From left: Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga; Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Chino; and Assemblyman Marc Steinorth , R-Rancho Cucamonga.

By Beau Yarbrough, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 10/08/16, 12:34 AM PDT |

Last Friday night at midnight, Gov. Jerry Brown dropped his still-smoking veto pen, the 2016 California legislative session at an end.

According to OpenStates.org, which tracks the activities of the California legislature, 4,992 bills were introduced during the 2015-16 regular session, along with 82 bills introduced during two special sessions.

Legislators don’t just introduce their own bills: They also vote on others, sit on committees discussing issues before the state and engage in what’s known as “constituent services,” helping residents of their districts cut through bureaucratic red tape. And the political makeup of both houses of the legislature is lopsided, with 26 Democrats and 13 Republicans in the Senate and 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans in the Assembly.

But ultimately, voters send legislators to the state capital to enact laws, and thanks to the California Legislative Information portal, leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, how well they accomplish that task can easily be tracked:

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia, introduced 21 bills and three resolutions in 2016. Ten of his bills were signed into law.

Those bills included Assembly Bill 1593, which would allow school districts to excuse the absence of a student attending his or her own naturalization ceremony to become a United States citizen.

“This is a crucial bill for those students who are eligible to become a U.S. citizen and are required to attend a naturalization ceremony that occurs during school hours,” Obernolte is quoted as saying in a press release issued in July. “These children shouldn’t be punished for missing school for something as important and commendable as becoming a legal citizen of our country.”

Obernolte was also the author of AB 1712 and 2746, which allow state agencies to use digital signatures.

“California is a leader when it comes to technology and innovation,” he’s quoted as saying in a September press release. “Yet our state government has been slow to take advantage of these advancements. By allowing state agencies to utilize digital signatures, AB 1712 and AB 2746 increase government efficiency and maximize the use of public dollars.”

Obernolte’s resolutions included one declaring April 27 as “Don’t Text and Drive Day,” designating a portion of Highway 247 as “Sergeant Brian Walker Memorial Highway,” and a resolution calling on Congress and the president to enact Daylight Savings Time year-round.

“Switching our clocks forward and backward every year is an outdated practice that is hazardous to our health and it is time for us to end it,” Obernolte is quoted as saying in a press release issued in September. “While any change from the status quo is desirable, I believe that the benefits of permanent daylight saving time strongly outweigh the alternatives.”

Last year, Obernolte introduced 23 bills and two resolutions. Nine of his bills were signed into law.

Obernolte’s 19 bills signed by Brown is the most of any Republican legislator this session, according to Obernolte’s office.

The 33rd Assembly District includes the communities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Big Bear Lake, Hesperia, Needles and Victorville.

Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, introduced 14 bills and two resolutions in 2016. Three were signed into law.

Those bills include AB 1867, which allows courts to use electronic copies or scans of existing, hard copies of certified prior conviction records.

“Too many government policies are outdated and cumbersome, ultimately increasing the cost of services to taxpayers,” Steinorth is quoted as saying in an August press release. “This common-sense legislation allows courts to operate more efficiently, instead of being held back by old-fashioned and obsolete rules.”

Brown also signed AB 2093, providing support for businesses to proactively ensure their properties are accessible for the disabled.

“Many businesses are simply unaware of ADA violations on their property, and are unexpectedly served with lawsuits which could put them out of business,” Steinorth is quoted as saying in a September press release. “This doesn’t help customers, businesses, or our community. AB 2093 will educate business owners regarding voluntary access inspections, so that they may proactively avoid this situation and make their property accessible for all.”

And, most famously, AB 797, “The Right to Rescue Act,” which provides legal protection to bystanders who break windows to rescue animals inside.

“No longer will Californians gather around a car in a parking lot feeling helpless while watching a pet suffer, or even die,” Steinorth is quoted as saying in a September press release. “Hot cars can be a real danger to our pets, and I am thrilled that California is giving Good Samaritans this layer of legal protection if they take heroic action to save a life.”

Last year, Steinorth introduced 12 bills and one resolution. Four of his bills were signed into law.

The 40th Assembly District includes the communities of Highland, Loma Linda, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands and San Bernardino.

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