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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 15th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 33 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 33

Political Watch: October 17, 2019

• Gov. Gavin Newsom signed state Assemblymember Monique Limón’s (D-Santa Barbara) legislation, Assembly Bill 1680 into law on Oct. 9, which will open Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara County to public access. According to the text of the legislation, Hollister Ranch is a 14,500-acre subdivision that covers 8.5 miles of shoreline, with no coastal access for the public. The bill requires the California Coastal Commission, Coastal Conservancy, Department of Parks and Recreation, and the State Lands Commission to develop a public access program for the area by April 2021, while implementing the first phase of the program by April 2022. In a Facebook post, Limón said the governor’s signing of this bill reaffirms the public’s right to beach access. “With this bill and after almost 40 years, the state of California has made a clear statement that no matter your [ZIP] code, all Californians deserve a chance to enjoy our public parks and beaches,” Limón said.

• On Oct. 9, state Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) announced that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill he authored to address human trafficking. In a statement his office released, Cunningham said Assembly Bill 662 provides law enforcement officials and prosecutors another tool to shut down trafficking locations. “Part of our ongoing fight against human trafficking is equipping law enforcement with more tools to go after front businesses like massage parlors,” Cunningham said. “Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable. AB 662 gives law enforcement an important new tool to uproot establishments used for trafficking.” AB 662 is the fourth anti-human-trafficking bill authored by the assemblyman to be signed into law since 2017, according to his office.

• California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Oct. 1 that the state Department of Justice is awarding $30.5 million in grant funding to local government agencies to address the illegal sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors. According to a statement from Becerra’s office, the state awarded the funding to 76 local jurisdictions throughout California, including the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Agencies that receive this funding will use the money to fund education programs, improve law enforcement operations, and hire school resource officers. “These grants will support local communities in enforcing the law and educating kids about the harms of tobacco products,” Becerra said. Locally, the Sheriff’s Office received about $553,000, which it will use to hire a school resource officer dedicated to enforcing the law at county tobacco retailers and reaching out to students.   

• On Oct. 1, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released a report on suicide prevention and response within the state’s prison system. According to the report, the suicide rate within the prison system has increased steadily over the last four years. In 2018, 34 of the 166,333 offenders who spent at least one night in the state prison system committed suicide. “In prison systems, suicide rates are multifactorial, with contributing factors that can include medical and mental health issues, court and sentencing issues, as well as those involving family, lack of purposeful activity, conditions of the specific prison environment, and the stress of adjusting to incarceration,” the report states. “CDCR remains committed to transforming the culture inside institutions through staff training and wellness efforts to improve the interaction between staff and inmates, and we believe that could help suicide prevention efforts.” According to the report, suicide rates within U.S. jails are also increasing. Locally, an inmate of the Santa Barbara County jail died from an apparent suicide attempt in July. 

Weekly Poll
What do you think about Aera Energy canceling its project in Cat Canyon?

It's a victory for the environment!
It's a loss of a lot of potential jobs that are needed in North County.
I'm all for renewable energy, but we still need oil and gas.
The county should never approve another oil and gas project.

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