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June 1, 2012 > Seven Wieckowski bills approved

Seven Wieckowski bills approved

Submitted By Jeff Barbosa

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed seven bills by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) on May 25, 2012, including a measure to fund a spinal cord injury research program named after Fremont Planning Commissioner Roman Reed. All seven bills now head to the Assembly floor for consideration.

AB 1657 would raise roughly $3M for spinal cord injury research managed through the Reeve-Irvine Center at the University of California, Irvine. Researchers throughout the state can apply for grants. The bill is supported by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Brock Reeve, executive director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and brother of the late Christopher Reeve, and several of the state's top neurobiologists.

"The program has provided $15M in state grants and leveraged almost $64M since its inception," Wieckowski said. "This state-of-the-art research in nerve regeneration has the potential to improve the quality of life for all those living with paralysis and debilitating neurological diseases."

The program was created in 2000 by Assemblymember John Dutra. Reed was injured, while playing in a Chabot College football game.

The other Wieckowski bills approved include:

AB 1534, supported by Consumer Federation of California and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, among others, seeks to protect consumers from predatory auto sales practices at "Buy Here, Pay Here" lots. It requires the lots to disclose the reasonable market value of the vehicle - much like new automobiles have displayed the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price on all new cars since 1958.

AB 1968, supported by several law enforcement organizations, would improve the protection and personal safety of probation officers or deputy probation officers by allowing them to carry firearms but only as determined by the Chief Probation Officer on a case-by-case or unit-by-unit basis. It requires the Chief Probation Officer to develop a plan for arming deputy probation officers whose duties involve high-risk caseloads no later than June 30, 2013.

AB 1566 reduces the regulatory burden on the owners and operators of above-ground storage tanks (AST) that hold toxic chemicals, including petroleum, while enhancing environmental and public health protection in three ways. First, it assigns statewide oversight of the AST program to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The AST law is the only local environmental health program lacking state oversight. It will require the State Fire Marshal to ensure consistency across federal, state and local programs. Second, it aligns state law with federal AST requirements, which will also help to ensure that the regulated community and the enforcement agencies have clear, non-duplicative requirements. Third, it makes AST penalty provisions consistent with similar state laws, such as the underground storage tank program.

AB 2529 improves the state's drinking water by enabling the California Department of Public Health to streamline the process to correct small water system deficiencies, particularly in systems serving severely disadvantaged communities.

AB 1442, supported by the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club and a number of water agencies, allows healthcare facilities to use common carriers for the transportation of all unwanted pharmaceuticals.

AB 1519 requires trustees of specified retirement boards to complete a minimum of 24 hours of education within the first two years of assuming office. It also requires subsequent education for every two-year period the boardmember continues to serve.

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