Yee, Leland

Leland Yee is a member of the California State Senate Democratic Leadership team and the Assistant President pro Tem of the Senate. Senator Yee is also a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.

Independent Probe into UC Davis Police Misconduct Needed

By State Senator Leland Yee

As our country remains mired in economic doldrums, the act of public protest has returned to the front pages of newspapers across the country.  The Occupy Wall Street movements have given voice to people who feel that the political process as it stands leaves their viewpoints marginalized and ignored.

While this movement defines itself and their agenda, as Americans we can all have our own opinions as to whether or not their concerns are valid. But there should be unanimous support of their right to stand in the public square and make their voices heard, as it is laid out in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. And this is why I am appalled at the response to student protestors at UC Davis and why I am demanding accountability from its leadership.

SB 364 Will Hold Corporations Accountable for Tax Credits

By State Senator Leland Yee

On Friday, September 2, 2011, Senate Bill 364 cleared its final legislative hurdle and was sent to Governor Brown for his consideration. The bill holds corporations accountable for job creation promises in exchange for tax breaks, and requires all future tax breaks related to job creation to have clear goals and performance measures. Should a corporation fail to meet those promises, the state could recoup the tax credit.

If you are a working mother on CalWORKS or disabled senior receiving in-home supportive services, you have to jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops to receive minimal life-sustaining benefits. Yet, if you are a big corporation looking for scarce tax credits, no one asks any questions. I believe California taxpayers deserve better, and that this legislation will create and maintain California jobs. It is also a revenue solution that could potentially save billions of dollars for critical social services and education.

New Governor Should Sign Life-Saving HIV Prevention Law

By State Senator Leland Yee

Today as we recognize World AIDS Day, I am hopeful that Governor-elect Jerry Brown will heed the advice of doctors, pharmacists, and AIDS prevention advocates, by signing legislation to allow pharmacies to sell sterile syringes to an adult without a prescription.  

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently vetoed my Senate Bill 1029, which would have brought California in line with every other state in the nation (accept two) to no longer prohibit pharmacists from selling a syringe without a prescription. I am committed to reintroducing this bill during the upcoming legislative session that begins next week.

Ensuring Transparency at Our Public Institutions

By State Senator Leland Yee

There is an unfortunate growing trend among our public higher education institutions of doing public business behind closed doors without any accountability to the taxpayer. Over the past several years, I have authored new laws to bring greater transparency to executive compensation decisions and provide protections to students and workers who report waste, fraud, and abuse.  

However, another such abuse has remained unresolved for nearly ten years despite court challenges and two legislative attempts at a fix: public university auxiliary organizations. Although statutorily defined as non-profits, campus auxiliary organizations are often governed by university officials such as campus presidents and have assumed many essential functions within universities such as operating book stores and parking facilities. According to the California State University, campus auxiliaries now account for 20 percent of the entire CSU budget.  

Bill Would Provide Disclosure on Sample Drugs

By State Senator Leland Yee

With the rising cost of prescription drugs and the ongoing health care coverage crisis, the prevalent use of free sample prescription drugs has drawn increased scrutiny. 

The oversight of sample prescription drugs is often incomplete or non-existent, which has resulted in patients receiving drugs with inadequate information regarding dosing schedule, side effects, and potential drug interactions.

Today, I introduced legislation that would require sample prescription drugs received at a doctor’s offices or medical clinic to be accompanied with the same written information regarding the drugs that would normally be received from a pharmacist.

It is vital that consumers receive written information regarding dosage and potential side effects on sample drugs. This bill will reduce lawsuits, illnesses, and deaths.

Students Win Settlement in California Free Speech Case

By State Senator Leland Yee

As a result of a legal settlement at a California high school, school administrators are on notice to stop censoring student speech. 

After settling an 18-month legal battle, Fallbrook Union High School District must pay nearly $28,000 as a result of a principal violating the speech rights of student journalists and unfairly retaliating against the high school’s newspaper advisor.  In addition, the Fallbrook administration is obligated to issue letters praising the student journalists as part of the lawsuit settlement.

Report Shows 70% of California Public Universities Violate Speech Laws

By State Senator Leland Yee

While serving in the Assembly and the Senate, I have proudly authored a number of laws to protect student speech rights and provide greater transparency at California school campuses. 

AB 2581 (2006) made California the first state in the nation to specifically prohibit censorship of college student press and explicitly granted free speech rights to students.  SB 1370 (2008) further protects school employees from retaliation for assisting students in exercising such speech rights. 

Although California may lead the nation in providing legal protections for student speech rights, a report released this week showed nearly 70 percent of our public universities are violating state law or the US Constitution through policies restricting free expression. 

UC Whistle Blower Protection Act Passes Senate

Leland-Yee-Senator.jpgOn a 22-14 vote, the California State Senate today approved legislation to provide University of California employees who report waste, fraud and abuse with the same legal protections as other state employees. Despite overwhelming support from open government advocates and UC students, faculty, and workers, the University administration continues to oppose the measure authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo).

"This is the classic case of the fox guarding the hen house, and yet another example of UC administrators opposing a commonsense reform," said Yee. "UC executives should not be judge and jury on whether or not they are liable for monetary claims. This was not the intent of California´s whistleblower law."

Yet Another UC Compensation Scandal Renews Calls for Legislation

Leland-Yee-Senator.jpgBy Leland Yee, Ph.D.
Assistant President pro Tem
California State Senate

Legislation Ensuring Open Access to Government Signed in Law


A law that would prohibit public entities from recovering attorney’s fees from individuals who sue to enforce the State’s open government laws, specifically the California Public Records Act (CPRA), Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act, and the Ralph M. Brown Act was signed into law by the Governor yesterday.

The law allows public agencies to recover costs if the court finds the suit frivolous.