- Created on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 15:17
- Written by IVN
Sacramento, California - State Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez reports that six of his bills were approved by policy committees this week:
AB 1896 Groundwater Protection: Sponsored by the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), AB 1896 was heard in the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety & Toxics and passed on a vote of 6-0. The bill helps protect local drinking water resources by expanding the use of non-potable water to irrigate landscaping in the Valley’s residential developments within the CVWD service area. AB 1896 is written to ensure that it does not increase water charges for the associations or the homeowners. Currently CVWD is building a piping system for non-potable water to increase access to this water source in the district’s service area.
“With our state facing a historic drought, we can all play a role in protecting local water supplies,” said Pérez. “Using non-drinkable water for landscape irrigation is one common sense action. AB 1896 simply says that if homeowners associations have access to non-potable water for irrigation of their common areas without raising rates, then it should be used.”
AB 1771 Doctor-Patient Electronic Communications: AB 1771 ensures that non-urgent, doctor-patient telephone and electronic consultations are covered by health insurance. Sponsored by the California Medical Association, the bill would require health plans and health insurers licensed in California to reimburse contracted physicians for telephone or other electronic patient management services. These services can include answering quick questions by phone or email, monitoring patients with chronic conditions, transmitting prescriptions, and calling a patient back to adjust treatment plans. Currently, most health plans and health insurers do not cover electronic patient management services. AB 1771 was heard in Assembly Health Committee and passed on a vote of 18-0.
“When doctors are able to take the time for phone calls and emails from patients to answer their questions, it not only improves the patient experience, but it also reduces unneeded office visits,” explained Pérez. “In medically underserved areas like the Coachella and Imperial Valleys, AB 1771 will help increase access by improving the capacity of physicians to meet the demand for medical care.”
AB 1565 Veterans Transportation Access: AB 1565, which passed Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee on a vote of 7-1, is a measure aimed at facilitating access to information about transportation service providers for veterans. The bill would direct the California Department of Veterans Affairs to add this information to its website and make it accessible through its mobile phone application. Having direct access to veteran transportation service providers in the state will help veterans more easily coordinate their health-related trips.
“A common assumption is that veterans’ transportation services are met through a network of federal and state programs,” said Pérez. “Yet, the fact is that veterans’ transportation needs are largely delivered through locally-organized volunteer programs. The decentralized nature of these programs means that there is no consistent delivery system or information access point for veterans to find out about them. AB 1565 proposes a simple solution to increase access to this information."
AB 1564 Research & Development Tax Credit: Sponsored by the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, AB 1564 passed on a vote of 8-0 in the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy. This bill would double the state’s current research and development tax credit from 15% to 30%.
“California has traditionally been a leader in research and development,” explained Pérez. “An enhanced R&D tax credit is an affirmative strategy that signals to the private sector that California is willing to invest in its economic future. This credit will unlock billions of dollars sitting in cash reserves to help spur new products to the market, which in turn will help to create jobs.”
AB 2060 Recidivism Reduction through Workforce Training: Also heard in the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy was AB 2060, which passed on a vote of 7-0. To help promote the public safety realignment goal of reducing recidivism, the bill promotes workforce training and development for former offenders who are in community supervision. The bill would use existing dollars in the state’s Recidivism Reduction Fund to create a competitive grant program administered by the California Workforce Investment Board to conduct workforce training program for the re-entry population. AB 2060 is sponsored by Policy Link, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, and the California Workforce Association.
“One of the most effective strategies to reduce recidivism is job training,” explained Pérez. “Studies show that it improves the transition from prison to the community, keeps people from re-offending, and increases public safety and stability.”
AB 1447 Traffic Signal Synchronization: Also this week, a jointly authored bill by Assemblymembers Marie Waldron and Pérez passed the Assembly Transportation Committee on a vote of 16-0. AB 1447 adds traffic signal synchronization to the list of infrastructure projects eligible to receive money from cap-and-trade auction proceeds if the project is designed and implemented to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions and includes specific reduction targets and metrics to evaluate its effect.
AB 1449 Public Safety Realignment: Held in Assembly Public Safety Committee was AB 1449, a bill that sought to address public safety concerns raised by state and local law enforcement related to the implementation of the AB 109 realignment law. The bill would have clarified the rules determining whether, upon release, an offender would be placed on state parole or county probation, requiring that more serious criminals with histories of violent or sexual crimes would be supervised by the state. It is sponsored by the California Police Chiefs Association and the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.
“This is a conversation that must be had,” said Pérez. “It’s about public safety, the responsible use of local resources, and helping realignment to succeed. Placing offenders in the appropriate level of supervision helps lower recidivism rates and helps promote rehabilitation. I am committed to continuing to advance this idea and in the coming days plan to amend this bill language into another measure pending in the Senate.”