Healthcare, Human-Trafficking and Gender-Identity Fixes Highlight 10 Atkins Measures that Advance this Week in the Senate
Ten pieces of legislation authored by Sen. Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) moved forward this week – highlighted by bills that would establish a universal, single-payer healthcare system in California; give prosecutors an additional tool to bring sex traffickers to justice; and ease the name- and gender-change process for transgender, nonbinary and intersex people.
- SB 214 was passed on the Senate floor on April 24 and sent to the state Assembly. The bill strengthens the capacity of the San Diego River Conservancy to protect and enhance the river watershed. It adds representation from the City of Santee and the Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy to the conservancy’s Board of Directors and provides the conservancy with greater ability to enter into joint-powers agreements.
- SB 285 cleared the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee on April 24. The bill clarifies that not only do public employees have the right to form a union or engage in union activities without interference – they also have the right to become members or remain as members of a union without interference, intimidation, or coercion.
- SB 230 cleared the Senate Public Safety Committee on April 25. The bill helps convict human traffickers by adding sex trafficking to the list of offenses for which prosecutors may, with a judge’s permission, introduce in trial evidence of a defendant’s past sex-trafficking crimes.
- SB 667 cleared the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on April 25. The bill enables the Riverine Stewardship Assistance Program (RSAP), which was created in the 2016-17 fiscal year state budget. The RSAP provides technical and financial support for stream restoration, reduced flood risk and improved habitat corridors, empowering communities to reconnect with and take pride in their neighborhood waterways.
- SB 179 – the Gender Recognition Act – cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 25. The bill makes California the first state in the country to allow nonbinary residents – those who self-identify as neither male nor female – to choose a third gender marker on state-issued identity documents. It also makes it easier for transgender, intersex or nonbinary Californians to obtain state identification documents that accurately reflect their gender.
- SB 462 cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 25. The bill clarifies that probation departments may access juvenile case files in order to comply with reporting requirements and allows courts to authorize probation departments to provide third-party researchers with limited access to juvenile case files in order to conduct research on juvenile-justice populations and the programs that serve them. SB 462 ensures that no personally identifying information from a juvenile case file may be released, disseminated or published.
- SB 562 – the Healthy California Act – cleared the Senate Health Committee on April 26. The bill creates a universal, single-payer healthcare system in California.
- SB 437 cleared the Senate Health Committee on April 26. The bill improves the effectiveness of the joint working group of the Department of Managed Healthcare and the Department of Insurance. It does this by requiring the group to review two new topics: consumer complaints that pertain to timely access to care and state implementation of federal healthcare reforms.
- SB 789, jointly authored with Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), passed on the Senate floor on April 24 and was sent to the state Assembly. The bill promotes effective and informed policy-making by providing a complete picture of apprenticeship programs. It does this by requiring that the annual report by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards and the California Apprenticeship Council include an analysis of any apprenticeship standards or regulations that were proposed or adopted in the previous years.
- SCR 39 was passed on the Senate floor on April 27. The resolution proclaims April 27 as “Marine Mammal Rescue Day,” recognizing the important work of wildlife biologists, veterinarians and animal-care specialists who rescue marine animals that wash ashore in distress.