Tag Archives: Sacramento

Caltrans Releases 2018 California State Rail Plan

By Caltrans

District: Headquarters – Sacramento
Contact: Thomas Lawrence
Phone: (916) 654-3633
Contact: Tamie McGowen
Phone: (916) 657-5060

SACRAMENTO — Today, Caltrans released the 2018 State Rail Plan – a bold vision for state rail that aims to boost the economy, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve safety statewide over the next 20 years.

“Rail is a key part of the solution for addressing California’s transportation challenges. In this Rail Plan, we lay out the goals and investment strategies necessary in both the short and long-term for improving access, mobility and efficiency for both our passenger and freight rail systems, while also making a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to the transportation sector.”

Laurie Berman, Director, Caltrans

With a vision to increase passenger rail travel by 92 million passenger miles per day, the 2018 Rail Plan presents a plan for an integrated system that will allow passengers to easily and efficiently transfer from local transit services to regional, intercity and future high-speed rail. The outcomes described in the Rail Plan will help California achieve its ambitious GHG emission reduction targets, boost the state economy, and potentially eliminate 250 fatalities and 19,000 transportation related injuries per year by 2040.

The passenger vision will create a coordinated, statewide travel system to enhance multimodal access for residents across the state. The vision will allow people to:

  • Travel seamlessly across urban, suburban, and rural areas of the state withmore trains to more places more often;
  • Save time with significantlyfaster trips;
  • Enjoy the journey onmodern, safe, clean, and comfortable trains;
  • Transfer quickly and easilyat hub stations with coordinated arrivals and departures that significantly reduce wait times;
  • And plan an entire door-to-door trip and purchase asingle ticket using a streamlined trip-planning portal.

The freight vision provides a customer-focused system that will eliminate rail freight bottlenecks on transcontinental trade corridors by investing in dedicated rail freight capacity and passenger improvements that support rail freight movement. The freight component also supports short line improvements, grade-crossing improvements at a corridor-level to address community safety needs, and integrating as much service as possible.

Caltrans worked extensively with state, regional, and local partners to develop a consensus vision that supports increased efficiencies and connectivity across the state.

The Rail Plan is available at www.californiastaterailplan.com


Gov Signs 27 Bills Into Law, Including No Marijuana Use In Cars

By Anthony Saude


Sacramento – It’s was a busy week for California’s lawmakers as Friday marked the last day for any bills to be passed ahead of their recess. Any Bill that the governor has in his possession that was previously passed on or after September 15 must be signed or vetoed by October 15 or those bills become law by default.

Governor Brown got to work earlier this week on some legislation already in his possession. On Monday September 18, he signed 24 bills into law and vetoed two others.  With the new recreational marijuana laws taking effect in 2018 this bill would make our laws on using marijuana while driving or riding in cars consistent with our laws on consuming alcohol while driving or riding in vehicles. SB 65 aims at making sure drivers or passengers in vehicles do not smoke or consume marijuana in any form. “This bill simply makes our laws on using marijuana while driving or riding in cars consistent with our laws on consuming alcohol while driving or riding in vehicles. Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat representing San Mateo and authored this bill. SB 65 it is viewed as a needed enhancement to Prop. 64. That proposition, which was approved by California’s voters in 2017, stipulated that it’s illegal to have open pot containers in vehicles but doesn’t address the use of cannabis by other passengers or in other forms.

The bill adds marijuana consumption to the law prohibiting alcohol consumption, which is an infraction currently punishable with a base fine of $70,” Hill’s office said.

Governor Brown has combined the Prop 215 (compassionate use act) and Prop 64 (The adult use of medical marijuana) laws so AB 65 of changes to state and city regulations that need to be defined to allow law enforcement to do their jobs with more efficiency. “Joe Nicchitta of the, Los Angeles of Cannabis Management, and hundreds of other key people are involved in very carefully evaluating every step of the process”, Los Angeles Sheriff Department-Walnut/Diamond Bar (LASD) station Lieutenant Anthony Baudino said. “There is a lot to sort out and the 5 million dollars Prop 64 allotted for CHP training isn’t even going to scratch the surface of what will be needed over the next decade or so”. Just think about how many different changes have been made to the drinking and driving laws over the last 20 years. Each change requiring more training, more money, lots of complaints and bad publicity for the officers of the law.

