‘Decriminalizing’ the poor, improving voter turnout dominate Sen. Bob Hertzberg’s agenda

Measures are priorities for end of session

June 4, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Cutting traffic fines, helping the poor and turning around abysmal voter turnout will be among the key proposed laws Sen. Bob Hertzberg will be pushing after their passage this week by the state Senate.

 “Returning sanity to traffic fines and making it easier for people to participate in our election process would affect working Californians statewide,” Hertzberg said after the deadline for Senators to get their bills to the Assembly. “My bills address making it easier for lawyers to help the poor, improve public safety, allow more voters to be heard, lower power rates and cut unreasonable traffic fines.”

Here, in bill-number order, are some of the top bills the Van Nuys Democrat hopes receive final passage prior to the Legislature’s scheduled Sept. 11 adjournment:


SB 134 – Public Interest Attorney Loan Assistance 

Uses private contributions to help new attorneys repay loans if they commit to working with low-income clients, child support services or other areas of practice that benefit the public.

SB 163 – Making Voting Easy 

Directs Los Angeles County to ensure all registered voters receive a vote-by-mail ballot in advance of a statewide election while allowing voters to still choose to vote in person if they prefer.

SB 233 – Rigs to Reefs

This environmental-protection measure seeks to improve the permitting process to convert an oil rig into an artificial reef and end off-shore oil production.

SB 239 – Contracts for Fire Protection

Ensure residents and public officials have an opportunity to examine plans, costs and other financial estimates, prior to a decision, made by a local government, to provide new or extended fire protection services.

SB 286 – Electricity Choice 

Gives schools, hospitals, commercial and industrial customers options to buy 100 percent renewable energy separate from local utility companies to help the state meet goals for renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions. 

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 would reduce the number of motorists who have their driver’s licenses suspended for violations that don’t affect public safety.

SB 500 – Mobile Workforce 

This business-friendly bill would allow out-of-state employers to send their workers to California for conferences and other short-term work – less than 20 days – without triggering income-tax reviews and other red tape.   

SB 540 – Taxpayer Advocate  

Reestablishes a taxpayer advocate program at the state Franchise Tax Board to help ensure taxpayers who are overcharged or penalized for administrative mistakes by the FTB can receive assistance and refunds.

SB 621 – Mental Health and Public Safety 

Clarifies that counties can apply for funds from the Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant program for diversion programs that provide a cost-effective strategy to reduce the rate of recidivism and re-incarceration of certain mentally ill offenders.

SB 664 – Earthquake Prepardeness for Water Infrastructure

To help better prepare for risks to water sources during earthquakes, this bill would require regional water-management officials to assess the vulnerability of their water systems to an earthquake and to report that assessment as well as their mitigation plans.


For more, 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 http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district.  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 www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg


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


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