California Update on Housing, Seniors, and Consumer Rights

June 8, 2016

Dear Friends,

The California Legislature is half way through this year's session and I am pleased to report that the Senate approved several of my significant bills and they are now in the Assembly for final consideration.

Below, is a brief digest of the bills I am authoring to help financially distressed families, especially seniors, better protect their home equity; to remove barriers to accessory dwelling units; to restrict the tobacco industry's marketing to children; to combat false advertising; and to add protections for consumers and workers in forced binding arbitration contracts.

  • SB 308 - Ensures fairness in bankruptcy by modernizing our state's outdated homestead exemptions to allow homeowners - especially seniors, the blind and disabled - to keep more of their home equity should they face financial distress from rising medical bills or a job loss.
     
  • SB 1400 - Reduces children's exposure to Big Tobacco's pervasive advertising and marketing by limiting sales to adults-only tobacco stores.
     
  • SB 1069 - Eliminates unnecessary and duplicative barriers to accessory dwelling units to promote this cost-effective part of the solution to the affordable housing shortage.
     
  • SB 1263 - Improves the oversight of small public water systems to provide for the long-term delivery of safe, clean, drinking water.
     
  • SB 1007 - Helps protect consumers and workers by affirming that a person has the right to a certified court reporter in a forced binding arbitration hearing. This ensures there is an official transcript of the arbitration hearing.
     
  • SB 1241 - Ensures that a California consumer who purchases a good or service in California, or works in the state, is not forced to arbitrate or litigate in a different state or give up protections afforded under California law. Forced binding arbitration agreements, often buried in small print, can currently require out of state travel for consumers and workers standing up for their rights.
     
  • SB 1130 - Gives California counties more power to protect consumers from misleading or false advertising. It allows county counsels the ability to contact companies and demand substantiation of advertising claims before deciding whether to file a lawsuit. Provides county counsels the same tools possessed by other law enforcement attorneys.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in the California State Senate.

Sincerely,

Bob Wieckowski
Senator, 10th District