Assemblymember Olsen Discusses Upcoming Legislative Goals

Courtesy of Assemblymember Kristin Olsen

Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) introduced a series of her 2015 legislative goals that include solutions to meeting the economic needs of the Central Valley, bolstering education, and improving government transparency and reliability.

"My bills are focused on promoting economic vitality, providing every child access to a top-quality education, and making government more reliable and efficient,” said Olsen.

“I am also looking forward to working on legislation with my colleagues in the newly-formed Central Valley Caucus,” said Olsen. “Together, we will be working hard to advance bipartisan solutions on issues related to water, higher education, and ADA reform.”

Relating to ADA lawsuit reform, AB 54 is geared toward reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits while still requiring businesses to comply with accessibility laws is intended to help small businesses by providing a 60-day window to fix alleged violations of a construction-related accessibility standard, if the standard related to the alleged violation has changed within three years. AB 54 has been co-authored by each member of the Central Valley Caucus.

Olsen’s bill, AB 323, Remove Sunset on CEQA Exemption for Minor Roadway Safety Projects would allow the continued streamlined process brought by her 2012 bill, AB 890, that created a statutory exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for cities or counties with populations under 100,000 that need to make minor roadway repairs to improve safety.

AB 604 regarding electrically-motorized skateboards would add them to the Vehicle Code, and allow them to be used as an alternative mode of transportation. Local government entities would be authorized to adopt rules and regulations relating to use on bike paths and roadways.

AB 1078 was introduced to ensure students are being taught by effective teachers. The bill supports teachers by providing them with annual feedback to helps fine-tune their professional skills and improving both job satisfaction and student academic performance. AB 1078 expands evaluation categories from two to four, and gives enforcement authority to the Department of Education if a school district fails to comply with evaluation laws.

AB 1099 would require schools to disclose anonymous and high-level teacher quality metrics and school funding priorities; the bill would allow parents to engage with schools on a more active basis. The School District Budget Reserve Cap bill, AB 1318, would allow school districts to manage their own finances, and save funds for local education priorities and emergency needs.

Through an application process, AB 1161 would establish a pilot program in five counties for high-quality preschool education for low-income and English-learner students to be funded through private investments in exchange for state tax credits.

Amending the State Constitution, ACA 1, Olsen’s Three Days in Print bill, is aimed at increasing transparency in the Legislature. It would require that all bills be in print and available online for at least 72-hours before any legislative action may be taken.

In response to Olsen’s audit request that was approved last year, the State Auditor recently released a report on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) implementation of a technology system called BreEZe for state licensing procedures, which left the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) unable to meet the licensing needs of thousands of nurses and nursing school graduates.

The BreEZe project was intended to cover 37 boards and bureaus under DCA, but, according to Olsen, the remaining 19 boards will not use the system after project costs nearly tripled to $93 million.

Olsen and Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) plan to work together to craft legislation requiring DCA to provide annual reports to the Legislature on its plan for remaining program implementations, the results of any cost-benefit analysis it conducted during the decision-making process for the remaining boards, and a description of anticipated efficiencies resulting from the BreEZe program.

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