2020 Legislation

2020 Legislation for Senator Anthony J. Portantino

SB 805: School employees: leaves of absence: natural disasters and evacuation orders.

  • California cities have faced the threat of wildfires and evacuations which prevents school district employees from making it into work, either because of their property facing evacuation or school closure.
  • Teachers are forced to use their earned sick or vacation hours in order to stay financially stable during these emergencies.
  • This bill prevents school district employees from having to use their sick or vacation time when there is a natural disaster or evacuation within the school or home.

SB 849: Pupil attendance: excused absences: mental or behavioral health.

  • An increasing number of school age children in California are dealing with depression, anxiety, and other forms of behavioral issues that create serious health risks, including suicide.
  •  A student is allowed 10 excused absences a year, but current laws do not consider mental and behavioral health problems as grounds for an excused absence, only physical health is considered.
  • This bill would allow a student to have an excused absence for their mental health.

SB 914: Firearms: hunting exemptions.

  • This bill requires the Department of Justice and Department of fish and wildlife to confirm that a hunting license is valid when a person under 21 years old is purchasing a firearm.
  • When someone purchases or transfers a firearm with a hunting license, there is no verification during the 10 day background check to ensure the  license is valid.
  • In 2019, a 19 year old illegally purchased a semiautomatic centerfire rifle from a dealer with in invalid hunting license and tragically opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, CA.

SB 941: Firearms: Department of Justice: fees.

  • SB 941 cleans up the obsolete penal code provisions and the erroneously omitted cross reference updates.
  • The Dealer Record pf Sale (DROS) fee is collected each time a firearm is transferred or sold by a licensed dealer in California in order to address the cost of the background check performed on a firearm purchaser as well as other program costs.
  • In 2004 the fee went from $14 to $19, and it has now expanded to cover eleven different activities. 

SB 985: Sentencing enhancements: property loss.

  • This bill re-imposes sentence enhancements that lapsed by operation of a sunset provision when a person commits specified theft or property loss offenses and adjusts the threshold dollar amounts based on inflation.
  • There is no additional punishment for those who commit substantial financial crimes now that California’s excessive taking enhancement statutorily lapsed in 2018.
  • Consequences should reflect the seriousness of the offense, but currently the punishment is the same whether a defendant takes a $951 or $951,000,000 in a single taking.

SB 996: Statewide Constituents of Emerging Concern Drinking Program

  • This bill requires the state board to establish a program called Constituents of Emerging Concern to support and research emerging concerns in drinking water.
  • Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs) are a diverse group of chemicals and microorganisms that are not currently regulated in drinking water.
  • Particular CECs have received growing public attention as potential pollutants in drinking water supplies, yet the full extent and risk of their presence is not well understood.

SB 1017: School facilities: proceeds from sale or lease of surplus property: affordable rental housing facilities.

  • This bill allows school districts to sell or lease their property for school employee affordable housing while using those dollars to fulfill pension obligations.
  • Current California state law places restrictions on the sale or lease of surplus school properties which requires districts to go through a complicated property advisory committee process
  • Many California school districts are struggling with declining enrollment and this results in less revenue coming in, so school districts can use the surplus money to create affordable housing for moderate and low-income residents to solve this issue and prevent closure of local school facilities. 

SB 1031: Credit Union California

  • The federal government and regulators often make changes to the federal charter and regulations to provide an incentive for state-chartered credit unions to become a federal charter entity.
  • Credit unions also face other challenges, so the California Credit Union League champions on a “state-charter modernization bill” every few years to help state-charter credit union keep up with both federally chartered credit unions and other financial institutions.
  • This bill makes changes to numerous portions of the charter including: the appeals process for expelled members, including abusive behavior as a reason for expulsion, providing parity with federally chartered credit union on the acceptance of non-member deposits and other technical changes.

SB 1056: Drinking water: testing: perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl Substances

  • This bill will establish methodologies for testing water for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalky substances/ chemicals (PFA's or PFOA's) in drinking water in 2022.
  • PFAS are a large class of thousands of toxic “forever” chemicals that are widely used and are found throughout our environment, including in the blood of virtually all humans.
  • PFAS contaminates drinking water around the country, and has been linked to numerous health effects including kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, and decreased response to vaccines.

SB 1091: School safety: mandatory interagency cross-reporting 

  • The percentage of schools that experience “serious violent incidents,” such as using weapons, sexual violence, and robbery has risen 6% since 2015-2016.
  • Currently, cross reporting between schools and law enforcement agencies are not required when there is a serious school threat.
  • This bill requires cross reporting between schools, law enforcement, and local education agency if there is a school threat, which will ensure the safety of California students.

SB 1125:  Local educational agencies: educational programs.

  • There is no clear definition of what school districts in California would qualify for the Rural School District exemption from school start times, and exempting surf classes would help coastal schools from eliminating their before school program.
  • School districts ‘after school’ funding are only used for ‘after school’ programs, and this can cause ‘before school’ programs to not get the same resources and funding.
  • This bill defines Rural School, exempts surf classes, allows districts to use afterschool funds for the morning and allows for charters schools to comply with state mandates.

SB 1174: Special education: dyslexia testing.

  • This bill requires first and second grade testing/screening for Dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia is the most common learning disability with at least 10% of the general population having dyslexia, and 70% of struggling readers being on the dyslexia spectrum.
  • Students with dyslexia are less likely to graduate high school and attend college, and experience higher rates of incarceration.

SB 1214: School accountability: local control funding formula: expenditures.

  • This bill provides flexibility in LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) funding to allow more A-G courses and adjusts the LCAP to make sure the amount of A-G classes reflect the need of the school.
  • There are inner-city, rural and even suburban school districts and charter schools that do not meet all students demand for “A-G” coursework, including the necessary science laboratory offerings.
  •  As a result, not all public school students, including many of our most challenged youth in grades 9-12, will ever have the opportunity to choose to attend a UC or CSU campus.

SB 1357: Income tax credits: research and development: California Competes Tax Credit: sales and use taxes: refund. 

  • Currently, taxpayers have to use their Research and Development tax credits or California Competes tax credits to offset income tax liability, which is a savings attributed to the entire corporation, and not just the California facility where the credits were earned.
  • This bill will give businesses the flexibility to account for tax credits such as the Research and Development tax credits or the California Competes tax credits.
  • Businesses can elect to use these credits to lower its production costs on site by reducing its sales and use tax liability, which will enhance the earnings of the California business operation that actually generated the credit, making it more attractive for future investment.

SB 1390: Montclair to Ontario Airport Construction Authority

  • This bill creates the Montclair to Ontario Airport Construction Authority to oversee all design and construction contracts for completion of an extension to the metro Gold Line light rail project from the city of Montclair to the city of Ontario.
  • Transit options are limited in western San Bernardino and eastern LA county, so residents, workers, and students are seeking reliable and sustainable transit options that are alternative to driving on the congested I-210 and I-10.
  • SB 1390 is modeled after the 1998 Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which has successfully completed its mission of completing two out of its three project segments (the final segment is currently under construction).