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Commerce Legislative Update From Cristina Garcia

 

By Tammye McDuff

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia took the time to thank the Commerce City Council for their leadership in ‘taking a leap of faith’ and addressing the issues with the Department of Toxic Substances in cleaning up local areas in question.  The city has been flexible in making sure that the Council takes the lead and cooperates fully in testing’s and ensuring safe communities.

Garcia stated she had a busy year with seven ethics bills being introduced.  “All seven made it to the Governor’s desk” quoted Garcia “And five of those bills were signed.” One of which was the AB 15-96 vote by mail, the winner of ‘There Ought To Be A Law’ contest stating that there is a removal of a middle man of the vote by mail, and all votes are sent directly to the clerk’s office, thereby hopefully removing tampering with votes and making it a more efficient process.

Another such bill Garcia addressed refers to campaign monies and funding. Garcia stated “I know you guys often think all we do [the state level legislators] is come at you [the local level city council] without looking at ourselves in the mirror, but I want to assure you that we are doing our part to check political correctness and spending.” If any legislator is found to be abusive with campaign funding and / or spending; and does not comply with strict standards, will come directly from each legislators personal finances.

Garcia went on to state that if a legislator is convicted of a bribe or felony, those finances must be paid from personal monies “The fines have been doubled, in some cases tripled,” commented Garcia.

“We have eliminated a loop hole” said Garcia, commenting that lobbyists have a set financial limit to spend on legislators, but there was no limit on private parties in personal homes or offices, also adding that private spending did not have to be reported. “That has been eliminated” said Garcia, all monies spent publically or privately on state legislators must be reported.

For working parents, a bill was signed stating that any day care facility that has been fined or investigated will have all transcripts and reports available on-line for public view and parental review.

“Moving forward,” says Garcia. “We have now opened our Teen Court, starting with Bell Gardens High School.  This gives students the opportunity to learn about the judicial process and offer troubled students and teens a second chance. The BGHS ASB president who is a Teen Court member is in attendance this evening, and I was very impressed by the questions that were asked during the first examination process,” adds Garcia.

The next Teen Court will be held at Downey Unified; Garcia notes that each High School in her district will participate in Teen Court before her term in office is complete.

The Young Legislative Program was kicked off for High School Seniors.  This offers participants the opportunity to participate in the legislative process with Garcia, leaning policy issues culminating with a visit to Sacramento and going through an actual hearing.