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New Year, New Laws By Local Leaders Take Effect

A list of new legislation for 2012 created by your own elected representatives.

A whole new slew of laws—from elder abuse protection to outlawing shark fin sales—went into effect over the weekend, thanks to the efforts of Silicon Valley politicians.

Below is a list of local senators and assemblymen, what Patch towns they represent, and the legislation they sponsored.

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto (Palo Alto, Los Altos, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Campbell, Cupertino)

SB 2X: Establishing California as a Leader of Renewable Energy; private and public utilities are required to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2020.

SB 514: Curbing ‘Robotripping’ Abuse; this prohibits the sale of non-prescription drugs containing dextromethorphan (DMX), commonly found in cough syrup, to those under 18.

SB 36: Boosting Kids’ Health Insurance Coverage; counties are able to tap into federal funds to bring kids health insurance.

SB 226: Streamlining Environmental Review for Infill and Renewable Energy Projects; Simitian says it helps create jobs while maintaining environmental safeguards.

SB 33: Preventing Elder Financial Abuse; puts the 2005 Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act, which requires bank employees to notify authorities when financial elder abuse is suspected, into law permanently.

SB 24: Strengthening Consumer Privacy Protection; strengthens and standardizes the notification requirements when someone’s personal information has been hacked into, stolen, or lost.

SB 221: Expanding Consumer Access to Small Claims Court; expands California consumers’ access to Small Claims Court by increasing the limit of damages from $7,500 to $10,000.

SB 445: Updating Privacy Protections for Library Patrons; part of Simitian’s annual “There Oughta Be A Law” contest, this extends library privacy protections to online content.

SB 164: Preserving Funding for Child Abuse Prevention and Endangered Species; Californians will be able to continue making voluntary tax contributions to both the State Children’s Trust Fund for the Prevention of Child Abuse and the Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program until January 1, 2018.

SB 506: Spurring Investment in California Bonds; updates laws allowing the use of registered warrants to pay an existing tax liability.

SB 225: Expanding Small Business Loan Program; through the bill, small trucking companies are able to access the lending they need to purchase trucks with cleaner engines.

Paul Fong (Mountain View and Cupertino)

AB 376: Shark Fin Protection Act; bans the possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins, a luxury item that sells for upwards of $600 a pound.

AB 1056: E-Transcript Bill; requires California Community Colleges to use electronic transcripts.

AB 585: Firegfighter Equality Bill; firefighters working at NASA facilities are given the same level of cancer protection as NASA employees due to their exposure to hazardous materials.

AB 288: Community College Violence Protection Bill; the bill streghtens safety on community college campuses.

AB 1167: Homeless Council; this bill creates a council aimed at helping the homeless population.

AB 1116: Disaster Preparedness Bill; requires the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) to look into the safety of communities where non-English speakers live.

AB 923: Lifelong Learning for California Workers; establishes Lifelong Learning Accounts (LiLa's), a program that helps pay for work-skills development and job promotion training.

Mike Honda (Cupertino, Milpitas, Los Gatos)

Integration and Citizenship Amendment: an amendment to the FY2012 Homeland Security Bill, this reiterates that immigrant assimilation is a national priority.

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