Sen. Leland Yee: Eleven Bills Signed into Law

As the legislative year winds down, it is a good time to take stock of the victories during the 2007 legislative session.

My first year in the Senate has been a good one, with 11 of my bills being signed by the governor and chaptered into law.

Senate Bill 190, one of my more high-profile efforts, will now require the pay packages of University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) executives be voted on in open meetings instead of decided in secrecy. In addition, the rationale for a pay increase must be disclosed to the public so we may better understand where our tax dollars are going.

This legislation will bring more sunshine to the process, and allow us to be better stewards of the UC and CSU budgets so we can be sure that resources are going to students, professors and staff instead of just executives.

In addition, the passage of SCR 52 allows UC workers a voice in the management of their pension plan, an act which is long overdue.

While I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish with our state's schools, I've also been able to work on legislation on a wide range of issues, including SB 523, which established a pilot program for a new way to collect child support payments from delinquent parents.

Judges now have the ability to order a parent to get a job at the time of the initial support hearing, which will force more deadbeat parents to do the right thing - to pay what they owe to provide for their child's well-being.

Senate Bill 916 will help cut down on overcrowding in our emergency rooms and keep our streets safer by expanding to 24 hours the amount of time someone who is a danger to themselves or others can be detained. The law allows for more competition between workers compensation insurers in order to provide better prices for workers, while SB 795 helps consumers increase the value of their cemetery trust funds by allowing trustees more flexibility.

In addition to these bills, our office has joined with local municipalities to craft legislation to help communities up and down the Peninsula.

Two bills came from this, one of them being SB 230, which granted the Broadmoor Police Department all the powers and obligations of municipal police force.

Also, SB 279 gives local law enforcement the right to tow cars left on state roads, such as 19th Avenue, Park Presidio Boulevard and El Camino Real. Millbrae has been pushing for this legislation for years, as El Camino Real, a major traffic artery, has turned into an impromptu used car lot, creating increased traffic and numerous safety hazards.

Finally, with the help of some dedicated activists in the 8th Senate District, I was able to pass four resolutions through the Senate, including SJR 5, which established California as the first state to get behind the Filipino Veterans Equity Act. The act would restore benefits promised to Filipino veterans of World War II.

As well, SCR 26 declared May as World Languages and Cultures Month and May 11 has been made California Community College Music Day thanks to SCR 36.

In addition, SR 15 commends California's Girl Scouts Councils for their innovative water conservation and environmental education program "Water for Life."

In my first year as your state senator, we've been able to pass some very meaningful legislation that will help children and working families, but none of it could have happened without your support. Thank you for joining me in building a healthier and safer community.

Sen. Leland Yee is the assistant president pro tempore at the California Senate.