Last month, legislators in the Senate and Assembly worked to hear numerous bills before the June 1st deadline to pass legislation from its house of origin. In the last week of May, the Senate approved five of my bills — including SB 1278 to strengthen flood protection and SB 1318 to help prevent the spread of the influenza or flu virus at health facilities and clinics among infants, seniors, and other patients at high risk of serious flu complications
In this month's newsletter I want to tell you about SB 1278 and SB 1318, as well as legislation I'm authoring to increase consumer access to clean, renewable energy.
I also want to encourage you to follow the work of the Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown on the State Budget. The Legislature has until midnight on June 15, 2012 to review, amend, and pass a finalized budget.
California faces a $15.7 million budget deficit, and we have many tough decisions to make. To close the gap, the Governor has suggested $8.3 billion in state spending cuts and increased revenue from a tax initiative to be placed before the voters in November. The Governor also offered some detail on trigger cuts that will take place if voters do not pass his revenue measure on the November ballot.
The Legislative Analyst's Office, California's nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor, has an excellent collection of resources on the state budget. You can also read the Governor's revised budget proposal, which he released last month.
As always, please contact me or my staff with any of your needs - we are here to serve you.
5th Senate District
May, 2012—Senator Wolk presents one of her bills on the floor of the State Senate.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of State Senate.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
- Wolk honored for work to protect California's seniors
- Senate passes healthcare worker vaccination bill
- Senator works to provide clean energy access for millions of Californians
- Wolk flood protection measure earns unanimous Senate support
Wolk honored for work to protect California’s seniors
SAN FRANCISCO — The Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN), the primary provider of elder financial abuse prevention programs in California, honored Senator Lois Wolk last month for her work to protect the state's seniors throughout her tenure in the Legislature.
The group's board of directors presented Wolk with the Donald N. Phelps Visionary Award at the 9th Annual "Call to Action 2012" in San Francisco, an event where law enforcement, consumer advocates, banking institutions, legal experts, and consumers come together to share best practices to prevent elder financial exploitation and fraud, including advances in community education and consumer protection.
"It is a great honor to be recognized by the Elder Financial Protection Network, which provides such vital services to help protect our state's seniors," said Senator Wolk. "As our senior population continues to grow at a rapid pace, so too does the need to provide them with the information and tools they need to protect themselves. Perhaps the most important thing I've learned working on senior issues is that the best thing anyone can do to protect themselves is to stay informed and aware."
Click here to read more.
Senate passes healthcare worker vaccination bill
SACRAMENTO — On a bipartisan 23-9 vote, the State Senate approved legislation last month to help prevent the spread of the influenza or flu virus at health facilities and clinics among infants, seniors, and other patients at high risk of serious flu complications.
Senate Bill 1318 by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) would reduce transmission of the flu — which the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists as the eighth leading cause of death in the United States — by requiring hospitals and clinics to reach a 90 percent vaccination rate among their health care workers by 2015 or adopt a masking requirement for those who decline flu shots.
"Over 35,000 people die in this country as a result of influenza each year, and the majority of these influenza-related deaths occur among the most frail and vulnerable members of our society," Wolk said. "These individuals regularly come in contact with health care personnel, and are at higher risk of flu complications and death. My legislation is an essential step toward preventing unnecessary deaths."
SB 1318 is strongly supported by the healthcare community. The bill is being sponsored by the California Medical Association, California Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the Health Officers Association of California — and supported by groups including the California Primary Care Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Californians for Patient Care. SB 1318 will next be heard in the State Assembly.
Click here to read more.
Senator works to provide clean energy access for millions of Californians
SACRAMENTO — Clean energy is one of the fastest growing sectors of California's economy, yet three out of four energy customers - including the state's millions of renters - are unable to generate their own on-site power from solar, wind and other renewables. A bill currently moving through the legislature seeks to offer those customers a new path to clean energy and spur additional private sector investment and job growth in California's clean energy sector.
Senate Bill 843, authored by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), proposes a new way for Californian homes, businesses, schools and public agencies to harness renewable energy. It would establish a framework for shared community renewable energy systems for customers of the state's major utilities: PG&E, SCE and SDG&E. Customers who choose to participate would receive credit on their utility bills for their portion of the clean power generated, much as if those renewable energy systems were located at their own home or business.
"This legislation expands consumer access to renewable energy, giving Californians the opportunity to save on their energy bills," said Senator Wolk, who has worked to increase consumer access to clean, renewable energy throughout her time in the State Legislature. "It also encourages more investment and creates local jobs in an important sector of our state's economy, all without spending any state funds. And everyone gets to breathe cleaner air. It's a win-win for California."
Click here to read more.
Wolk flood protection measure earns unanimous Senate support
SACRAMENTO — The State Senate voted unanimously last month to approve legislation by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to provide communities in California's Central Valley and Delta region with reliable information needed to ensure new developments won't be placed in flood prone areas. On a 38-0, bipartisan vote, the bill now moves to the State Assembly.
Wolk's Senate Bill 1278 is a follow-up to a landmark package of state laws enacted in 2007 to strengthen flood protection in Central Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region. The package required the Department of Water Resources to develop a state flood protection plan by January 2012, and required cities and counties to ensure that, after 2015, all development in areas with 10,000 residents or more have at least a 200-year level of flood protection.
"Unfortunately, flood maps used to determine flood protection levels are not included in the state's plan. That means many communities within the Central Valley do not currently have the information or resources necessary to comply with state requirements," said Wolk, who spearheaded the creation of the 2007 package while serving in the Assembly.
SB 1278 addresses this problem by directing the state to provide communities with flood maps for areas protected by state owned levees by July 2, 2013. Additionally, while these maps are being developed, the bill allows communities to permit development based on substantial evidence provided by developers--if the community deems the information sufficient and it is demonstrated that the development will have 200-year flood protection.
"By providing cities and counties with the information they need to make informed and responsible land use decisions, SB 1278 helps ensure that the flood protection objectives of the 2007 flood legislation are achieved, and people and property are kept out of harm's way," Wolk said.
Learn more about Senator Wolk
To learn more about Senator Wolk, visit her official Senate website.