The Tri-Valley's state lawmakers have seen original bills advance through committees at the State Capitol over the past few weeks, legislation mostly focused on public health and safety and higher education.
A bill by State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) to ban flavored tobacco sales passed 8-1 last week in the Senate Health Committee. Senate Bill 38 aims to counter the popularity of e-cigarettes, which Glazer said in a statement "is sadly becoming the rage among middle school and high school kids."
A report from the FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 3.6 million middle and high school students use e-cigarettes, which come in flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy. About 80% of young people surveyed cited the devices as their first exposure to tobacco use.
"We must stop marketing these dangerous products to children," Glazer added. "It is an epidemic that requires urgent action."
First-year Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) passed her first two bills out of the Judiciary and Human Services committees so far this legislative session. Assembly bills 1735 and 807 received wide bipartisan support and unanimous approval.
Bauer-Kahan said in a statement that she was "thrilled to have the support of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle" on protecting human trafficking victims and giving low-income students greater access to higher education.
AB 1735 would help prosecute human traffickers by protecting communications between witnesses and caseworkers.
AB 807 would eliminate income exclusions for the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, which currently penalizes enrolled families if a student receives academic scholarships, rental assistance or transfers money between accounts, such as a college savings account.
Bauer-Kahan also recently became chair of the newly formed Select Committee on Women's Reproductive Health, which is planning an investigative hearing in June to explore the effects and outcome of the Title X "gag rule" that prohibits participants from referring patients to abortion providers.