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.

SB 614 follows up on legislation decriminalizing fare evasion violations for minors, provides incentives for agencies to issue their own citations

May 15, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, to encourage transit agencies to set up their own administrative processes for citing and fining juveniles who ride without paying fare was passed today by the Senate.

SB 614 was approved by the Senate on a 38-0 vote and goes next to the Assembly for consideration.

Sen. Hertzberg's SB 185 would make California the first state to assess traffic fines by income level

May 15, 2017

Today’s introduction comes from Thomas Fuller, our San Francisco bureau chief.

A bill in the State Legislature would make California the first state to assess traffic fines by income level: The poorer you are, the less you would pay.

The sponsor of the bill, State Senator Robert M. Hertzberg, says California’s traffic fines are “ridiculously high” and unaffordable for low-income families. Many fines don’t get paid.

“It’s like trying to get blood out of a turnip,” Mr. Hertzberg, a Democrat, said. “It doesn’t work.”

The cash-bail industry systematically violates the constitutional rights of America’s most vulnerable citizens

May 5, 2017


Maranda Lynn ODonnell, a 22-year-old single mother in Harris County, Tex., was arrested last year for driving without a valid license. The judge set her bail at $2,500. She couldn’t afford anything close to that, so she spent three days in jail — even though she posed no risk of skipping town or endangering anyone if she were released.

SB 231 makes it easier for local agencies to finance projects capturing stormwater to reuse it, instead of letting the water run off and go to waste

April 27, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, clarifying the definition of stormwater so that projects designed to capture and clean stormwater can be more easily financed and built by local agencies.

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

April 26, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee 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.

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

April 25, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Public Safety Committee 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.

April 24, 2017

By Bob Hertzberg

California is in a fix. The climate is changing, the state’s spring water supply — its snowpack — is gradually declining over time and we’ve entered a new era of endless cycles of drought.

That is the reality in April 2017, even after an especially wet winter that saw flooding and infrastructure failures around the state. California’s water supply will be strained in coming decades, and we need to take action right now to plan for that.

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