April 23, 2014

SF Bay Area PSR monitors what’s going on legislatively in Sacramento. We’ve weighed in on a range of bills related to our mission to protect human health and the health of the planet.  They include SB 1132 which calls for a moratorium on fracking until health consequences are studied, SB 1000 which requires health warning labels on all sugar sweetened drinks, and AB 1964 which will ensure that all handguns purchased through a dealer are handguns which meet all safety and firing tests.  For more details on these bills and others that we’re watching closely, see below.

SUPPORT

SB 53 (De Leon) Gun control.  SB 53 provides that ammunition vendors must be licensed through the state Department of Justice so that law enforcement will know who is selling ammunition in California; requires a one-time background check to ensure that ammunition will not be purchased by dangerous criminals; and, requires that ammunition vendors submit records of ammunition purchases to the Department of Justice so that dangerous illegally armed people buying – or attempting to buy – ammunition can be identified and disarmed.

SB 808 (De Leon) Gun control. Requires firearms made by individuals be registered through the Department of Justice and be identified with a serial number. Prior to issuing the serial number, the Department would require the applicant to pass a background check and would keep a record of the firearm.

SB 1000 (Monning) Warning labels on sodas.  Requires soda warning label: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

SB 1019 (Leno) Flame retardant labeling. Requires upholstered-furniture manufacturers to warn consumers if products contain added flame retardant chemicals, using a specified statement on a label.  Signs at retail stores would also be required. Additionally, the agency regulating these products would be given authority to cite and penalize anyone who misrepresents whether a piece of upholstered furniture contains any of these dangerous chemicals.

SB 1014 (Jackson) Stewardship of unwanted drugs. As amended, SB 1014 will reinstate model take-back program guidelines, developed by CalRecycle, for local governments wanting to create their own drug take-back programs, so that efforts to ensure safe disposal of unwanted prescription drugs that people have in their homes can continue at the local level. Senator Jackson is considering how to move forward with legislation next year that will create a mandatory statewide drug take-back program.

SB 1132 (Mitchell, Leno) Fracking moratorium. Calls for a moratorium on fracking and well stimulation until a Natural Resources Agency study of the effects of these processes on public health and the environment is complete and the governor’s office has determined that specific measures are in place to ensure that there is no health risk to the public posed by these processes.

SB 1381 (Evans) GMO labeling. Requires the labeling of genetically engineered foods to ensure right-to-know for California food consumers.

SB 1405 (DeSaulnier) Pesticides in schools.  Updates and strengthens the Healthy Schools Act of 2000 by improving schools’ and child day care facilities’ reporting requirements when pesticides are going to be applied, and by requiring that all applicators who apply pesticides on school grounds be trained in Integrated Pest Management, a least toxic approach to pest control.

SB 1411 (Jackson) Pesticide applications. Would help reduce pesticide exposure and its adverse effects among agricultural workers, children and vulnerable groups, including minority and low-income communities. Among other things, this bill requires pesticide applicators to notify nearby residents and schools of impending pesticide applications, authorizes county agricultural commissioners to enact buffer zones for entire classes of harmful pesticides around schools, and requires that existing field postings regarding pesticide applications include the date and time in which people can safely re-enter fields.

AB 1437 (Mullin) Antibiotic Use in Animal Feed and Water. Would help protect public health by making sure that antibiotics are used appropriately for treatment of sick farm animals. Also requires reporting of antibiotic use, which will allow the state to track changes in antibiotic use and better understand antibiotic-resistance trends. SF Bay PSR is also in discussion with State Senator Jerry Hill’s office about another bill (SB 835) addressing antibiotics in animal agriculture in California.

AB 1504 (Stone) Single-use toxic cigarette filters. Would ban the sale of cigarettes with toxic single-use filters, which currently end up in marine and urban environments where they may be ingested by children or wildlife, contaminate fragile ecosystems, and cost local governments taxpayer dollars. Studies point to the ineffectiveness of these filters at reducing harm to smokers.

AB 1964 (Dickinson) Gun control. Currently, the Unsafe Handgun Law allows any person to purchase an “unsafe handgun” if it was modified to be a single shot weapon, prior to the buyer taking delivery. Buyers have learned that it’s easy to undo the conversion of a semi-automatic handgun to a single shot handgun, and return the weapon to its original illegal configuration. AB 1964 will eliminate the “single shot” exemption to purchasing an “unsafe handgun.” AB 1964 will ensure that all handguns purchased through a dealer are handguns which meet all safety and firing tests and contain all state-required handgun safety features.

OPPOSE

AB 2361 (Jones) Limits enforcement of Prop 65. Creates a “right to cure” Prop 65 violations for businesses with 10-25 employees with minimal monetary penalty, thereby creating a financial disincentive to comply and a de facto exemption from Prop 65 prohibitions and mandates.