Published : Thursday, August 11, 2016 | 1:52 PM
Three of Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bills cleared the California State Senate Appropriations Committee today. The legislation, Assembly Bill 1696, which helps California’s neediest residents quit smoking; Assembly Bill 2148, which protects wildlife from drones; and Assembly Bill 2364 that strengthens dual enrollment all passed the key committee and now head to the Senate Floor. In addition, Assembly Concurrent Resolution 158 that would help students transfer credits between California universities also passed.
Assembly Bill 1696 requires tobacco cessation medications, counseling, and assessments to be covered for Medi-Cal patients. Besides the detrimental health effects, smoking takes an $18.1 billion toll on California annually, according to a University of California, San Francisco study.
“Smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of the death in the United States” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “We have an opportunity to save lives and money with this bill.”
Assembly Bill 2148 provides the National Resources Agency the ability to develop regulations regarding drone use on publically managed lands. Recent incidents have shown that drone use in close proximity to wildlife can have serious impacts. Assembly Bill 2148 strives to create a cohesive, statewide system of rules governing the use of unmanned drones on public lands. The regulations can include conditional use or outright prohibitions when necessary to protect the safety of wildlife, natural habitats or visitors.
“There’s no denying the rapidly increasing number of drones in public spaces,” said Holden. “Now is the time to take preventative steps to protect California’s wildlife and natural habitats before it becomes a problem.”
Assembly Bill 2364 would provide Californian’s undocumented high school students’ equal right to access higher education opportunities. Earlier this year, California’s legislature passed SB 75 that expanded Medi-Cal to all undocumented students under the age of 19 in California public schools. AB 2364 seeks to continue the legislature’s commitment to bring greater equity and fairness to all Californians.
“Every child in California should have the opportunity to access our high quality education system,” said Holden. “This bill strengthens previous dual enrollment legislation by ensuring greater equity and access.”
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 158 would help students transfer credits from one public California university to another. Streamlining the transfer process enables students to graduate faster and acquire less debt. Currently credits do not transfer from one CSU to another or one UC to another if a students has not completed 2 full years with 60 credits.