POLITICAL LANDSCAPE:

In an attempt to meet the needs of those at risk for breast cancer, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, whose district includes a portion of Montrose, sponsored a bill that would help more women receive detection screenings.

Assembly Bill 2234, co-introduced by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk of Davis, requires California's health insurance companies to include more women in the breast-screening process.

Nearly 20,000 women in California are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, Portantino said, and that motivated him to support a bill that seeks to update screening methods.

The bill Portantino supports seeks to expand the processes by which women are allowed to receive a mammogram to include those with a personal history of breast cancer, women with multiple relatives who have breast cancer and women who have had radiation exposure to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30.

“The concern was that women in their 40s were going in for their 1st mammogram,” Portantino said.

“This focus was on age and not the risk factors associated with breast cancer. If you're 25 and had a chest x-ray when your 10, your doctor should be able to prescribe [a mammogram].”

“Early detection of breast cancer is our best defense against breast cancer.”

Under current law, insurance companies are required to pay for a mammogram when an insured customer is 35 years old.

At 40, a patient is eligible for a mammogram every other year until they are 50, at which point mammograms are to be paid for every year.

The bill is now undergoing a health benefits mandate review by the California Health Benefits Review Program, as required by law.

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Scott keeps pushing for new legislation

State Sen. Jack Scott, whose district includes Burbank and Glendale, continued to work for the passage of two education-related bills.

The bills are part of a package of more than 25 bills that Scott, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, is sponsoring for the 2008 legislative session.

Senate Bill 890 would establish a road map for middle school students and their families to prepare for college.

“If you don't learn about college before you get to high school, it's almost too late,” Scott spokeswoman Wendy Gordon said.

The bill is aimed at low-income schools whose students might not have felt they had a chance to attend college and asks students to sign a pledge that they will meet all high school graduation requirements, take some college preparatory and career technical classes, and seek information on ways to apply for financial aid, she said.

The bill was introduced in 2007 and has passed the State Senate. It now awaits passage in the Assembly.

Another bill seeks to allow community colleges providing courses to inmates in California's correctional facilities to receive full reimbursement for those classes.

Senate Bill 430 closes a loophole that did not allow colleges to claim funding for courses offered in state correctional facilities, Gordon said.

Under current law, colleges are allowed to claim only partial funding for credit courses, she said.

Inmates who participated in postsecondary correctional education had a recidivism rate of 22%, while those not participating had a recidivism rate of 41%, according to Scott, former president of Pasadena City College.

The average yearly cost to incarcerate a state prison inmate was more than $43,200 in 2006-07, he said.

Like the early-commitment-to-education bill, the prison education bill was passed by the Senate last year and is awaiting a possible spring passage in the Assembly.

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Krekorian to host student film festival

Assemblyman Paul Krekorian will hold the first FilmFest 43 on May 16 at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., in Glendale.

The festival will feature work from students who go to school in Krekorian's 43rd Assembly District, which includes Glendale and Burbank.

Students are invited to submit original films that are less than 35 minutes of any genre, including narrative, documentary, animation and experimental.

All submissions must be directed, produced, photographed and edited by the student, and submissions must be accompanied by a synopsis of 50 words or less and a complete and accurate list of credits.

Films produced by students who graduated in 2007 may be submitted for consideration if they were completed before August 2007.

The submission deadline is April 18. For more information and an official application, call (818) 240-6330 or visit www.assembly.ca.gov/ krekorian.


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