Local lawmakers see their bills progress

first_img“I’m happy they’re out,” he said. “They’re important bills.” AB 502 would create a test program in which a city attorney would be assigned to assist undocumented immigrants who are victims of rape and domestic violence, he said. In all, the Assembly Appropriations Committee considered 591 bills that included $7 billion in new spending. But the committee rejected about a third of the proposals Thursday, trimming proposed spending by 92 percent, said Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the committee chairman. Seven of nine of Calderon’s proposals made it out of the committee, while five of six of Mendoza’s survived. Two freshmen state legislators from the Whittier area were celebrating Thursday after several of their bills passed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, a key step in the lawmaking process. The bills ranged from Assemblyman Charles Calderon’s AB 502, which would create a pilot program to help undocumented immigrants who are victimized by domestic violence, to Assemblyman Tony Mendoza’s AB 97, which would ban trans fat in restaurant food. “I’m very pleased,” said Mendoza, D-Norwalk. “Even though this is my first year as a legislator, I have several substantive and ambitious pieces of legislation, and we’ve been able to move them through the process very well.” Calderon, D-Industry, said he, too, was pleased about his bills’ progress. All of the bills passed Thursday must now go to the full Assembly for votes. Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, was not as successful; only two of four of his proposals passed through the committee. Meanwhile, in the state Senate, Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, saw one of his bills approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. To get their bills through, the legislators sometimes had to accept changes. Mendoza’s trans fat bill, for instance, was amended to exempt schools. The committee apparently was concerned about economic impacts and spending. The committee, for example, also held back El Segundo Democrat Assemblyman Ted Lieu’s bill that would have banned trans fat from schools. The proposal would have cost the state up to $50 million to implement. “I am very concerned about making school cafeteria food healthier,” Mendoza said. “But there is still a bill pending in the Senate specifically relating to that issue. So by amending our bill, we let them carry that part of the fight against artery-clogging trans fats and we can concentrate on making restaurant food healthier.” Both Calderon and Mendoza failed to get bills passed to increase full-time faculty at community colleges and state universities. But Calderon touted his bill, AB 1486, that seeks to add 5,000 more state mental health counselors. It was approved by the appropriations panel, probably because it would cost relatively little money. “We have a huge shortage of mental health counselors,” said Calderon. “About 5,000 people can’t practice because of \ license requirements. This will set up a whole new licensing scheme and result in 5,000 more counselors.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more