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California State Assembly Appropriations Passes Yee Bills on Foster Youth, Hospital Safety, Transparency

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SACRAMENTO – The state's Assembly Appropriations Committee voted to pass Senator Leland Yee’s (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) Senate Bills 3, 342, 528 and 718 today, which is intended to bring increased transparency to the lobbying process and modernize filing practices under campaign finance law, provide assistance to foster youth, and protect hospital employees.

SB 3 would set a statutory deadline for the Secretary of State and the Fair Political Practices Commission to create a modern online database for campaign disclosures. In 2011, the Cal-Access system went offline for a month due to technical difficulties, affecting the public's ability to track lobbyist activity in Sacramento, according to a press release from Yee's office.

“The public has a right to know who has influence in Sacramento,” said Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). “This information must be easily accessible through a modern online system."

SB 3 is part of the Sunshine in Campaigns Act, along with SB 2, authored by Senator Ted Lieu, which could strengthen disclosure requirements, including requiring campaign ads to disclose the top four campaign donors within the ad. SB 2 was also passed by the Appropriations Committee Aug. 30.

In addition, two of Yee’s foster care bills were passed by the Committee. SB 342 will require that social worker visits to foster youth will take place in the home, to assure the child is living in an adequate home environment. SB 528 would prioritize access to subsidized child care, as pregnant and parenting youth are 200% more likely to drop out of high school than to graduate. In addition, it expands access to pregnant and parenting teen conferences to assist parents in utilizing all the resources available, directs the Department of Social Services to start collecting data on parenting and pregnant youth, and provide age appropriate reproductive health education.

“These bills are common sense measures to protect and assist foster youth so that they can succeed and flourish,” said Yee.

The Committee also voted in favor of SB 718, which would require hospitals to craft plans for how to respond to workplace violence and protects survivors of workplace violence from retaliation for seeking necessary evaluation and treatment.

“Hospital employees should be able to go to work without fear of violence,” said Yee. “This bill will give them the protections they deserve so they can do their jobs with the confidence that they are protected from danger.”

Not all of Yee’s bills made it out of committee. SB 343, which would have ensured that foster youth who are at least 16 years old be provided with critical documents, such as their social security card and copy of their birth certificate was held, as was SB 327, which offered legal protections to survivors of human trafficking.

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