Skip to content

December 27, 2011

For More Information, Contact:
Lisa Gardiner (916) 651-4011 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


SACRAMENTO – On issues ranging from clean energy to elder abuse and from drug abuse to consumer protection, these bills authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) will become law on or by January 1:

SB 2X: Establishing California as a Leader in Renewable Energy
Senate Bill 2X requires private and public utilities to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable resources – such as solar, wind, and geothermal – by 2020. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has called SB 2X a “groundbreaking piece of legislation that would put California at the forefront of the clean-energy economy.” (For technical reasons, SB 2X became law on December 10, 2011.)

SB 514: Curbing ‘Robotripping’ Abuse
This bill makes California the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. DXM can cause a life-threatening high, and the act of abusing is commonly known as “robotripping.”  Starting January 1, store clerks must check ID to ensure that no one under 18 purchases these medications. This bill was a winning submission in Simitian’s 2004 “There Oughta Be a Law” contest. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 36: Boosting Kids’ Health Insurance Coverage
This legislation enables counties to better cover the growing number of California children without health insurance by changing income-based eligibility limits for county health initiatives. This allows counties to tap additional federal funds at no cost to the state. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 226: Streamlining Environmental Review for Infill and Renewable Energy Projects
This bill streamlines the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process for infill development and renewable energy projects while maintaining important environmental safeguards. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 33: Preventing Elder Financial Abuse
In 2005, Simitian authored the Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act, which required bank employees to notify authorities when financial elder abuse was suspected. In the first three years that the bill was enacted, California banks reported more than 26,000 cases of financial abuse of elders to authorities. Originally set to expire in 2013, this year’s SB 33 puts the Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act into law permanently. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 24: Strengthening Consumer Privacy Protection
Continuing Simitian’s longstanding commitment to consumer privacy protection, SB 24 strengthens and standardizes the notification requirements when someone’s personal information has been hacked into, stolen, or lost. The bill also requires state agencies, businesses and others to notify the Attorney General if more than 500 Californians are affected by a data breach, so law enforcement can zero in on patterns of identity theft. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 221: Expanding Consumer Access to Small Claims Court
This bill expands California consumers’ access to Small Claims Court, an efficient and cost-effective way to resolve minor disputes, by increasing the limit of damages from $7,500 to $10,000. This is a follow up to Simitian’s successful 2005 bill, which raised the previous limit from $5,000 to $7,500. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 445: Updating Privacy Protections for Library Patrons
This bill brings the law into the 21st century by extending library privacy protections to electronic content: online records, emails or other communications with library staff, computer research, social media communications and online courses. This bill was proposed by a Cupertino library law consultant, Mary Minow, in Simitian’s 2011 “There Oughta Be a Law” contest. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 164: Preserving Funding for Child Abuse Prevention and Endangered Species
Californians will now be able to continue making voluntary donations to two worthwhile causes when filing their tax returns. SB 164 reauthorizes two popular tax check-off funds (authorized by Simitian’s previous legislation in 2007), the State Children’s Trust Fund for the Prevention of Child Abuse and the Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program, until January 1, 2018. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 506: Spurring Investment in California Bonds
To correspond with changing practices in the bond market, this bill updates laws allowing the use of registered warrants to pay an existing tax liability. This gives California corporations additional investment opportunities and the state additional investors, a win-win for California taxpayers and businesses. (Becomes law on January 1, 2012.)

SB 225: Expanding Small Business Loan Program
This bill expands the California Capital Access Program (CalCAP), a loan insurance program which encourages banks to make loans to small businesses that fall just outside of their normal underwriting standards. SB 225 allows small trucking companies to access the financing they need to make fleet upgrades that improve air quality. (Became law on October 6, 2011.)

For more information, visit