Legislative Wrap-Up: Smart Growth, Rape Kit Tests, Bay Bridge Hearing

Some of the action involving East Bay legislators this past week in Washington and Sacramento

The state Capitol in Sacramento
The state Capitol in Sacramento
A bill by state Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) that encourages "smart growth" was approved by the Senate this week.

The bill, SB 674, supports the development of projects that encourage locating businesses and services closer to the needs of residents.

The legislation would potentially allow a greater number of community-oriented projects — with ground-floor neighborhood-serving uses on the bottom floor with residential housing on the floors above — in communities throughout California.

“I am pleased that my Senate colleagues today approved SB 674 so that California may continue to improves air quality and reduce the need to build new roads by locating small businesses, banks and other day-to-day community needs closer to where local residents actually live,” said Corbett.

State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) introduced legislation designed to deal with the backlog of untested rape kits sitting in law enforcement offices and forensic labs in California.

The bill, AB 1517, would specify timelines for testing rape kits and entering DNA profile information into the Combined DNA Index System, a national database.

“We are here to make it clear that Rape kits must be tested,” Skinner said. “To not test them is a second assault on the victim and can leave a perpetrator on the streets to offend again.”

State Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) was named the California legislator of the year by TechAmerica.

The U.S. technology trade association praised Wieckowski for his “continued championing of California as the world’s innovation center."

“His appreciation of the critical role that the technology industry plays in our current economic recovery, as well as its increasing importance to California’s economic future, made Assemblyman Wieckowski an extremely effective advocate for our sector,” said Robert Callahan, TechAmerica’s director of state government affairs in California.

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) chaired a hearing Friday morning on the construction of the new span of the Bay Bridge.

The hearing was entitled “Lessons Learned from the Development and Construction of the Bay Bridge”

It was done before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and included a preliminary report called “The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge: Basic Reforms for the Future.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) hosted an interactive budget workshop on Thursday evening.

The workshop was held in Castro Valley in conjunction with the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan grassroots group that educates the public about the causes and consequences of the federal budget deficit.

The workshop allowed participants to work in small groups to consider a variety of fiscal policy alternatives and put forth their ideas for improving the nation's long-term fiscal outlook.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) met on Friday morning with individuals whose unemployment benefits have run out.

The visits came during a tour of the The Unity Council’s Multicultural One-Stop Career Center in Oakland.

State figures show 213,793 people in California and 8,064 people in Alameda County lost jobless benefits with the expiration of the emergency unemployment compensation program on Dec. 28.

Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) attended an event 
on Thursday night that recognized organizations that have helped put people back to work.

Miller joined Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia at the Milestone Event in San Pablo to celebrate local education, job training and job placement efforts.

The event was sponsored by the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation.


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