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2011 - 2012 Legislation
Assembly Member Norma J. Torres introduced 16 bills in 2011-12 legislative session.
As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, Assembly Member Torres focused her legislative efforts on increasing the supply of farmworker housing, addressing the special housing needs of the homeless population and strengthening the ability of homeowners' associations to serve their residential communities. Additionally, Assembly Member Torres championed legislation to improve educational opportunities for at-risk students, expand light rail service in the San Gabriel Valley and increase public safety.
Legislation Signed Into Law
Assembly Bill 840 – Increasing the Supply of Farmworker Housing
AB 840 will increase the supply of farmworker housing by addressing confusion related to local zoning requirements for employer-provided farmworker housing. The bill clarifies that cities and counties must treat employer-provided farmworker housing the same as other agricultural uses in any zone where agricultural uses are allowed. The change allows farmworker employers to build additional housing for farmworkers.
Assembly Bill 483 – Reducing Chronic Homelessness
AB 483 makes sure supportive housing units are available for chronically homeless individuals and youth aging out of the foster care system. The Multifamily Housing Program administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development funds the development of affordable housing for low-income households. AB 483 will ensure those housing funds are targeted to individuals who need supportive services and face severe barriers to housing, including foster youth, and will help reduce chronic homelessness.
Assembly Bill 169 – Improving Access to Federal Education Dollars for At-Risk Students
AB 169 ensures at-risk youth served by California's 58 County Offices of Education (COE) receive a fair share of federal educational funding to improve their learning opportunities and increase academic success outcomes. Many of the students served by COEs are considered to be at-risk with the greatest need for academic support. California receives federal education funding often times targeted towards at-risk students served by COEs. Yet given inconsistencies in existing law, County Offices of Education are in jeopardy of inadvertently losing out on allocation of those critical funds. AB 169 improves access to federal funds to support educational opportunities for at-risk youth.
Assembly Bill 665 – Strengthening Penalties on Peeping Toms
AB 665 increases penalties for criminals, "peeping toms", who violate an individual's right to privacy and improves public safety. The bill doubles jail time and fines for a second or subsequent "peeping tom" conviction and imposes a higher penalty for any violation where the victim is a minor. Invasion of privacy is a serious crime leaving victims, women in most instances, with deep emotional scars and psychological wounds. Increasingly "peeping toms" are using technology such as camera phones to peek into restrooms, dressing rooms or underneath a woman's clothing and violate an individual's privacy. AB 665 will help keep our communities safe and protects victims of crime by strengthening penalties against "peeping toms".
Assembly Bill 706 – Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority: Membership Clarification
AB 706 clarifies the membership of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Authority) by making it clear that city council members from cities along the light rail route can serve on the board. Currently, local elected officials from the cities of Azusa, Claremont, Duarte and Pasadena serve on the Authority board of directors. The clarification is needed to avoid a restructuring of the Authority's governing board which could lead to serious project delays and substantial cost increases. When completed, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension will offer an alternative transportation option to congested freeways, ease gridlock on roadways, and reduce air pollution. AB 706 will help create 7,000 jobs for the San Gabriel Valley and generate $735 million in economic activity.
Public Safety Legislation
Assembly Bill 543 – Restricting Sex Offenders' Use of Internet Sites
As internet use continues to increase among all age groups, more young people are frequenting popular social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace. AB 543, the Child Cyber Safety Act of 2011, protects minors from internet predators by banning sex offenders from joining social networking internet sites and imposes tough penalties for violators.
Assembly Bill 770 – 9-1-1 Dispatcher Standardized Training
AB 770 recognizes the crucial function 9-1-1 dispatchers perform in the public safety system. The bill will improve procedures for recruiting, training and ongoing skill development for 9-1-1 dispatchers to increase retention rates and improve emergency service to the public.
Assembly Bill 1043 – Sexting Prevention Act
AB 1043, the Sexting Prevention Act, addresses the growing issue and danger of teenage sexting. The bill creates a clear definition of sexting and establishes new avenues for the judicial system to address sexting by minors.
Assembly Bill 1153 – Sober and Independent Living Facilities
AB 1153 will strengthen standards for the operation of adult sober and independent living facilities to ensure quality and maintain safe communities. The bill will ensure local communities maintain their family friendly environment.
Assembly Concurrence Resolution 77 – Suicide Prevention Week
ACR 77 helps raise awareness of suicide as a public health issue by proclaiming the week of September 4 through September 10, 2011 as "Suicide Prevention Week". In conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Week, ACR 77 celebrates individuals and organizations working to prevent suicide and raises awareness of suicidal behaviors.
Economic Development Legislation
Assembly Bill 676 – State Route 71
AB 676 seeks to facilitate the completion of the State Route (SR) 71 (Chino Valley Freeway) Corridor Improvement Project. The SR 71 improvement project will widen the Chino Valley Freeway to three lanes in both directions increasing capacity and reducing congestion.
Assembly Bill 1185 – Vacant Retail Facilities
AB 1185 aims to spur economic activity in blighted areas across the state by facilitating the reuse of existing vacant retail facilities 60,000 square feet or smaller. The bill will allow existing retail facilities that maintain their current footprint and meet other conditions a narrow exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Assembly Bill 805 and 806 - Common Interest Developments: Statutory Rewrite
AB 805 and 806 will assist hundreds of homeowners associations around the state to understand and apply the governing law regulating organized homeowner communities. The bill rewrites and reorganizes the Davis Stirling Common Interest Development Act clarifying and simplifying the structure to make it user-friendly and easier to understand.
Assembly Bill 910 – Infrastructure Financing District
AB 910 authorizes an infrastructure financing district (IFD) to finance affordable housing facilities and economic development projects.
Assembly Bill 1275 –Redevelopment Agency Reform
AB 1275 clarifies the general powers of a redevelopment agency and provides that a contract that a redevelopment agency enters into can be declared null and void, by a court, if it violates the Community Redevelopment Law.