2012 California Legislation

Retirement: Where Corporate Executives Make the Real Big Bucks

By Senator Mark Leno

With most of the attention focused on the rising level of CEO pay while executives are actively working, an even more important aspect of executive compensation has been overlooked. What a top corporate executive makes when he or she retires from a publicly traded corporation is an ongoing expense to the company every year for the rest of their lives, as opposed to their yearly pay, which is a one-time payment.

Advocacy Day Draws Trans Folks, Allies to Capitol

By Dan Aiello

More than 50 transgender Californians and non-U.S. residents gathered at the West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento Monday, May 21 as they prepared to lobby legislators on behalf of two bills aimed at addressing discrimination against transgender youth in California's foster care system and non-US residents victims of crime who risk deportation under federal law.

Both Assembly bills are authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

Opposition Growing to SB 1161 - The Worst Telecom Bill Ever in California

By Mark Toney

Why has a seemingly innocuous bill, SB 1161(Padilla) attracted the support of some of the biggest corporations on the planet, as well as vociferous opposition from consumer, labor and economic justice organizations?  According to supporters, SB 1161 doesn’t really do anything new; it just “affirms” existing laws.

Fortunately, that’s the kind of deception that withers in the light of day.

SB 1161 is actually the most anti-consumer bill ever introduced in California because it permits the telecom industry to dictate the terms of its own regulation, or as the case would have it, deregulation.

SB 1186 Impacting Public Accomodations Access for People With Disabilities Amended Significantly

By Marty Omoto
Community Disability Community Action Network

New amendments approved on April 30th on the State Senate floor gutted a controversial bill, SB 1186, introduced by former Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton (Republican – Rancho Cucamonga, 31st State Senate District), that originally proposed new restrictions on people with disabilities right to sue for violations of access to public accommodations under the State’s landmark Unruh Civil Rights Act that would have implemented what is referred to as “right to cure” provisions that gives a specified time period for the business or property owner to respond to the allegations and fix the violations.  

Thou Shalt Not Frack Thy Neighbor’s Land

By Beth Gunston
California League of Conservation Voters

It’s only been in the last couple of years that Californians began hearing about fracking, and few of us thought that it was even happening in our state. Fracking – shorthand for hydraulic fracturing – is a method that is used to extract natural gas and oil deeply trapped below shale deposits. A process that has been in use for decades, fracking requires vast amounts of water laden with a concoction of chemicals to be pumped under high pressure to blast through shale and push up trapped gas. Well, it turns out that California has been getting fracked for years in areas including Los Angeles, Ventura, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Kern Counties.

Pot Regulation Bill Clears Assembly Panel

By Dan Aiello

After postponing a hearing for a week to ensure he had the votes needed, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano appeared before his own Assembly Committee on Public Safety to successfully shepherd AB 2312, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Control Act, through the panel.

The legislation, which would create the first statewide regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry in California, passed with a simple majority, 4-2. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Ammiano introduced AB 2312 in response to a months-long federal crackdown on California medical marijuana dispensaries and some growers that began last fall. The bill's language addresses the concerns of the feds as expressed by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag, in a meeting she had with Ammiano earlier this year, as well as the recommendations of state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Senator Tony Strickland's Attack on Reusable Bags

By Jenesse Miller
California League of Conservation Voters

At first, I thought it was a bad April Fool's joke: A bill requiring warnings on all reusable bags?

Unfortunately, it's not a bad joke, but a very bad policy proposal. State Senator Tony Strickland has introduced a bill, SB 1106, that would require the following warning label on all reusable bags:

“WARNING: Reusable bags must be cleaned and disinfected between uses to prevent food cross contamination. Failure to do so can cause serious illness, cancer, or birth defects resulting from food-borne pathogens. Once used for other purposes, reusable bags should not be used for carrying groceries.”

Holy hyperbole! If I don't disinfect my reusable bag, I'll get cancer?!

Fracking Impact On Water Worries Californians

By Ngoc Nguyen
New America Media

Earlier this year, the oil company Plains Exploration and Production (PXP) blasted water and chemicals more than one and half miles into the earth to force oil embedded in a sandstone formation to gush to the surface.

The process – known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” – has been debated in many U.S. communities where oil and gas deposits have been identified in recent years. But PXP wasn’t fracking in the much-touted Marcellus Shale on the East Coast, where much of the controversy over fracking has centered. It was fracking two test wells in urban Los Angeles, where 300,000 people live within a three-mile radius.

The drilling was done less than a year after community and environmental groups reached a settlement with PXP, after complaining for years about pollution from the site.

'Regulatory Streamlining' Bill (SB 455) Would Lead to More Clearcutting of California Forests

By Paul Hughes
Forests Forever

“Tries to do too much!”

Anyone who voted in California in 1990 might remember that cynical tag line, which its industry opponents hung on Prop. 128. The ballot measure, a.k.a. Big Green, a.k.a. The Environmental Super-initiative would have restricted harmful pesticides in food, curbed air pollution emissions, safeguarded coastal and marine resources, saved ancient redwoods, and more.

Sadly, the slogan worked well enough to help bring down a well-drafted and initially popular initiative by confusing voters into thinking that cleaning up an array of urgent environmental problems in one stroke was somehow a bad thing.

Fast forward 22 years and we find a current-day measure that truly fits the “Tries to do too much!” tag line. But unlike Big Green, Senate Bill (SB) 455 purports to take us in an assortment of environmentally worthy directions at once with regard to forest policy, while providing little to no real clarity, guidance or funding to get us there.

Have Toxic Couches Finally Met Their Match?

By Valerie Pacino

Eureka! The California legislature will this spring consider a bill to modernize the 12-second rule, the state’s obscure furniture flammability standard that fails to protect us from fires even while it poisons homes across North America. Over the past seven months, we’ve described this scientifically discredited standard; provided nine (adorable) reasons to modernize the standard; refuted Big Chem’s star witness; and uncovered the engine of toxic political influence that shuns fire safety in favor of profits.

This time, we bring hopeful tidings.