Published : Friday, June 3, 2016 | 10:58 AM
Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bills to create low cost transit passes for low income students, AB 2222; help Californians quite smoking , AB 1696; streamline dual enrollment, AB 2364; support families providing foster care, AB 2552; and protect children with autism, AB 1715, all passed the Assembly Floor this week. The legislation now heads to the Senate policy committees.
AB 2222 will create low cost transportation passes for California’s low income students. The cost of getting to and from school is adding more pressure to the already skyrocketing cost of receiving a quality education. AB 2222 will provide safe, reliable and low cost means for California students to get to class, reduce our state’s greenhouse gas emissions, and develop lifelong ridership habits among California’s high school and college students.
AB 1696 will require tobacco cessation medications, counseling, and assessments to be covered for Medi-Cal patients. Smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of the death in the United States. California spends $3.5 billion each year treating tobacco-related diseases through Medi-Cal. AB 1696 will help Californians quit smoking and avoid a lifetime of health problems, while saving millions in health care costs each year.
AB 2552 will provide a clothing allowance for foster children placed in families that are receiving support through the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program (ARC). While most foster youth qualify for the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care funds, relatives caring for children under ARC still do not receive funding equal to what they would receive with a non-relative placement. AB 2552 will allow a family receiving support through ARC to also receive a $240 per year clothing allowance.
AB 2364 will improve the 2015 dual enrollment reforms established by AB 288 (Holden). Under current law certain nonresident high school students, who would otherwise qualify for in-state tuition rates upon high school graduation, are charged the nonresident tuition fee. This policy discourages student participation in dual enrollment opportunities. AB 2364 will remove these barriers from dual enrollment programs, and provides incentives for the community colleges to work with school districts to create dual enrollment partnerships.
AB 1715 will protect children with autism and other individuals receiving behavior analytic services by requiring only qualified professionals to provide this vulnerable population with the quality care they need. At present no state entity has the authority to regulate behavior analysis directly. AB 1715 will create a regulatory structure to license behavior analysis professionals under the existing Board of Psychology, in order to enforce the Behavior Analyst Act.