by Julia Baum / Pleasanton Weekly
Three bills written by Tri-Valley Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) were signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom this week.
The newly chaptered pieces of legislation by the freshman Assembly member cover gun safety, criminal justice reform and food allergens.
"These laws will keep our kids safe from gun violence, give the poor a little more justice in the criminal justice system, while at the same time saving our state hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and take another critical step to keep kids and adults alike safe from deadly food allergens," Bauer-Kahan said in a statement.
Her Assembly Bill 1532 was inspired by the 2013 death of a 13-year-old Danville girl after a severe reaction to a peanut allergy while at summer camp.
Named in the girl's honor, the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Act seeks to "protect individuals with severe food allergies, requiring all food handlers to have a simple certification in safe food handling practices for major food allergens," according to Bauer-Kahan. The law also adds organized camps to the food facility definition, which would trigger required training for food handlers at camps.
Giorgi's parents, Louis and Joanne Giorgi, "played a critical part" in the bill's passage and also started the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation in Natalie's memory, according to Bauer-Kahan.
Another new law, AB 1421, aims to both fix inequities in the law and save taxpayers money related to criminal probation. People already on probation and "who are otherwise abiding by the terms of their supervision" will no longer face being re-arrested and incarcerated for not being able to pay court-ordered fines, fees, assessments or restitution, according to Bauer-Kahan.
"This bill will ensure that the safety of the public is balanced correctly with smart fiscal responsibility," she said.
The average cost to house a county jail inmate last year was approximately $58,268 or $160 a day, according to the Board of State and Community Corrections. A 2015 report by the Public Policy Institute of California found the average cost for someone on probation was only $12.15 a day, bringing the difference between jail and probation to $53,830 annually.
The final legislation, AB 1292, updates how firearm transfers in the case of a will or trust are handled "so these firearms don't fall through the cracks or into dangerous hands," according to Bauer-Kahan.
She said the "common sense" law modernizes guidelines that haven't been touched in almost 30 years and "also ensures that good actors are not penalized due to out-of-date laws."