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Newsom Signs Seven Portantino Bills Into Law

Published on Monday, October 18, 2021 | 5:00 am

Seven bills authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, have been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Signed by Newsom in September was Portantino’s Senate Bill (SB) 715, which enacts gun purchase safeguards and expands independent investigation in police shootings. The legislation was triggered by the officer-involved shooting death of Anthony McClain by Pasadena police in 2020 and the shooting in a Poway synagogue in 2019 that killed one woman and injured three others.

SB 715 allows state prosecutors to investigate police shootings resulting in death if there is reasonable dispute as to whether or not the civilian who was shot was armed. Prior to the bill’s passage, existing laws only allowed state prosecutors to investigate if police officers shot an indisputably unarmed civilian.

SB 715 also closes the loophole which allowed an underage shooter in the Poway shooting to buy the assault weapon that was used in the attack.

Newsom also signed Portantino’s SB 14 and SB 224 which expand educational opportunities for students and help address their mental health care needs.

SB 14 ensures that student absences due to behavioral health related concerns will be treated the same as excused absences for physical health concerns. Specifically, the law also requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to recommend best practices and evidence-based mental health training for teachers, staff, and students, on how to recognize, appropriately respond to, and seek help for mental health related concerns.

SB 224, meanwhile, requires local educational agencies and charter schools which currently offer courses in health education to middle or high school students to include mental health content in the courses they offer. The law also requires the CDE to develop a plan to expand mental health instruction in California public schools on or before Jan. 1, 2024.

Adding to Portantino’s list of approved bills is SB 381. This law provides protections for existing tenants, includes a strategy to protect historic homes, and gives the city of South Pasadena flexibility to create more affordable housing. Through the legislation, The city will be able to sell historical homes at fair market value and use the funds generated to reinvest in affordable housing. The measure requires that for every historical home that is sold, the city must create three affordable housing units.

Also signed this legislative session was SB 144 which allows for a $330 million investment in film and television production and studio construction. In addition to the monetary incentive, SB 144 includes a creative plan to increase diversity within the film and television production workforce. The law requires the diversity goal to be broadly reflective of California’s population, in terms of race and gender. An additional tax incentive is tied to meeting that goal.

Newsom has also signed Portantino’s SB 255, which prevents commercial freelance employees from losing their existing health insurance coverage as long as certain conditions are met and the insurance offered is comparable or better than platinum insurance found on the Exchange.

Also approved was SB 269 which updates provisions of the California Credit Union Law and increases parity between state law applicable to state-chartered credit unions and federal law applicable to federally chartered credit unions.

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