Key people in California and Colorado that travel back and forth to make sure they have all the information about their experiences as we move forward in the process. Lt. Baudino said “contrary to popular belief only 5 counties out of 20 in Colorado have agreed to the law in their county”. “It is still up to the counties if they want to allow it, even in California. The difference he says is that in California it is viewed as the next great gold rush and every wants their piece of the pie”.

Driving is serious business; you are hurling a 4000 lb chunk of steel down a concrete road at dangerous speeds next to another chunk of steel doing the same thing. You should be holding the steering wheel and watching the road not smoking a joint or eating an edible. Driving a car isn’t a recreational thing and you can wait to take your medicine when you get home.

One of the bills that Brown vetoed also had to do with marijuana. SB 663 was aimed at ensuring cannabis packages and labels are not attractive to children.

Brown said in his veto message, “Current law already prohibits cannabis and cannabis products from being designed to be attractive to children,” he added that state licensing authorities are already working on labeling restrictions.

SB 130 Restores Funding to Eastvale

By Marissa Mitchell

SACRAMENTO – Early this month, Senate Bill 130 was approved by the California State Senate (34-0), thus restoring vital funding to for the newly incorporated cities of Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee, and Wildomar. The bill was later approved by the California State Assembly on a bipartisan vote of 72-1.

Senator Richard Roth of Riverside declared regarding the passage, “For too long, Sacramento has failed to provide our region with its fair share. There is no reason why these particular cities should be excluded from receiving an equitable share of state revenue which every other California city receives. SB 130 is a critical measure of fairness and equity, and I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support and for recognizing how important this funding is for our cities’ residents.”

The City of Eastvale will receive funds that they were not privy to prior to passage of Bill 130. Instead, because each of the four cities were incorporated before the passage of Senate Bill 89 (2011), they suffered great financial difficulties. Senate Bill 89 was one of the steps that the legislature took to close the state budget gap, and resulted in cities which had incorporated after 2004 losing critical public safety and municipal services funding previously given to all newly incorporated cities.

Senator Roth would continue, “Riverside County’s four newest cities are one step closer to receiving the funding they deserve and, in the case of Jurupa Valley, desperately need. This is an issue I have fought for since before I was even elected, and I am proud to have a strong partner in Assembly member Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) in ensuring our cities and region receive their fair share from Sacramento.”

Assembly member Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) and Senator Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside) issued the following joint statement on their support for SB 130: “We thank our colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting SB 130 and recognizing how important this funding is for our cities’ residents. For too long, Sacramento has failed to provide our region with its fair share. SB 130 is a critical measure of fairness and equity which ensures Riverside County’s four newest cities will once again have the resources they need to keep our neighborhoods and families safe.

“This is a major victory that will provide these four cities with the funding they deserve and, in the case of Jurupa Valley, desperately need. There is no reason why these particular cities should be excluded from receiving an equitable share of state revenue which every other California city receives. We look forward to receiving the Governor’s signature on this measure and finally delivering a fair share of resources to our cities.”

SB 130 will now go on to Governor Jerry Brown for his approval or veto.

Luke Skywalker Supports Bill

Photo courtesy: Chris Wangsaporn Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang stands with Mark Hamill as he shows his support for AB 1570.

Photo courtesy: Chris Wangsaporn
Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang stands with Mark Hamill as he shows his support for AB 1570.

AB 1570 helps ensure fans purchase only authentic memorabilia

By Chris Wangsaporn 

Sacramento – Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) announced her AB 1570 passed out of the Assembly Privacy & Consumer Protection Committee.  Mark Hamill – also known for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars – has been a strong advocate for the bill. In some memorabilia markets, forged signatures make up over half of the supply – making it all too easy for consumers to be defrauded.  AB1570 will put safeguards in place as well as provide civil recourse for buyers of autographs.

