The California Legislature began a new two-year session on December 5 with members of the Senate and Assembly convening in the Capitol. As we start a new year and the 2017-2018 Legislative Session gets fully underway, I am delighted to let you know about bills I’ve just introduced, new laws that took effect on January 1, and the outstanding volunteer service of our community’s veteran of the year, as well as state and district programs that can benefit you or family members.
I am honored to represent you. If I or my staff can be of assistance, please call 650-212-3313.
Senator, 13th District
Measures to fight the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections caused by “superbugs,” strengthen and broaden reform of the California Public Utilities Commission, improve accountability of law enforcement guns, increase transparency for police use of surveillance tools, and require passengers who ride in buses equipped with seatbelts to wear them were among the bills introduced by Senator Jerry Hill on December 5, the first day of the new legislative session.
“These bills are aimed at improving public health and safety – and the accountability of agencies and systems that are intended to protect Californians,” said Senator Hill, who introduced the bills after taking the oath of office for his second four-year Senate term.
Championing Public Access to Martins Beach
The California State Lands Commission has directed its staff to map out the steps required to obtain a public right of way or easement to Martins Beach through eminent domain.
The commission’s move, during its meeting December 6 in Sacramento, came after public comment by Senator Jerry Hill, former Congressman Pete McCloskey, members of the Surfrider Foundation’s San Mateo County Chapter, environmental and coastal advocates, and Peninsula and other Bay Area residents who urged commissioners to restore public access to the beach.
2016 Veteran of the Year
Romie Bassetto, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War and is the commander of American Legion District 26, has been honored as the Veteran of the Year for California’s 13th Senate District.
In a surprise ceremony on October 27, state Senator Jerry Hill commended Mr. Bassetto for his leadership and service to veterans and their families, and his seemingly tireless volunteer work as a member of organizations to aid and honor veterans, including American Legion Post 105, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 464, AMVETS Post 53 and the Avenue of Flags Committee at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
“Romie is an example to his peers and our community for his compassion and selflessness – his kindness can be seen in gestures big and small,” said Senator Hill in the presentation at American Legion Post 105.
Mr. Bassetto played key roles in organizing Redwood City’s Veterans Day Parade and festivities this year as well as a ceremony to observe the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day. In 2015, he was a co-organizer of the visit of “The Traveling Wall that Heals,” when it came to the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
Entries Welcomed for 2017 ‘Oughta Be a Law …Or Not’ Contest
Have a great idea for a new state law? Or maybe there’s one that has outlived its usefulness and you’d like to see if off the books. Submit your bill idea in Senator Jerry Hill’s 9th annual “Oughta Be a Law…Or Not” contest.
Winning ideas have led to laws that enable individuals who vote by mail to confirm that their votes were counted, exempt California’s all-volunteer fire departments from sales tax on fundraising activities such as pancake breakfasts and T-shirt sales, and ease property taxes for small nonprofits that create affordable housing on their land.
Property Tax Deferments Available
If you are having difficulty with property tax payments on your home, there are options that may help you weather current challenges. The State Controller’s Property Tax Postponement Program has resumed after being suspended by the Legislature in 2009. Funding is limited and is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The program allows homeowners who are at least 62 years old, are blind, or have a disability to defer current-year property taxes on their principal residence if they meet certain criteria, including 40 percent equity in the home and an annual household income of $35,500 or less.
New Laws for 2017
Laws to protect Californians from drunk driving offenders, help establish an earthquake early warning system, reform the California Public Utilities Commission, increase oversight of building contractors, improve tour bus safety, crack down on water-guzzling households, and more took effect on January 1.
The new laws are among 17 resulting from legislation that was introduced by Senator Jerry Hill, passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown this year. They include Senate Bill 1046, which extends a current pilot program that requires ignition interlock devices for DUI offenders in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties until January 1, 2019, when the pilot will be expanded statewide.
Summer Internship Opportunity
It’s not too soon to think of applying for a summer internship in the San Mateo office of Senator Jerry Hill.
An internship in Senator Hill’s district office helps students learn about the legislative process and provides an opportunity to serve our community.
Internships are available on a part or full-time basis. Applicants should be at least 16, have good writing skills and enjoy interacting with new people.
For more information and an application form, visit: http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/district/interns.