2017-18 Legislation

SB 16 – Levels the playing field by limiting private student loan collections to 15 percent of a person’s income – the same as the rate on federal student loans. Now at more than $1.3 trillion, education debt outpaces credit card debt as the leading source of household debt. While federal loan borrowers are afforded lower interest rates, fixed interest rates, and more repayment flexibility, making it less likely they will default, private student loan borrowers have variable interest rates and consistently report their inability to negotiate with banks.  This bill provides more student loan repayment parity.

SB 64 – Requires the Independent Systems Operator (ISO) by Jan. 1, 2019, to review and revise its operations to minimize any logistical impediments to day-ahead scheduling of intermittent generation from renewable energy resources between the ISO and other balancing area authorities, in order to address any over-supply of generation from renewable energy resources at times when it is inexpensive and abundant.

SB 66 – Eliminates a ludicrous loophole in California’s tax code that allows businesses to take a tax deduction when a court holds them liable for punitive damages. Tax deductions are for rewarding and incentivizing good behavior.  But a deduction for punitive damages works in exactly the opposite direction – it rewards and subsidizes the worst behavior by irresponsible corporate citizens.  

SB 157 – Protects cyber retaliation, or “revenge porn” victims from further exposure and threats to their privacy by providing stronger confidentiality protections. It broadens the definition of “identifying characteristics” to include social media profiles, email addresses, account names, avatars, handles, IP addresses, and other unique digital markers. It also gives victims a chance to request and receive a sealing order to protect their case records from public access for up to 60 days.

SB 168 – Creates a comprehensive solution to the state’s current convoluted Bottle Bill program by transitioning to a streamlined Beverage Container Stewardship Program by 2021. It reduces CalRecycle’s bureaucratic functions, and places its focus where it is most efficient – on oversight and enforcement of the recycling program.

SB 217 – Clarifies that the legally-required financial disclosures in family law cases remain admissible even if prepared in the context of mediation. Under California law, spouses owe each other a fiduciary duty to disclose full and accurate information of all their assets and liabilities during marriage dissolution or separation proceedings. This bill ensures that no one can use mediation confidentiality as a shield to fulfilling that duty.

SB 229 – Eliminates onerous barriers to the construction of accessory dwelling units by clarifying that the limits on connection fees and capacity charges apply to water and sewer districts, as well as cities and counties.

SB 262 – Creates staggered, four-year terms for members of the advisory council within the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) and requires the council to select a chairperson by majority vote who will serve in that capacity for no more than four years.

SB 298 – Automatically protects from levy up to $2,250.  Emptying low-income Californians’ bank accounts today for past debt only traps them in the debt cycle.  This bill breaks the cycle and ensures people will have enough to pay for food, medicine and transportation without being forced to incur more debt just to make ends meet.

SB 308 – Makes nonsubstantive changes to the definition of “person” in the Public Resources Code.

SB 316 – Enhances delivery of legal services by requiring the reporting of pro bono activity provided by active members of the State Bar to low-income Californians.

SB 407 – Ensures that people governed by homeowner’s associations have the ability to exercise their rights guaranteed under the law to peacefully assemble and freely communicate with one another for social, political, or educational purposes. Californians’ housing situations do not dictate their free speech rights.

SB 448 – Resolves issues of inefficiency in special districts. It requires the creation of a comprehensive list of special districts and develops an expedited dissolution process for districts that demonstrate through regular audits that they are not performing their promised services.

SB 680 – Expands the radius within which BART can pursue transit-oriented development projects from one-quarter mile to one-half mile. The developments are designed to connect active and public transit and reduce dependence on the automobile.

SB 775 – Extends and improves California’s Cap and Trade program by eliminating free allowances and offsets, adding a price collar for predictability, giving a climate dividend to every Californian and establishing funds for climate infrastructure and adaptation, and clean energy research.

SB 178 – An urgency bill that took effect immediately, authorizes the City of Fremont to transfer park land to the Fremont Unified School District for construction of a new elementary school in central Fremont and the development of two new parks.