CHINESE TODAY: Gov. Brown signs all of Sen. Hertzberg’s bills

Bills lowering traffic fines, protecting water supplies and helping workers signed into law

October 13, 2015

SACRAMENTO – 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 that were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Gov. Brown has a been a terrific partner and I am thrilled to see my bills to improve life for Californians become law,” said Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys.

Hertzberg, who last November became the first former Assembly Speaker in 86 years to be elected to the California State Senate, saw each of the eight bills he sent to the governor signed into law.  Those laws are summarized in the below list, which includes links to additional background such as fact sheets, bill language and effective dates:

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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

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