Government Watch - San Mateo Daily Journal


• State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, withdrew his bill to combat the epidemic use of flavored tobacco products by youth, following what he called hostile amendments that carved out exceptions for tobacco used in hookahs and for tobacco products patented before 2000.

The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee announced the amendments to Senate Bill 38 last week before passing the bill on to the Senate Floor. Because of the amendments, the American Lung Association in California, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network withdrew their sponsorship and support, according to Hill’s office.

In its amended form, SB 38 was eligible for a vote by the full Senate. Instead, Hill moved SB 38 to the Senate inactive file. A special interest group had sought changes to the bill arguing that it raised concerns among communities for whom the use of flavored hookah tobacco is a cultural tradition and among proprietors of hookah lounges, according to Hill’s office.

Hill’s Senate Bill 39 to tighten age-verification measures in online sales, packaging and delivery of tobacco products passed the Senate earlier this month and awaits a hearing in the Assembly.

• Three environmental bills authored by Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, passed off of the Assembly floor and now move on to the Senate. Collectively, the bills address climate adaptation, the deployment of zero-emission buses and the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, according to his office.

AB 839 will enact a climate adaptation framework for the state over the coming years to ensure there are thoughtful goals, coordinated government actions, and innovative funding mechanisms in place to adapt to climate change. AB 784 would exempt zero-emission transit buses, or ZEBs, from the state portion of the sales tax until Jan. 1, 2024. AB 1509 was introduced in response to a fire caused by a lithium-ion battery ignition at the Shoreway Facility in San Mateo County. The fire resulted in $8.5 million in damages to the facility, which had to be shut down for 90 days and took over a year to restore to full service. While current law prohibits these batteries from being thrown in the trash, and requires large retailers to have a mechanism to accept all rechargeable batteries from consumers for recycling, batteries that are embedded in devices are not subject to the law, according to his office.

• A bill that would require community colleges to grant overnight access to campus parking facilities for homeless students to sleep in their vehicles passed out of the Assembly Thursday with bipartisan support, according to the office of Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, the author of the bill.

Assembly Bill 302 would require community colleges to grant overnight access to campus parking facilities to any homeless student that is enrolled in coursework, has paid enrollment fees if not waived, and is in good standing with the community college, without requiring the student to enroll in additional courses. The governing board of each community college would be required to develop an implementation plan that includes, in part, an overnight parking form and liability waiver, designation of a specific parking area or areas, accessible bathroom facilities, hours of operation and overnight parking rules, according to Berman’s office.

The bill previously passed out of the Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill now heads to the Senate.