“I was astonished to learn how big the market is for fake memorabilia,” said Assemblywoman Chang. “And when you have kids falling victim to dealers selling sham autographs, that’s what really makes me angry. I’ve teamed up with artists like Mark Hamill, but also law enforcement and consumer advocacy groups to make sure we have protections in place.”

AB 1570 will require dealers of any signed memorabilia to provide a certificate of authenticity upon sale of the autograph.  The bill will also provide victims of forged memorabilia with civil recourse including ten times the amount of actual damages.  Current law already protects consumers in the narrow case of sports related memorabilia.

In a letter of support for AB 1570: Mark Hamill writes: “I cherish the fans who have given me their support for decades.  I will do anything I can to protect them from predatory and fraudulent dealers and AB 1570 has my unqualified support.”

In fact, Star Wars icon Mark Hamill recently took to Twitter to tell fans which of their signed collectibles were forged and which were genuine.

PSA/DNA, JSA, and other professional authenticators evaluate hundreds of thousands of autographs annually worldwide, and often determine the signatures to be forged.  According to industry experts, the rejection rate can reach over 50% of submitted items for the more prominent names, including Neil Armstrong, Michael Jackson, and others.  For example, experts estimate that only 94 percent of all autographed Beatles memorabilia is forged, as are 76 percent of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley collectibles.

In the last twenty years, the FBI instituted two major investigations uncovering millions in forged sports, entertainment and historical autographed memorabilia – both cases involved operations in California.  During the most recent investigation, the FBI estimated forged memorabilia “comprises between $500,000,000 and $900,000,000” of the overall billion dollar market.

Legislation Approved For State Cyber Security

Photo courtesy: Google Images

Photo courtesy: Google Images

Establishes Strong Foundation for Securing the Most Sensitive Information Systems

 By Chris Wangsaporn

Sacramento – Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) announced that her legislation to put California’s troubled cyber security system back on track was approved by the Assembly Privacy & Consumer Protection Committee. On the heels of a troubling audit of the state’s cyber security program, AB 1881 will ensure the state’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) establishes minimum security controls for state departments and agencies. California is vulnerable to thousands of hacking attempts per month but has a porous information security operation.

“Without proper security controls in place, it’s akin to leaving your front door unlocked at night,” said Assemblywoman Chang. “It doesn’t matter if we have state-of-the-art technology or firewalls in place if you lack proper policies to keep data secure.”

AB 1881 will require the State Chief Information Officer (CIO) to develop baseline security controls (minimum security requirements) for all state agencies and departments.  The CIO would further be required to report on compliance to the Legislature.  Security controls are procedures — sometimes performed by people rather than IT systems — that reduce the risk of security vulnerabilities such as password procedures, personnel access, or data disposal.

In 2015, the California state auditor outlined an extensive assessment of the Department of Technology’s oversight of California’s State’s information security operations.  The results of the audit painted an alarming picture of California’s cyber security system and practices. For example, 95% of surveyed departments and agencies stated they are not fully in compliance with existing state security standards.   And shortly after a recent committee hearing on cyber security discussing the audit, a top cyber security official stepped down.

“The state is falling short on some of the most basic aspects of cyber security,” said Chang.  “There really shouldn’t be an information security program in place without developed security controls.”

State government is responsible for securing highly sensitive information of its citizens. From social security numbers and medical records, to the integrity of wastewater treatment plants, state government’s information systems ensure our privacy as well as the reliability of critical infrastructure and resources.

Californians Meet Water Goals

Courtesy of CA Water Board

SACRAMENTO– Californians have reduced water use by 25.5 percent since June, and are continuing to meet Governor Brown’s 25 percent mandate, despite a decline in the statewide water-savings rate during the last three months of 2015.

