On issues ranging from breast cancer prevention to drug “recycling” and from red-light camera reforms to renters’ rights, several bills written by former state Sen. Joe Simitian became law in the new year.
Simitian, who termed out of the state Senate, was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in the June 2012 election and will take office next week as supervisor for District 5.
Simitian's office provided the following list of new laws that took, or will take effect after he left office at the end of November:
Improving Breast Cancer Detection (Senate Bill 1538)
Roughly 40% of the women who have mammograms have dense breast tissue, which can make it difficult to spot cancer on a mammogram. Senate Bill 1538 will require that following a mammogram, women be informed if they have dense breast tissue; that dense breast tissue can make it harder to evaluate the results of a mammogram; that it is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer; that information about breast density is given to discuss with their doctor; and that a range of screening options are available. (Becomes law April 1, 2013.)
Boosting Cancer Research (SB 1359)
This bill continues to allow voluntary contributions to two popular cancer research tax check-off funds. Senate Bill 1359 extends the voluntary contribution check-offs on state tax forms for the California Breast Cancer Research Program and the California Cancer Research Fund for five years. Without SB 1359, these popular check-offs would have expired on January 1, 2013. (Becomes law on January 1, 2013.)
Red-Light Camera Reforms (SB 1303)
Senate Bill 1303 protects drivers’ rights, establishes statewide standards for traffic enforcement cameras, and makes it easier to challenge unjustified tickets. It requires that camera locations be based solely on safety considerations; prohibits the use of red-light cameras to raise revenue; requires cities and counties to follow state standards in the placement and operation of cameras; and requires adequate signs to notify drivers when red-light cameras are in use. SB 1303 also prohibits so-called “snitch tickets” (i.e., an innocent ticket recipient may not be required to identify another driver in order to clear an inaccurate ticket). (Becomes law on January 1, 2013.)
“Recycling” of Surplus Medication (SB 1329)
SB 1329 would make it easier for surplus, unopened medication to be donated to uninsured Californians. Senate Bill 1329 allows a greater number of health care facilities to donate unopened medications; permits non-profit community clinics and certain pharmacies to receive the donated medications; and makes it easier for county boards of supervisors or county public health officials to initiate a drug redistribution program. This builds on previous Simitian legislation (SB 798, signed into law in 2005), which for the first time allowed California counties to establish drug redistribution programs. (Becomes law on January 1, 2013.)
Protects Renters in Foreclosure (SB 1191)
Senate Bill 1191 would warn prospective tenants when the property they are looking to rent is subject to foreclosure. It requires that a landlord who receives a Notice of Default provide written notice to any prospective tenant before a lease is signed. Under existing law, a landlord is not required to disclose this fact to a prospective tenant. Consequently, renters have been at risk of reduced maintenance, lost security deposits or even having their homes yanked out from under them with little or no notice. (Becomes law on January 1, 2013.)
Streamline School Construction (SB 1509)
This bill provides K-12 schools and community college districts with the continued ability to use design-build construction, an alternative proven to save money, provide flexibility and speed up construction. Design-build merges the construction and design elements of a project, which increases efficiency. (Becomes law on January 1, 2013.)
Also signed into law were SB 972 re: CEQA; and SB 1360, which updated Simitian’s California Clean Coast Act.
For more information, visit senatorsimitian.com.