Hill Introduces Bills to Earmark Bulk of Billion-Dollar PG&E Fine to Pipeline Safety, Require Greater Transparency for Travel by Public Officials and Extend Youth Tobacco Laws to E-Cigarettes
Office of Senator Jerry Hill -- News Release
Senator Jerry Hill Ushers in New Legislative Session by Introducing Bills to Earmark Bulk of Billion-Dollar PG&E Fine to Pipeline Safety, Require Greater Transparency for Elected Official Travel and Extend Youth Tobacco Laws to E-Cigarettes
Peninsula Democrat Also Re-Introduces Bills That Would Ensure Judicious Use of Antibiotics in Livestock and Set Privacy Standards for Use of Automatic License Plate Readers
SACRAMENTO –Today, the first day of the California Legislature’s new session, Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo/Santa Clara counties, introduced five bills covering a range of issues, including consumer protection, greater transparency of travel by elected officials and privacy safeguards.
SB 18 – PG&E Penalty: Gas Pipeline Improvement and Safety Funding
Would require that the bulk of the proposed $1.4 billion fine against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for the deadly 2010 San Bruno explosion is spent on pipeline improvements and related safety measures, instead of going to the state’s General Fund. Under the fine as proposed by the CPUC, only $400 million would go for pipeline improvements, about $50 million would be allotted to enhance pipeline safety and $950 million would go to the state General Fund. The $950 million could be spent in other regions of the state, but that allocation would come at the expense of customers in PG&E’s service area, who already are expected to face $12 billion in rate hikes to pay for PG&E’s work to bring its pipeline system up to modern standards. SB 18 would prevent customers from bearing even more costs related to pipeline modernization and safety measures and promote continued focus on pipeline safety improvements in two ways: The bill would establish an independent monitor, who would oversee PG&E’s use of customers’ money for safety upgrades, and it would fund a pipeline safety trust for California – a similar entity was created in Washington state after a deadly pipeline disaster in 1999.
SB 21 – Transparency for Public Officials’ Travel
Would require elected officials to disclose to the FPPC the destination of travel paid for by special interests. Would also require nonprofits that pay for travel by public officials to disclose to the FPPC the name of the donors responsible for funding the travel. Under current law, the public has no way of knowing who is paying for legislator travel or where they are going. Donors hide behind nonprofits, preventing the public from knowing who was behind the gift to the elected official. An analysis by the Sacramento Bee found that California lawmakers received more than $550,000 in travel-related expenses from outside organizations in 2013. This is a reintroduction of a portion of SB 831 from the 2014 legislative session, which was vetoed by the governor.
SB 24 – E-Cigarette Youth Protections
Would extend youth tobacco laws – known as the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act – to e-cigarettes. In order to prevent poisoning, the bill would also require that e-cigarette liquids be equipped with child proof caps. Under current law, California’s laws that prevent youth access to cigarettes and tobacco do not apply to e-cigarettes. New numbers from the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey indicate a rise in the use of e-cigarettes by youth. For example, the percentage of high school students who said they had used an e-cigarette within the last 30 days jumped to 4.5%, up from 2.8% in 2012. According to recent news reports, as the popularity of e-cigarettes has grown, reports of nicotine poisonings from children ingesting e-cigarette liquids has grown as well. In 2012 there were 28 calls to California Poison Control System for nicotine poisoning, in 2013 there were 106 calls, and so far this year there have been 203 calls.
SB 27 – Judicious Use of Antibiotics in Livestock
Would implement first-in-the-nation laws to ensure the judicious use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry. The bill would require a veterinarian prescription for any antibiotic administered to livestock or poultry, would ban the use of antibiotics to promote growth or increase feed inefficiency, would require the California Department of Food and Agriculture to develop antibiotic stewardship guidelines, and would require the department to also develop a system to accurately track and monitor the amount of antibiotics used in livestock and poultry. Misuse and overuse of antibiotics are significant contributors to antibiotic resistance, a growing public health threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every year resistance to antibiotics kills at least 23,000 Americans and infects 2 million. Because at least 70 percent of antibiotics are sold for use in livestock, it’s important to ensure that those antibiotics are used judiciously to help reduce antibiotic resistance. This bill is similar to Senator Hill’s SB 835 from last year, which was vetoed by the governor.
SB 34 – Standards for Automatic License Plate Readers
Media Contacts:Aurelio Rojas, 916-747-3199 cell; Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404 cell