State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) have officially completed their first sessions in their new legislative roles, authoring a number of bills that could have local and statewide impacts.
Portantino, elected in November to represent the 25th state Senate district, wrapped up his time in Sacramento with seven bills awaiting the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown as well as seeing passage of three of his Senate resolutions.
"It was challenging and exciting," Portantino said. "I'm proud that I was able to focus on issues that I ran on, especially my work on K-12 education."
Of Portantino's bills sitting on Brown's desk, three directly involve education, such as SB 478, which aims to streamline the way community colleges award degrees so students receive them immediately after they have completed the requirements.
Portantino said he didn't expect the rejection in the state Senate of his SB 328, which would have required middle and high schools to begin the school day no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
"I was surprised that [opponents] worked against me on the well-being of children," he said.
Portantino's state Senate resolutions included the naming of a portion of the Ventura (134) Freeway to be the President Barack H. Obama Highway, a commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and requiring Caltrans to install signs directing drivers on the Foothill (210) Freeway to the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial.
Friedman, elected in November to represent the 43rd Assembly district, also finished her inaugural year with a number of Assembly bills on Brown's desk. However, her ability to help possibly secure $20 million toward the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk project, as part of SB 5, was perhaps the highlight.
Should the bill pass, the funds will support the final phase of a years-long effort to link the Riverwalk and Glendale Bikeway system to the Los Angeles bike trail and Griffith Park via a bridge across the L.A. River.
"We have a hundred thousand residents who live within one mile of the proposed bridge site. Right now, those people can't get to Griffith Park without having to get on the 134 Freeway or detouring," she said. "This is going to give people a safe way to get into the park."
Recently, the California legislature passed Friedman's bill to enact tougher penalties for reckless driving, especially when associated with street racing. AB 1393 sets a 30-day impound penalty for cars connected with illegal street racing or reckless driving after the second or subsequent offense.
“This is not a slam dunk to be signed, so I would suggest to people who think this is a good step to help with our reckless driving, that they take it upon themselves to send a letter or email or call to Gov. Brown’s office.”
Brown has until Oct. 15 to sign or veto bills.
For a complete list of Assembly bills authored or co-authored by Friedman, visit bit.ly/2xly8ip.
For a complete list of state Senate bills authored or co-authored by Portantino, visit bit.ly/2fnrC47.