In December, the statewide conservation rate was 18.3 percent, down from 20.4 percent in November, compared to the same months in 2013.  A drop in the water conservation rate was expected during the cooler fall and winter months, when Californians use less water and there is less opportunity to save on outdoor water use compared with the hot summer months.   Statewide water use declined from 76 gallons per person per day in November, to 67 gallons in December, the second lowest per-person rate since water use reporting began in June 2014.

Nonetheless, Californians are urged to keep up their efforts to conserve through the winter months.  This includes complying with urban water supplier directives to switch to once-a-week watering schedules, and not using outdoor irrigation during and within 48 hours following a rain event.

“While the recent rains and growing snowpack are wonderful to behold, we won’t know until spring what effect it will have on the bottom line for California’s unprecedented drought,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.  “Until we can tally that ledger, we have to keep conserving water every way we can.  Every drop saved today is one that we may be very glad we have tomorrow.”

In November 2015, the Governor issued an Executive Order directing the State Water Board to extend and revise the drought emergency water conservation regulations based on conditions through January.

CHP Receives Federal Funding to Improve Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety

Courtesy of CHP
SACRAMENTO – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has received a federal grant to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists throughout California. The grant furthers the Department’s mission to help save lives, with a focus on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.
“We are asking drivers to be courteous and alert to pedestrians and bicyclists on the roadways,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “This grant will help us increase traffic safety by providing more education for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.”
California has seen an increase in the number of traffic-related pedestrian and bicyclist collisions. The most recent data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System reveals 752 pedestrians and 164 bicyclists were killed in collisions statewide in 2013, a 6.6 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities and a 10.6 percent increase in bicyclist fatalities from the previous year.
The California Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Enforcement and Education Project III grant runs from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. During this 12-month statewide campaign, CHP officers will use pedestrian and bicyclist collision information to enhance enforcement and public education campaigns. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The CHP’s enforcement efforts will include California’s 3-Feet for Safety law, which requires drivers to keep a minimum distance of three feet between any part of a motor vehicle and a bicycle.
The CHP’s educational efforts will include presentations that promote safe pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist behavior; bike rodeos; and distributing pedestrian and bicycle safety materials.

Huff’s Attempts To Veto Bill In Vain

Senator calls Mandatory Vaccination SB 277 an “Unwarranted Insertion of Government” – Brown makes it a law


Staff Reports

Sacramento – Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) called on Governor Jerry Brown to veto mandatory childhood vaccination legislation headed for the Governor’s desk after passing off the Senate Floor on Mon., June 29.  In a veto request letter sent to the Governor, Senator Huff called SB 277 an “unwarranted insertion of government into an area that has rightly been the domain of parents.”

“The sweeping nature of SB 277 is all the more problematic when one considers the actual magnitude of the recent measles outbreak that spawned the bill,” wrote Senator Huff in his veto request to the Governor. “In a state of nearly 39 million people, only 131 measles cases are likely linked to this outbreak. This can hardly be considered a breakdown of ‘herd immunity.’”

Senator Huff also argued that the need for SB 277 was premature; noting that previous legislation introduced by the author (AB 2109 in 2012) actually led to a decrease to the use of personal belief exemption (PBE) requests. The prudent course, Senator Huff stated, is to monitor the effectiveness of AB 2109 over several years to see if PBE usage continues to decline.

“If this downward trend does not continue, then and only then, should an extreme measure like SB 277 be considered,” Senator Huff wrote in his veto request letter to the Governor. “A strong case can be made that our current policy works. Now is not the time for this measure (SB 277).”

Despite the efforts of Senator Huff and others, Gov. Brown signed this legislation into law on Tues., June 30. This bill eliminates vaccination exemptions based on religious or personal beliefs and will require all children entering kindergarten to be vaccinated unless a doctor certifies that a child has a medical condition preventing it.  The legislation is reportedly prompted (in part) by an outbreak of measles traced to the Disneyland Resort late last year, and ultimately spread to more than 130 people in California, as well as other states.