2016 Bills Authored by Senator Ben Allen
SB 254, Citizens United
This legislation places an advisory measure on the November 2016 ballot urging Congress to seek to amend the United States Constitution to overturn the Citizens United decision. Since the Citizens United ruling was handed down by the United States Supreme Court in 2010, campaign spending by Super PACs – the organizations whose contribution limits were lifted – has reached more than $1 billion.
SB 450, Elections reform
This measure will transform the way elections are conducted by replacing traditional neighborhood polling places with centralized vote centers and ballot drop-off spots that would be open 10 days before Election Day, including weekends. In addition, every registered voter would receive a mail-in ballot, which could be returned by mail or dropped off at the new vote centers. Similar changes in Colorado have dramatically increased voter participation in that state.
SB 773, Vehicular air pollution
Drivers who bypass the Smog Check program by failing to register their vehicle have major air quality impacts, but California lacks meaningful data on the scope and magnitude of the problem. SB 773 will provide critical information related to unregistered vehicles and policy suggestions on how best to remedy the situation by requesting the University of California to conduct a study of the problem.
SB 778, Motor oil
This bill will save drivers money and reduce unnecessary oil waste by requiring automotive repair dealers to follow the oil drain interval specified in a vehicle owner’s manual when recommending the date or mileage for the next oil change on the window sticker or by other means. Reducing oil waste will lower the amount of oil polluting our waterways and degrading air quality.
SB 888, Underground gas leaks
In response to the methane gas leak at Porter Ranch, SB 888 will improve coordination among the seven state agencies responding to future leaks by designating the Office of Emergency Services as the lead agency. It also requires that the fines paid by the party responsible for the leak are used to mitigate the environmental impacts of the leak, and are not passed on to ratepayers.
SB 916, Theatre and Dance Act
California is one of only two states that does not issue teaching credentials in theatre or dance. Persons wishing to teach these subjects are required to obtain a credential in English or Physical Education, respectively, even though the training for theatre and dance is unrelated to these subjects. Recognizing the importance of the visual and performing arts to students’ education and the economy, SB 916 creates single-subject credentials for theatre and for dance.
SB 933, Teacher training and mentorship
This bill addresses the teacher shortage by providing funds for local school districts to recruit, train, and retain teachers through teacher residency and mentoring programs. Enrollment in teacher preparation programs at state universities has plunged 75% from 2001 to 2014. Studies show that teachers enrolled in residency programs are 50% more likely to stay in the profession.
SB 1038, Tuberculosis testing
This legislation will help alleviate the shortage of tuberculosis tests by eliminating universal tuberculosis testing for community college employees, and instead conducting tests only when indicated as necessary by a screening.
SB 1043, Biogas
This bill will lower the harmful environmental impacts of the natural gas sector. It requires the Air Resources Board to adopt policies to increase the production and use of renewable, less carbon intensive gas, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help California comply with climate change goals.
SB 1083, Oil spills
In response to lessons learned from the 2015 Refugio oil spill, SB 1083 requires the Office of Spill Prevention and Response to add a communications element to the state’s Oil Spill Contingency Plan, ensuring local communities have timely and accurate information about oil spills, including information about who the responsible party is.
SB 1107, Campaign finance
In 1988, voters enacted Proposition 73, which banned public financing of campaigns. SB 1107 would repeal this ban, authorizing public financing to be adopted by the state or local governments.
SB 1108, Local redistricting commissions
This bill would authorize counties or charter cities to establish an independent redistricting commission to draw the boundaries of supervisorial or city council districts. Under current law, local redistricting commissions must be advisory only.
SB 1114, Sustainable Swordfish and Marine Life Protection Act
This bill will clean up the most harmful fishing industry on the West Coast and save marine life by transitioning the swordfish industry away from drift gillnets to more sustainable technology. Hundreds of sea turtles, sharks, whales and other marine life are injured or killed in these damaging nets every year.
SB 1161, Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act
Recently discovered documents show that many of the world's largest fossil fuel companies knowingly worked to deceive the public about the realities and risks of climate change for decades, despite detailed knowledge about the impact their product was having on the climate. SB 1161 creates a one-time, four-year window in which legal actions may be brought against companies over climate change deception.
SB 1214, University of California contracting
This bill will enable the University of California to save money and time on construction projects by authorizing the use of “best value” bids for construction contracts.
SB 1215, California Aerospace Commission
Aerospace is a major industry in California, but there is no official state entity responsible for coordinating and developing state policy affecting this industry. SB 1215 will establish the California Aerospace Commission to fill this void in state government.
SB 1260, Stormwater compliance
This bill will help cities comply with new stormwater discharge standards by requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to establish an online resource center containing information about programs and funding available for stormwater pollution reduction.
SB 1282 (Leno/Allen), Pollinator Protection Act
In 2015, California beekeepers lost a staggering 40 percent of their hives. Research confirms that toxic neonicotinoid pesticides kill and harm bees, which poses a serious threat to the food system which relies on bees for pollination. SB 1282 requires labels on any plants or seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides so that the public can make an informed choice when purchasing products that have been treated with a pesticide harmful to bees.
SB 1408, Organ donation
This bill saves the lives of HIV-positive persons who need organ transplants by removing the prohibition on organ donation by HIV-positive persons to other HIV-positive persons.
SB 7X, Transit funding
This bill will increase funding for public transit projects by raising the incremental sales tax rate on diesel fuel.