May 27th was the “House of Origin Deadline,” the final day for bills to pass out from the legislative house in which they were first introduced. Since this is the end of a two-year session, any bills that failed to pass by the deadline have died.
I’m very happy two more of my bills made it through the process. During recent wildfires, we all became more aware of the tremendous contributions made by tribal fire departments in our rural district and in many areas throughout the state. Unfortunately, under current regulations, dependents of tribal fire fighters who are killed or injured during the performance of their duties are not eligible for scholarships or other death/injury benefits generally available to firefighters and peace officers. My bill, AB 2661, will make tribal fire department employees eligible for those benefits. The bill is supported by the California Forestry Association and tribal governments. AB 2661 passed the Assembly without opposition and is now pending in the Senate, where prospects seen bright.
Another one of my bills, AB 2768, also passed the Assembly without opposition. The bill addresses the critical shortage of psychiatric beds in California by leading to the development of a real-time, internet-based database providing information on available beds/facilities to serve the mentally ill. Under AB 2768, when a patient is brought to the ER, a bed would be located using the database. We’ll also be able to learn where more beds are needed, so we can get mentally ill persons into treatment and off our streets. The bill is supported by the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California. and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
There are lots of contentious issues in Sacramento, but that doesn’t keep legislators from both sides of the aisle from coming together to pass bipartisan legislation that benefits everyone.