Inaugural District Report
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!
On December 1st I was sworn in to represent California's 56th Assembly District in the State Legislature. Serving as your Assemblymember is truly an honor. As part of my efforts to inform my constituents on important issues, I will be issuing a District Report.
Assemblymember, 56th District
In my inaugural report you will find:
- New Laws You Should Know About
- Get Covered Today --CoveredCA.com
- The State May Owe You Money
- AB 60 Driver’s License
- Constituent Services
It is a pleasure and honor to serve you. If you have any questions or feedback about state matters or need help dealing with a state agency, you can complete the form on my website where it says Contact Eduardo or contact my district offices.
New Laws You Should Know About
The following is a list of 16 laws that went into effect on January 1st, 2015.
AB 1577 (Atkins) – Gender Identity
AB 1577 requires death certificates to reflect the decedent's gender identity. Under this bill, authorities completing death certificates would be required to record the decedent's sex consistent to other official documents, such as a birth certificate or driver's license, if those have been legally changed to reflect a gender transition.
AB 952 (Atkins) – Low Income Housing
AB 952 allows projects in qualified census tracts or difficult to develop areas to receive state low-income housing tax credits, if certain conditions are met.
AB 2413 (John A. Pérez) – Agriculture
AB 2413 creates the Office of Farm to Fork within the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This office will coordinate with state and federal agencies to ensure that California residents have better access to local or regionally produced food. This law streamlines Farm to Fork efforts already in place and promotes more sustainable agricultural products.
AB 1700 (Medina) – Banking and Finance
AB 1700 requires a reverse mortgage lender to provide a prospective borrower with a reverse mortgage worksheet guide before money is loaned. This helps seniors evaluate whether or not a reverse mortgage is appropriate for their financial situation. It provides elderly clients with additional time and resources to prevent them from defaulting on their loans down the line.
AB 215 (Buchanan) – Education
AB 215 specifies egregious misconduct against children by including sexual abuse, child abuse, and specific drug crimes. The bill creates a separate hearing process for these crimes and also sets the grounds for dismissal of employees charged with egregious misconduct.
AB 2127 (Cooley) – Education
AB 2127 limits the amount of full-contact football practices at California schools during the preseason and regular season to reduce the occurrence of mild traumatic brain injuries. In addition, an athlete who has sustained a head injury or concussion must complete a supervised return-to-play protocol of at least 7 days before returning to the athletic activity.
AB 2377 (John A. Pérez) – Higher Education
Existing law authorizes the California Educational Facilities Authority to borrow money and issue bonds, notes and other obligations. AB 2377 authorizes the Authority to create a state-funded loan loss reserve leveraged by private lenders for the purposes of providing student loan refinancing options. These include loan consolidation, interest rate buy-down, debt restructuring, establishing a loan loss reserve account, and alignment with various federal student loan alternative repayment programs.
AB 219 (Perea) – Health
AB 219 ensures cancer patients can afford oral anticancer treatments that are covered by their health plan or insurance. Unfortunately, oral anticancer treatments are often subject to co-insurance, where the patient must pay a percentage of the cost. High out-of-pocket costs result in patients abandoning oral treatment. This bill requires health insurers to limit patient costs to $200 for a 30-day supply of covered oral anticancer medication.
AB 2171 (Wieckowski) – Elderly
This bill establishes specified rights for residents of privately operated residential care facilities for the elderly to ensure they are treated with dignity. Some of these rights include being granted a reasonable level of personal privacy, medical treatment, personal care and assistance, and confidential treatment of their records and personal information. The bill would also require a facility staff person to personally advise a resident and the resident's representative of these and other specified rights and to provide them with a written copy of these rights.
Groundwater Bill Package: AB 1739 (Dickinson)/SB 1168 (Pavley) / SB 1319 (Pavley) – Water
Together, these bills require local agencies to review and consider groundwater sustainability plans when adopting or amending a general plan, authorize the State Water Resources Control Board to identify basins that are not managed, or that are managed by deficient plans, and require local agencies to remedy deficient basins. The bills also require all groundwater basins designated as high or medium priority to be regulated by a sustainable groundwater management plan.
