- Created on Saturday, 01 September 2012 09:57
- Written by Imperial Valley News
Sacramento, California - Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez released the following statement reflecting on end of session outcomes:
Wrapping up the 2011-12 legislative session, I am pleased with the seven bills heading to the Governor. These measures reflect my commitment to pay close attention to local needs and opportunities, whether related to economic development, small business, community health, or rural equity. I am disappointed that the Senate did not support my legislation on Salton Sea restoration. My proposal for enhanced local involvement in the restoration achieved broad consensus among local government, tribal, environmental organizations, and the Natural Resources Agency, but ultimately the Senate felt this was not enough. The clock continues to count down on the Sea, and with so much at stake, you can be certain that I will continue to work on this issue. Another end of session missed opportunity was the unwillingness of the Legislature to take up AB 916, the California Agricultural and Service worker Act. This bill advanced a practical, bipartisan solution to stabilize California’s unauthorized agriculture and service industry workforce. I still firmly believe California has a responsibility to lead on the issue of immigration. Overall, I feel energized by what we have accomplished, and I look forward to being home in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys and to a productive fall working with constituents out of my Indio and El Centro offices.
The seven bills heading to the Governor’s desk are as follows:
AB 1255 – DRECP Renewable Energy Planning Grants: The bill facilitates access to planning grants authorized by a prior Pérez bill, ABX1-13 (Chapter 10, Statutes of 2011). AB 1255 would allow counties within the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) area to qualify for the grants by entering into a memorandum of understanding with the California Energy Commission. Current law requires these counties, which include Imperial and Riverside, to be signatories to the Plan’s associated planning agreement in order to be eligible.
AB 232 – Regulatory Streamlining of Communities Development Block Grant program: This bill adds flexibility to the Small Cities component of the federal Community Development Block Grant program by removing statutory requirements from state law that are more restrictive than those allowed under federal law.
AB 1830 – Mobilehome Park Water Rates: This bill clarifies the Public Utilities Code in instances where mobile home park water rates are found to be unjust and unreasonable, so that the term “rate relief” may also include the reimbursement of funds to residents who have been overcharged. The need for this policy remedy surfaced due to the January ruling by the Public Utilities Commission regarding the exorbitant water rates charged by Sunbird Mobilehome Park in Thermal, California.
AB 2537 – Student Discipline Policies: This bill makes a few changes to the state’s zero tolerance school discipline policies, providing limited discretion to administrators to consider alternatives to suspension and expulsion for certain student offenses. Studies have repeatedly shown that when a student is suspended or expelled from school they are far more likely to drop out or enter the juvenile justice system.
AB 2671 – Maintaining Small Business Access to Capital: This bill increases the flexibility of the state Small Business Loan Guarantee Program to provide credit enhancements to small business loans provided by the private financial institutions by extending a programmatic sunset for an additional five years.
AB 2672 – Reporting on Procurement Preferences for Businesses in Enterprise Zones: This bill requires the Department of General Services to annually report on the use of procurement preferences for businesses that produce products and hire workers within an Enterprise Zone and Local Agency Military Base Recovery Area.
AB 2205 – Lithium Extraction in Geothermal Technologies: This bill will help spur business creation in new industries tied to geothermal energy. The bill makes a regulatory clarification so that existing regulations applying to geothermal plants also apply to new clean processes that extract beneficial materials from geothermal brine in closed loop systems at these plants. These processes did not exist when the regulatory framework for geothermal energy was developed, resulting in ambiguity that has impeded the build out of this emerging industry.
In addition, Pérez is the joint author of three additional bills heading to the Governor:
AB 880 (Nestande/V.M. Pérez) – “Bump and Grind” Trail: This bill reflects a compromise with the Department of Fish and Game requiring the upper portion of the trail to remain open nine months of the year and to be closed from January through March. This three-month period is considered to be peak lambing season for the Bighorn Sheep which inhabit the area.
AB 2339 (Williams/V.M. Pérez) – Geothermal Technologies: This bill seeks to promote the broader use of geothermal technologies by requiring the California Energy Commission, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, State Air Resources Board, cities, counties, and other stakeholders, to evaluate policies to overcome barriers to the use of geothermal heat pump and ground loop technologies by July 1, 2013.
AB 889 (Ammiano/V.M. Pérez) – Domestic Worker Protections: This bill establishes basic protections related the working conditions of domestic work employees, including providing for overtime compensation, meal and rest periods, and uninterrupted sleep periods.