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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A third of young California children at risk for lead poisoning are not being tested despite state and federal laws that require it, according to a new study—a problem at least partly addressed by legislation now on the governor’s desk.

Researchers using data from the state Department of Public Health found that 160,000 children 1 and 2 years old who needed testing never received it. That’s a 34 percent failure rate, the study says.

“Our most vulnerable kids, the ones that are the most lead-poisoned, are not getting tested,” said Susan Little, who led the study for the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that crossed the state’s testing reports with census figures. “The state is failing its mandate.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Lead is a major threat to children’s health, and an EWG analysis of California’s most recent lead testing data shows the state has fallen far short of its responsibility to test children at the highest risk of exposure.

The new EWG report, based on U.S. Census data and Department of Public Health data from 2013, estimates that at least one-third of high-risk 1-and 2-year-olds were not tested for the highly potent neurotoxin that can cause permanent brain damage in children. The records from 2013 are the latest such statewide data released by California’s lead testing program.

State regulations mandate that all children enrolled in Medi-Cal or other public assistance programs should be tested at 12 months of age and again at 24 months to see if intervention is needed to protect against further exposure.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the gulf coast of Texas in late August, it led to widespread flooding in Houston and other cities and towns. In some places more than 15 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period, quickly inundating roads, highways and entire neighborhoods. Damage from the storm is expected to be in the billions of dollars.

Then, even as commentators and onlookers invoked the word “historic” for Harvey in one breath, the very next breath was given to the historic proportions of Hurricane Irma, relegating coverage of Harvey to a backseat as one of the largest hurricanes ever recorded took aim at Florida.

As these areas work to recover, we face a compelling question: Given that weather extremes are expected to become even more severe and frequent, how can and should efforts to replace lost and damaged infrastructure aim to make it better able to withstand disastrous events to come?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

At about this time every year, the legislative session in California is winding down. Sept. 15 is the last day for the governor to sign any bill this year. As the legislative year comes to an end, I once again summarize several of the new laws that I believe are of most importance to our readers:

LANE-SPLITTING
Assembly Bill 51 was authored by Democratic Assemblymember Bill Quirk, whose district District 20 encompasses Hayward, Union City, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Ashland, Cherryland, Fairview, Sunol and North Fremont. AB 51 defines “lane-splitting” as two-wheeled vehicles traveling between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including on both divided and undivided streets, roads and highways.

Monday, September 11, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California lawmakers unanimously approved sweeping legislation today that could mean hundreds of thousands more at-risk children would be tested for lead poisoning each year. The legislation would bring major improvements to a long-struggling program that researchers estimate fails to identify almost two-thirds of lead-poisoned children in the state.

AB 1316, by Assembly Members Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, and Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, requires the Department of Public Health to revise regulations for when doctors test children’s blood for lead exposure. In writing the new rules, the department must for the first time consider various factors – such as proximity to lead smelters or freeways, or drinking from lead-contaminated plumbing – that could expose the child to the potent neurotoxin.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) says its crucial for all of us to stand in strong support of the nearly 800-thousand young people nationwide who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program the White House has announced it will eliminate. Join the fight to keep DACA, watch and share this Assembly Access video. #defendDACA 

Monday, August 28, 2017

(Sacramento) – There are voices in America that are spitting out hateful rhetoric but Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) says unity is the answer. Help beat back intolerance, watch and share his Assembly Access video. #WeAreCalifornia   http://www.asmdc.org/quirk 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), chair of the Assembly Select-Committee on California's Clean Energy Economy held an informational hearing titled "Low Carbon Fuels: Methods of Procurement and Production."

"I have been studying climate change since the 1970s and am worried about the future," Assemblymember Quirk said in his opening statement. "As our climate becomes warmer and our oceans more acidic, we need to look at our policies and analyze what we are doing right and where there are areas for improvement."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials (ESTM) held an oversight hearing yesterday on Proposition 65.

Proposition 65 was enacted by voters in 1986 and requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. Businesses are required to provide a warning to the public before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a Proposition 65-listed carcinogen or reproductive toxin. Businesses are also prohibited from discharging these chemicals into water.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

(Sacramento) – Hundreds of people gathered all around the State Capitol to view the Great Solar Eclipse. Assemblymember and astrophysicist Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) told the crowd the solar eclipse is an opportunity to think about the importance of solar power in California. Check out this video from the Great Solar Eclipse viewing party.  http://www.asmdc.org/quirk