Saturday, 01 October 2022

Five Wiggins bills move to Assembly

SACRAMENTO – A flurry of activity has been going on in the state Legislature, as deadlines begin to loom for legislators.


David Miller of Sen. Pat Wiggins' office said legislators are working to be ahead of the deadline, which arrives in about three weeks, by which time they must move their bills out of the house of origin – either the Senate or Assembly – in order to continue through the process of becoming law.


Last Thursday, the State Senate approved five of Wiggins' bills, sending the measures off to the Assembly for consideration.


Only one measure, SB 1016, required a voice vote (36-0 in support); the remaining bills were approved as part of Thursday's consent calendar.


Highlights of the five bills are as follows:


– SB 108, which seeks to expand the types of non-profit organizations that can allow wine sales orders to be taken by wineries at their events to include “civic leagues”, “social organizations” and “voluntary employees’ benefit associations.”


Among the examples of the kinds of organizations to be added if SB 108 becomes law are the Kiwanis Club, League of Women Voters, Lions Club, and the California Retired Teachers Association. Expanding the list will benefit non-profit groups, consumers and wineries, enabling individuals to order wine that may not be readily available and helping wineries to build brand awareness.


– SB 560, which seeks an assessment of the adequacy of services provided to the blind and visually impaired residents at the Veterans' Home of California at Yountville. Amended slightly since its introduction in late February, SB 560 would require the Little Hoover Commission on California State Government & the Economy to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature by Sept. 1, 2008, assessing the adequacy of services provided to the veterans residing at Yountville.


– SB 562, which seeks to amend the Williamson Act’s definition of “agricultural commodity” to add plant products used for producing bio-fuels, as well as to redefine "open space use" under the Act to add land enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program or Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.


The Williamson Act conserves agricultural and open space land by allowing private property owners to sign voluntary contracts with counties and cities, enforceably restricting their land to agriculture, open space, and compatible uses. In return, county assessors must lower the assessed value of the contracted lands to reflect their use as agriculture or open space instead of the market value.


“Growing crops for bio-fuels is a recent phenomenon in California, but is clearly an agricultural use,” Wiggins said. “Similarly, enrolling property for federal land conservation subsidies and cost-sharing payments is clearly an open space use. My bill would allow the Williamson Act to keep pace with changes in our agricultural industry while adhering to the constitutional principles behind the Williamson Act.”


– SB 813, which seeks to clarify that a provision in the state elections code pertaining to the death of a candidate prior to a vote of the people applies only to primaries and not runoff elections.


The 2006 election for Mendocino County District Attorney featured three candidates running in the June primary: incumbent Norm Vroman died just 47 days prior to a runoff election. County officials invoked one provision of the election code (Section 15402) requiring that the ballots be counted but were subsequently sued over whether another provision rendering the election null and void (Section 8026) should have been invoked instead.


The Appellate Court ordered a special election that negated the results of the primary, setting a new precedent given the intent and history of Section 8026. “In light of the turmoil resulting from the 2006 Mendocino County D.A. race and the subsequent lawsuit and court ruling, I introduced this bill to clarify once and for all that Section 8026 does indeed apply only to primary elections,” Wiggins said.


“My bill would further clarify that if a candidate dies within 68 days of a run-off election, Section 15402 applies to govern the results of that election. The Legislature never intended Section 8026 to apply to run-off elections and doing so results in unnecessary costs, delays, and added confusion for voters.”


– SB 1016, which would create incentives for local jurisdictions to divert 50 percent or more of their solid waste away from landfills through source reduction, recycling and composting.


According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, cities and counties diverted more than 46 million tons of solid waste from landfills in 2005 for an estimated statewide diversion rate of 52 percent. The CIWMB notes that almost 70 percent of jurisdictions have received approval for their diversion rates while about 30 percent have either been granted a time extension or are on compliance orders.


SB 1016 would provide an incentive to cities and counties with diversion rates in excess of 50 percent by easing some of the requirements in their annual reports to the CIWMB.


For more information about Wiggins and her legislation, or to contact her office, visit http://dist02.casen.govoffice.com/.


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