A half-dozen bills from State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) have cleared several legislative hurdles this year, most recently passing the Senate in spring and moving on to the Assembly for further consideration.
Glazer's legislative agenda includes a trio of bills to protect residents during power outages and a proposed state constitutional amendment, as well as proposed laws to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products and help college students pay for textbooks and other school supplies.
“In a few short months amidst a deadly crisis, lawmakers were asked to scale back their legislative agendas,” Glazer said in a statement. “So, I am thrilled with how much important work we were able to get done, and am especially glad I could address some critical issues for residents in my district.”
The power outage bills include Senate Bill 431, which require 72 hours of backup power for cell towers "to ensure people have access to cellphone communications during a wildfire power shutdown." Senate Bill 801 would require power companies to provide backup power sources for residents who use life-saving medical devices that require electricity, and Senate Bill 1099 would permit hospitals to use backup power without local penalties.
Senate Bill 1049 proposes increasing penalties for short-term rental properties that allow "disruptive and dangerous events," following a mass shooting last Halloween in Orinda, where five people died during a party hosted at an AirBnB property. Another proposed article of legislation, Senate Bill 793, aims to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products; the bill is similar to previous laws that Glazer has co-authored such as banning the marketing of flavored tobacco products to children.
Glazer's Senate Bill 1232 would help pay for textbooks and college supplies for student parents with a Cal-WORKS grant, as well as exempt them from meeting work requirements.
A proposed state constitutional amendment would allow seniors and disabled people to sell their home and buy another without triggering higher property taxes that are usually assessed on a new property purchase.
If adopted, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11 would enable more empty-nesters to downsize while increasing the housing stock for young families that have had difficulty buying a home, Glazer said.
The amendment would also close a loophole for people who receive a property tax break when they inherit a home from their parents. Those who reside in their inherited home would still receive the benefit but landlords would no longer be included.
Glazer's office estimated that the two revisions could eventually generate $1 billion in new annual revenue that would be earmarked for fire protection.
“Senator Glazer’s efforts to create a dedicated fund to support underfunded fire districts in California show how effective a resourceful and persistent lawmaker can be in delivering much needed funds to his fire districts,” said Brian Rice, president of California Professional Firefighters. “We are grateful for the support Senator Glazer has provided us and should ACA 11 (Proposition 19) be passed by the voters, we look forward to working with him to secure funds for his district.”
Part of the revenue would be allocated to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, which has reduced services and closed multiple fire stations due to dwindling state funding formulas that supply less funds than a traditional fire district.
“This fire district has never had the revenue it needs to serve the fast-growing East County,” Glazer said. “ACA 11 is a smart, fair tax reform that will help seniors while generating more resources for fighting fires. If it passes, I will work with my fellow legislators to make sure that the East County district gets its fair share.”