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December 23, 2008

For More Information, Contact:
Hema Sareen Mohan (650) 688-6384


PALO ALTO – As Californians usher in the New Year, they will find new protections for many including victims of sexual abuse, veterans and seniors.  The protections will come from laws that State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) authored and will take effect on January 1, 2009.  The following are among the 14 bills that Simitian received signatures on this fall from the Governor.

SB 640 - Protecting childhood victims of sexual abuse
SB 640 is designed to close a loophole in the law that currently prevents victims of childhood sexual abuse from seeking justice later in life, and which inadvertently creates an incentive for school districts and other public agencies to look the other way in cases of sexual misconduct by their staff.  Complete press release.

SB 1401 – Helping veterans with traumatic brain injury
SB 1401 will create outreach programs for veterans to learn about and seek treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ensuring that service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are aware of the causes, symptoms, impacts and treatment options for these injuries.  SB 1401 was proposed by Dr. Jerome V. Blum of Los Altos, a former Navy doctor, and was a winning entry in Simitian’s annual ‘There Oughta Be A Law’ contest, which invites Californians to submit ideas for new state legislation.  Complete press release.

SB 1400 – Outlawing deceptive sweepstakes practices
SB 1400 is the first significant attempt in a decade to strengthen California’s consumer protections against deceptive sweepstakes practices that prey on the most vulnerable Californians, particularly senior citizens. SB 1400 was proposed by Lisa Conrad of Menlo Park and was also a winning entry in Simitian’s annual ‘There Oughta Be A Law’ contest.  Complete press release.

SB 1311 - Expanding loan program for small businesses
SB 1311 will make more loans available for small businesses to grow their business by restructuring the state’s existing small business loan program known as the California Capital Access Program (CalCAP).  SB 1311 will free up more money for CalCAP to insure additional loans.  Complete press release.

SB 28 – Prohibiting texting while driving
SB 28 prohibits motorists from writing, sending or reading a text-based communication while driving. Simitian is also the author of SB 1613, which requires all California drivers using their cell phones to use a hands-free device; and SB 33, which bans the use of “mobile service devices” (e.g., cell phones, pagers, PDAs and text-messaging devices) by drivers under the age of 18.  Complete press release.

SB 509 – Furthering California’s “green chemistry” efforts
SB 509 establishes the Toxics Information Clearinghouse to allow consumers, businesses, and workers to gain knowledge about the chemicals in their workplaces, homes and daily lives.  This measure is the foundation for the State’s newly launched Green Chemistry Initiative, the most comprehensive in the nation, to establish a scientific-based process to evaluate chemicals and alternatives. Complete press release.

SB 1399 – Settling the “trees vs. solar” debate
SB 1399 addresses the contentious issue of “trees versus solar power,” which drew international attention earlier this year when two Sunnyvale homeowners were criminally prosecuted because their trees cast shade on their neighbor’s solar panels.  Among other things, SB 1399 protects trees and shrubs planted before the installation of a solar collector; eliminates criminal prosecution as a penalty for violation of the California Solar Shade Control Act; and makes it easier for local communities to adopt and enforce their own local ordinances. Complete press release.

This fall, Simitian was recognized by The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert as one of the state’s most prolific legislators.  Simitian sent 20 bills to the Governor, and while the average number of bills signed for Democratic lawmakers was 7, Simitian had 14 bills signed into law this year.