Updates from Bonta
Part two of two
The regular session of the 2015-2016 California Legislature currently stands in recess. Assemblyman and former Vice-Mayor Rob Bonta visited the Alameda Sun to offer his perspective on how the current session is progressing.
In part one Bonta discussed his role in the passage and Gov. Jerry Brown’s subsequent signing of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. The legislation behind the act included Bonta’s AB266, which sets up a medical marijuana bureau.
Bonta also shared his excitement and pride about Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ (D-San Diego) appointing him and Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D- Los Angeles) as co-chairs of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color in California.
He also talked about the importance of implementing Proposition 47, which voters passed last November. The law changes some low-level crimes like simple drug possession from felonies to misdemeanors.
Bonta can look back on a hectic, yet successful session thus far. He said that the legislation that he sponsored or co-sponsored offered “opportunity and inclusion” for the less privileged among his constituents. These bills included making Medi-Cal more accessible by improving how the medical community delivers services to and bills Medi-Cal participants. Bonta chairs the Assembly Health Committee.
He holds a special place in his heart for the youngest of Californians. He said that the state is not involved enough in these children’s lives. He wants to see them attending pre-school so that they are ready for kindergarten. He sees reading as one of the most important skills Californians can teach their children. They should be reading well by the time they reach fourth grade. Bonta agrees with the precept that fourth graders in this state, no matter their background, should be reading to learn, not learning to read.
The state of California must direct particular attention to low-income children. A 2009 study showed that of the fourth-graders who took the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test that year, 83 percent of children from low-income families — and 85 percent of low-income students who attend high-poverty schools — failed to reach the “proficient” level.
In addition to paying attention the health and education of his less-privileged constituents, Bonta chose to honor one of his heroes. He introduced a bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law, that established Oct. 25 as a special day of recognition for Filipino-American farm labor leader Larry Itliong. Itliong, who also has a new street at Alameda Landing named for him, led some 1,500 Filipino grape picker during the 1965 Delano Grape Strike.