AB 1453 (Quirk-Silva) – Veterans
AB 1453 requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs to construct a state owned and operated Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Orange County.
AB 1522 (Gonzalez) – Labor
AB 1522 requires employers to provide paid sick days to employees who work 30 (as of July 1, 2015) or more days within a year from commencement of employment.
AB 60 (Alejo) – Transportation
If someone cannot provide proof that their presence in the United States is authorized by federal law, AB 60 allows that person to receive a California driver's license so long as they can provide proof of their identity.
AB 1217 (Lowenthal) – Elderly
AB 1217 creates the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act, which requires that home care organizations and their home care aides are licensed and regulated by the state. This law expands oversight to approximately 1,200 privately-funded service agencies and ensures that California's growing senior population has improved access to quality care from properly screened and trained caregivers.
AB 2188 (Muratsuchi) – Local Government
AB 2188 requires local governments to adopt an ordinance by September 30th, 2015 that streamlines the permitting and inspection process for residential rooftop solar panels. This law continues California's process of increasing homeowner's access to solar energy systems both at the local and state levels.
AB 1035 (John A. Pérez) – Local Government
For four years, AB 1035 will extend the time period for families to collect workers' compensation claims for families of deceased firefighters and police officers up to 420 weeks after an injury, but no more than one year after death.
Get Covered Today -- CoveredCA.com
This year's open enrollment period for Covered California began on Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15, 2015. If you or someone you know doesn't have health care coverage, Covered California can offer you the security and peace of mind that comes from being insured. Covered California is the only place for Californians to get financial help in paying for health care coverage. The financial help works on a sliding scale, so the less you make, the less you will have to pay. Covered California lists the costs and benefits of each plan so you can make comparisons and then find the best plan that fits your needs. You can also see if you are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal.
For more information, please visit CoveredCA.com.
Unclaimed Property - The State May Owe You Money
The State of California is holding over $6.4 billion in unclaimed property and money. Do you know how to claim your forgotten property?
California's Unclaimed Property Law requires "holders" such as corporations, business associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies to annually report and deliver property to the State Controller's Office after there has been no customer contact for three years. Often the owner forgets that the account exists, moves and does not leave a forwarding address, or the forwarding order expires. In some cases, the owner dies and the heirs have no knowledge of the property.
I encourage you to take advantage by clicking here, or by contacting the State Controller's office at (800) 992-4647.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that 1.4 million drivers are unlicensed or uninsured, many of whom are unable to receive a license because they are undocumented. Assembly Bill 60 (Alejo) aims to keep our roads safe by allowing undocumented drivers who meet all other criteria to apply for a driver's license. Once properly licensed, these drivers will be able to purchase auto insurance, as required by law. It's important to note that AB 60 prohibits law enforcement agencies from using the driver's license for criminal investigation, arrest, or detention based on immigration status.
AB 60 passed the State Legislature in 2013 and went into effect January 1, 2015. During this time, the DMV is working to draft new regulations and prepare field offices to process the new applications. While the DMV continues to work through the regulatory process, they are encouraging future applicants to begin preparing for the written exam. Applicants should read the California Driver Handbook, which is available for download in ten languages as well as at a local DMV field office. After reading the handbook, applicants should take the interactive practice exams available here. After January 1, 2015, undocumented licensee applicants can make an appointment to take the written exam and begin the application process.
Visit the DMV website for more information about AB 60 and ways you can start preparing for the application.
California Driver License Handbooks and Sample Knowledge Tests
California Driver Handbook (2014):
My staff and I are ready to help! My office provides information about:
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Veterans Affairs
- Medi-Cal and Covered California (Affordable Care Act)
- Unemployment and Disability Insurance
- Express an opinion
- Suggest changes to a law
- Ask for copies, summaries, and information on bills
- The State Budget
- Reports issued by the Legislature and State Agencies
- Drought response and water-saving information
My website is also a great resource for legislation, news and upcoming events in the District.
For more information or assistance, visit my District Office or call (760) 342-8047.