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February 28, 2007

For More Information, Contact:
Paige Schoknecht at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Senate President pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) announced that he has appointed State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) to three key posts: as Chair of the newly formed Senate Select Committee on Privacy; as a member of the State Allocation Board; and as a member of the State Coastal Conservancy.

Simitian said he was “gratified” by the appointments.  “It allows me,” he said, “an even greater opportunity to have an impact on the privacy, education and environmental issues that are of importance to my district and the state.”

The newly created Senate Select Committee on Privacy will initially focus on consumer privacy, particularly the rapidly growing problem of identity theft as well as the privacy implications of emerging technologies.  The Committee will hold hearings throughout the state aimed at balancing legitimate competing interests, encouraging meaningful industry self-regulation, and empowering consumers with notification and choice. 

Simitian also plans to devote meetings to reviewing the effectiveness of his AB 700, “security breach legislation,” legislation that requires businesses and government agencies to notify consumers in the event that their personal information has been compromised.  More than half the states in the nation have followed California’s lead on this issue; and federal legislation modeled on California’s is currently under consideration in Congress.

In announcing Simitian’s appointments, Senator Perata noted, “Senator Simitian’s body of legislative work protecting consumer privacy makes him an ideal candidate to find common sense solutions to this important and complex issue.  He is the right person to bring consumers, business, and government agencies together to ensure that our information is managed appropriately in a digital age.”

Simitian was also appointed to the State Allocation Board, which oversees the distribution of billions of dollars for the construction and modernization of local public school facilities. 

“The State Allocation Board plays a key role in funding sorely needed school construction and modernization projects,” noted State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell.  “I know Senator Simitian will work hard to ensure that we build schools that are environmentally friendly and appropriate to prepare students for success in the 21st Century.”

“Senator Simitian has proven to be an effective advocate for education as a member of the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education,” said Michael Watkins, Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools.  “He will bring with him to the State Allocation Board his understanding of the complex issues of school facilities and accountability.  His experience will help move the State Allocation Board forward.”

“I am so pleased and heartened by Senator Simitian’s appointment,” said Dr. Colleen B. Wilcox, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. “The work of the State Allocation Board is crucial to our efforts to place students in an environment that encourages and enhances learning. Joe has demonstrated time and again his dedication to the idea that all of California’s students deserve a quality education. I have no doubt he will continue to bring that idea to fruition in this new role.”

Perata also appointed Simitian as a member of the State Coastal Conservancy, which partners with local entities to protect and restore access to California’s coastal resources, including San Francisco Bay.  Established in 1976, the Coastal Conservancy works to protect and improve California’s coastline by bringing government, citizens and the private sector together to find creative preservation solutions. 

“We are delighted to have Senator Simitian on our oversight board,” said State Coastal Conservancy Executive Officer Sam Schuchat. “The Coastal Conservancy has a long history of projects in Senator Simitian’s district, and the Senator has a long-standing interest in coastal conservation.  I expect a very productive partnership.”

Simitian is the author of several coastal protection laws, including the creation of the strongest set of standards in the nation for aquaculture (commonly known as “fish farming”), as well as laws protecting California’s waters from invasive species in ballast water and the dumping of waste from cruise ships.  Simitian regularly receives 100% on legislative scorecards from the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), the Sierra Club, and Vote the Coast.