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

Gov. Brown signs all of Sen. Hertzberg’s bills

October 12, 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 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:

·        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.

For more, including Fact Sheets on the above bills, visit Hertzberg’s Web site at the address below.

Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map HERE or at  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. More HERE or at


Communications Director
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Senate District 18
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4018 office; 916 834-1128 cell; or