2015 Legislation Signed Into Law

Bills lowering traffic fines, protecting water supplies, helping workers become law

October 12, 2015

Making the traffic-fine process fairer, protecting California water supplies and providing incentives for attorneys to perform legal help for working residents are among the proposals by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law.

Below are the bills signed, a summary of each and a link to more information on the bill.

SB 405 – Driving Down Debt 

Citing the loss of the ability to drive as a threat to economic security – especially among working residents – this plan will improve court access by eliminating the requirement that all fines and penalties be paid before the driver can get a court hearing.

SB 272 – Local Government Data

Local governments will now create an inventory of their key data-keeping systems, make that catalog publicly available online and list the types of data collected by those systems. Cybersecurity systems and infrastructure-control systems are exempted.

SB 664 – Earthquake Preparedness for Water Infrastructure

Regional water-management officials will now assess the vulnerability of their water systems to an earthquake and publicly report that assessment as well as any mitigation plans.

SB 621 – Mental Health and Public Safety 

This measure clarifies that counties can apply for Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant funds to pay for diversion programs that reduce recidivism of non-violent mentally ill offenders.

SB 540 – Taxpayer Advocate  

Makes permanent a soon-to-expire taxpayer-advocate program to help ensure taxpayers who are overcharged by the state Franchise Tax Board can receive assistance and refunds.

SB 239 – Contracts for Fire Protection

This proposal will ensure residents and public officials have an opportunity to examine plans, costs and other financial estimates before local governments provide new or extended fire-protection services. 

SB 134 – Public Interest Attorney Loan Forgiveness

In an effort to help ensure low-income Californians have greater access to equal justice, this bill allows the use of certain unclaimed funds to help pay off loans for attorneys practicing public-interest law.

SB 697 – Accountability Act

This good-government bill will increase accountability and transparency in the Public Utilities Commission. 

 

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