90 seconds, and those 90 seconds can help save lives.”

» Senate Bill 949 helps prevent childhood obesity by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity in after school programs. It directs the California Department of Education to establish a voluntary California Distinguished After School Health (DASH) recognition program. It proposes standards for physical activity, “screen time,” and the serving of fruits and vegetables for after school programs. After-school programs that choose to meet these proposed requirements will be awarded a special “DASH” certification. Once established, parents will be able to access a list of “DASH”-certified programs on the State Department of Education’s website, and after school programs will be able to display their certification on-site.

» Senate Bill 967: Known nationally as the yes-means-yes bill, Senate Bill 967, jointly authored with Sen. Kevin de León, makes California the first state in the nation to define affirmative consent and requires institutes of higher education to educate students about consent and sexual assault. To ensure a fairer campus adjudication process, the bill requires increased training for the faculty reviewing complaints so that survivors of assault aren’t re-victimized by inappropriate questions when they seek justice. The bill also requires access to counseling and health service resources when assaults occur.

» Senate Bill 988: In the midst of California’s record-breaking drought, SB 988 gives the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency in Ventura County the authority to inspect any groundwater extraction facility within its boundaries to gather information on the status of the well and how much water has been withdrawn. If the owner does not consent, Fox Canyon can seek a warrant to inspect the facility. Currently, the agency relies on self-reporting, which can include omissions and errors.

» Senate Bill 1023: Designed to clarify a tax dispute involving a handful of Ventura County affordable housing projects, SB 1023 prohibits non-profit affordable housing projects from being charged certain fees or back taxes. Recognizing the need and public good behind affordable housing, California law exempts non-profit affordable housing developments from property taxes. But some local governments have required some affordable housing developments to agree to annual PILOT payments (payments in lieu of taxes), often equal to the amounts that would be required if they had been paying property taxes. Others have threatened to charge back taxes, often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, risking the loss of existing affordable housing. SB 1203 prohibits PILOT agreements in the future, while leaving existing PILOT agreements in place. SB 1203 makes it illegal to seek back taxes from affordable housing developments with existing PILOT agreements, and also refunds any taxes developments previously made.

» Senate Bill 1028: SB 1028 will help the long-term unemployed get job training and get back to work. Every year 7,750 Cal Grant C awards are set aside for vocational and job training. Senate Bill 1028 would require that special consideration in the awarding of those grants be given to those who have been unemployed for six months or longer. Priority would be given to those seeking job training in growing industries with a high demand for workers and higher wages.

» Senate Bill 1110: SB 1110 will help steer eligible Californians to Veterans Treatment Courts by ensuring that current and former members of the military in the criminal justice system know they may be eligible for treatment programs rather than jail time. It would require that courts inform defendants at arraignment, the first stage in the court process, that if they have served or are serving in the military, and if they have not committed serious crimes, they may be eligible for rigorous treatment programs to address substance abuse issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma and other conditions resulting from their time in combat. California currently has Veterans Treatment Courts in 20 counties, including Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

» Senate Bill 1135: SB 1135 prohibits forced or coerced sterilizations in prisons. It is a response to a media expose from the Center for Investigative Reporting last year of unlawful and coercive sterilization of female inmates at the Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison for Women that were occurring as late as 2010. SB 1135 adds a section to the penal code to prohibit sterilizations in correctional facilities for the purposes of birth control except in cases when a patient’s life is in danger or if it is needed to treat a medical condition and no other less drastic measure is feasible. In addition, a second independent physician must consult with the patient about the effects of the procedure before it is undertaken. Counseling about the permanency of the procedure must be provided as well.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

 
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