Hundreds of new laws took effect in California on New Year’s Day, bringing protections and regulations to many issue areas, from addressing some of the state’s educational needs and mental health to election reform and net neutrality. Here is a quick rundown of just some of the important, noteworthy laws that took effect, which Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva worked on and supported within the California State Legislature.
Assembly Bill (AB) 2698 will benefit children enrolled in the California State Preschool Program, and infants and toddlers in general child care and development programs, by increasing access to critical early childhood mental health consultation services. The law bars state-subsidized preschool programs from expelling children until they first take actions to support the child and family. “As a teacher of 30 years in Orange County, I was able to gain profound insight into the importance of meeting the needs of our young children and their families. Improving services to support early childhood education will always remain a priority,” said Quirk-Silva.
AB 1871 entails charter schools to provide students in need with one nutritional free or reduced-price meal, which will qualify for reimbursement under federal child nutrition program regulations, each school day. This exempts charter schools that only offer non-classroom-based or non-site-based instruction. Many charter schools do not provide meals to the children. For students who suffer from food insecurity, a guaranteed nutritional meal every day would make a world of difference and will help parents that might be struggling financially.
Homelessness & Mental Health
SB 1045 will allow San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles Counties to place in a conservatorship a person who is chronically homeless and incapable of caring for his or her own health and well-being due to serious mental illness and substance use disorder. “This is a pilot program, and we will look closely at the results.
“California must do more for the people on our streets that are in need of help. There is not one solution that will work, not one organization, nor just one local department that is needed to address the issue of homelessness and mental health,” said Quirk-Silva. “We must continue to examine every avenue of possible answers to the problem.”
SB 823 is a consumer safety measure to increase oversight of the addiction recovery industry with many diverse methods of treatment, and no current requirement for licensed facilities to use uniform, evidence-based standards of care.
The legislation requires the Department of Health Care Services to adopt the treatment criteria of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, or an equivalent evidence-based standard, as the threshold for care by licensed recovery or treatment facilities addressing adult alcoholism or drug abuse. The bill also requires that the licensees maintain the standards appropriate to their level of care.
SB 822 Under the law, internet service providers will not be allowed to block or slow specific types of content or applications, or charge apps, or company fees for faster access to customers.
“Without net neutrality, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) become gatekeepers of the web content that is available to customers,” said Quirk-Silva. “This could leave many small businesses without the ability to reach their customers, and many customers without the most favorable choices. Maintaining a competitive free market is essential to a healthy economic system that is unhindered by interference by large ISP corporations.”
AB 2941 allows health plans and insurance providers to authorize care by out-of-network providers and ease prescription requirements, among other changes, for those who lose their homes to emergencies. “This is a way to ensure that those displaced by a state of emergency, such as a wildfire or other natural disaster, have access to continuous health,” said Quirk-Silva.
AB 2188 is a campaign disclosure law that makes California a leader in the area of disclosure in online political ads. “In 2017, I coauthored AB 249 (the Disclose Act) which set the standard for campaign finance disclosure for print, television and radio ads. Special interest groups currently hide their true identity with names that seek to mislead voters,” said Quirk-Silva. “This mandates that the true funders of our campaigns are obvious to voters, and that Californians are made aware as to the true funders of the campaign messages, and brings the special interest groups out of the darkness, and into the light.”
Quirk-Silva Lead Authorship
Also, there are legislative highlights from the previous 2017-18 term that Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva authored in a range of issue areas; like public safety, veteran affairs, health and human services, education, environment, business incentives, and more. For more information, click here.
This article was released by the Office of Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.