News

June 12, 2017

By Paul Payne

It all started with a drunken-driving arrest. Then there was the ticket for getting behind the wheel with a suspended license.

Soon, Tyler Watson of Sebastopol had unpaid fines totaling thousands of dollars — and no hope of ever getting his license back.

So this week, Watson, 38, walked into Sonoma County traffic court asking for help. The judge offered him a payment plan but warned he must stay off the road until his debt is settled.

Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Bedard takes over effective immediately

June 1, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Diane Griffiths, who has served as chief of staff for Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, since he was elected to the Senate in 2014 and previously when he was Assembly Speaker, is retiring today, ending a public service career that has spanned four decades. 

The bill follows on Hertzberg’s work to restore fairness to California’s criminal justice system and roll back overly harsh penalties

May 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, to prevent the automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for people who are unable to pay fines or fees for minor traffic tickets and require courts to determine violators’ ability to pay before setting fine amounts.

The Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act establishes a process to tackle school lunch debts without publicly embarrassing kids

May 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, to stop schools from publicly shaming or embarrassing students by either denying them lunch or providing a snack instead because their parents haven’t paid lunch fees.

The California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017 aims to eliminate the economic disparity and injustice in the pretrial process

May 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, to reform California’s cash bail system and replace a pretrial process that often forces people of modest means to remain in jail until a court can determine their innocence or guilt but allows the wealthy to go free.

Bill establishes a process for oil companies to fund the program and for regulators to review plans, ensure positive environmental benefits result

May 30, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, that jump starts California’s six-year-old, rigs-to-reefs program.

SB 588 establishes a clear process for how the program will be funded by oil companies and how the state will decide if a decommissioned oil rig can be converted into an artificial reef instead of fully removing it from the ocean.

SB 306 allows state Labor Commissioner to seek immediate injunction when workers face retaliation for reporting violations of law

May 30, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, to improve protections for whistleblowers so they can keep their jobs while retaliation complaints against their employers are being investigated.

SB 10 and SB 185 will be eligible for Senate floor votes next week

May 25, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, that would reform California’s cash bail system, reduce traffic ticket fines for people who can’t afford them and prevent school lunch shaming passed the Senate Appropriations Committee today.

May 23, 2017

By Marisa Lagos and Sukey Lewis

Every year in California, nearly 1 million people are arrested and booked into jail.

Their freedom before they go to trial often hinges on a century-old money bail system that critics say favors the rich: If you can pay, you’re free — and if you can’t, you’re stuck behind bars.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says jails have become a dumping ground for the poor

May 22, 2017

There's a pizzeria in Chicago that prides itself on authentic ingredients. The flour for the dough comes from Italy. The pomodoro and fresh mozzarella? Also from Italy. The olive oil drizzled on top? Straight from Tuscany. Then the pies get cooked in a brick oven that's white with green mosaic tiles, which spell out "recipe for a change."

After all, that's exactly what the cooking program at Cook County Jail aspires to be.

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