Limón: Native American studies bill, launches contest

Assemblywoman Monique Limón

Assembly Bill 738, authored by Assemblywoman Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, has been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill provides for the development of a model curriculum in Native American studies for schools to integrate into lesson plans in grades 9 through 12.

The model curriculum, designed with input from Native American tribes, is designed to educate students on the contributions of Native Americans to the state and country. California has the largest Native American population in the United States.

“AB 738 is about communities telling their own stories that can be passed on to future generations,” said Limón. “A school curriculum that draws upon and reflects the history of all students, especially underrepresented students, is critical in providing a positive, engaging and meaningful experience in the classroom.”

The bill was signed on Indigenous Peoples Day, Oct. 9.

Limón is also asking constituents for legislation ideas via a contest dubbed “There Oughta Be a Law.”

“Some of best ideas of our state have come from students, veterans, and just regular folks who saw a problem and had a solution. If you have ever thought to yourself, ‘There oughta be a law’ or even, ‘That should not be a law,’ this contest is for you,” said Limón.

Constituents can submit ideas and proposals through Friday, Nov. 17, by visiting

Jackson: new parent leave, beach oil cleanup bills

Hannah-Beth Jackson

At a signing ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 12, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 63, the New Parent Leave Act, authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, that will allow millions more California parents to take time off to care for a newborn without fear of losing their jobs.

The act will provide 12 weeks of job-protected maternity and paternity leave for up to 2.7 million more California parents who work for smaller companies with 20 to 49 employees. Under current law, only those who work for an employer with 50 employees or more are eligible for job-protected leave.

“With more women in the workforce, and more parents struggling to balance work and family responsibilities, our policies must catch up to the realities of our economy and the daily lives of working families,” said Jackson, adding that in modern times “both parents often work and shoulder caregiving responsibilities.”

SB 63 has been a priority of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and the culmination of a two-year effort by Jackson to strengthen California’s maternity and paternity leave policies.

Brown also signed Jackson’s Senate Bill 44, the Coastal Oil Well Cleanup and Remediation Act. The Act will require the California State Lands Commission to monitor and plug old “orphaned” oil wells in California waters when the original oil company that operated the well no longer exists and cannot be held responsible, and sets aside a $2 million per year fund to assist in remediation of old abandoned wells.

“There are far too many abandoned oil wells that must be capped to prevent leaks and fumes that pollute our beaches and ocean waters and affect our children, visitors, birds, fish and other marine life,” said Jackson.

Irwin: thermal program extension bill signed

In early October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 797, by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, that extends consumer incentives for solar thermal technologies that heat water and air using the sun’s energy, reducing natural gas use in homes and buildings.

The bill extends the existing California Solar Initiative (CSI) — Thermal Program for two years to 2020, and targets half of the funds for low-income housing and buildings in disadvantaged communities.

“The California solar thermal market is growing, especially in the multifamily housing sector – with 32 percent annual growth between 2015 and 2016 in annual natural gas savings,” said Kelly Knutsen, senior policy adviser of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, a co-sponsor of AB 797. “Gov. Brown has been a long-time champion of clean energy and solar thermal technologies, and we applaud both Gov. Brown and Assemblymember Irwin for their leadership in building California’s clean energy economy.”

Former VP Joe Biden to speak in Thousand Oaks

The 47th vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, will be the first speaker at the Distinguished Speaker Series at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on Monday, Oct. 23.

“Vice President Joe Biden’s appearance could not have come at a more relevant time,” says speaker series co-founder Kathy Winterhalder.

Biden served as 47th vice president of the United States with President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. Before that, he was a U.S. senator representing Delaware from 1973 until assuming the vice presidency. Tickets can be purchased as part of a series subscription package that also includes Bill Nye the Science Guy, Tod Koppel and Kareem Abdul-Jabar, $364-474, by visiting