California expands restrictions for phone use while driving

No more changing your playlist or checking the directions on your smartphone while driving.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed Assembly Bill 1785, significantly expanding California’s restrictions on the use of mobile phones behind the wheel. The measure forbids drivers from “holding and operating” their devices for any reason, though it does include an exception for functions that require only “the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger,” as long as the phone is mounted on the windshield or dashboard of the car.

Bill to Stop Cigarette Tax Evasion Schemes is Signed into Law

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 1901, a bill which will provide authority to the Board of Equalization (BOE) to stop tax evasion schemes involving illegally reusing cigarette tax stamps, was signed by Governor Brown.

Current law requires cigarette distributors to pay an 87-cents excise tax on each pack of cigarettes.  Prior to sales, distributors are required to affix a cigarette tax stamp as proof that the tax has been paid for each pack of cigarettes.  BOE investigators have uncovered sophisticated tax evasion schemes where the stamps were being reused on cigarette packs in order to avoid paying the excise tax.  Current law does not authorize BOE investigators to seize these unaffixed stamps during inspections, even though it is clear that the stamps are being collected to avoid paying taxes. 

Bill to Update Distracted Driving Law is Signed into Law

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 1785, a bill to update the rules of the road relating to the use of electronic devices while operating a vehicle, was signed into law by Governor Brown today.

“Technology has improved so rapidly, and our cell phones are more capable of much more than just calls and text messages. Smartphones have an abundance of available features that demand a driver’s attention, leading to very dangerous driving behavior. However, such activities are not clearly prohibited by law,” Assemblymember Quirk, the author of AB 1785, stated.

Bill to Address Climate Change Challenges in Building Infrastructure is Signed into Law

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 2800, a bill that will require the creation of a climate-safe infrastructure working group to help address the significant lag between predicted impacts of climate change on our state’s infrastructure and the efforts to mitigate those impacts through resilient infrastructure, was signed into law by Governor Brown.

“Sound and reliable infrastructure is critically important to public safety, quality of life, and California’s economy.  While California is actively engaged in developing the most up-to-date climate change science, this information is not significantly impacting infrastructure engineering and design decisions.  The state continues to build infrastructure projects that are designed and built with historic climate patterns in mind, even though the best available science predicts future patterns will be different, ” stated Assemblymember Quirk.

Bill to Improve Wireless Lifeline Service Program is Signed into Law

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 2570, a bill that will give guidance to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to improve the administration of the wireless California Lifeline Program (Lifeline) was signed into law by Governor Brown.

The Moore Universal Service Telephone Act of 1987 directed the CPUC to develop Lifeline to provide basic telephone service at a discounted cost to low-income households. In January 2014, the CPUC expanded the program beyond just wireline service to allow wireless carriers to offer LifeLine service. “The enrollment process for Lifeline has experienced problems with customers enrolling in multiple service plans within a short period of time or repeatedly switching among various services,” Assemblymember Quirk stated in explaining his reason for authoring the bill. “Failure to act and create more stability would put the program at risk of being eliminated,” he continued.

Assemblymember Quirk brings vision care to Union City students

Eye examinationHAYWARD – California State Assemblymember Bill Quirk, in partnership with Union City Kid Zone and Vision to Learn, provided FREE vision exams and glasses to over 80 students at Searles Elementary and Cesar Chavez Middle School last week.

Children with impaired vision can have difficulties learning in class, which can adversely affect grades and overall academic achievement. “If a student struggles to see in class they will struggle in life, today we are making sure our children are ready to learn in class and ready to be successful in school and in life,” said Assemblymember Quirk.

Housing Project in Hayward will Move Forward

SACRAMENTO – In 2011, the City of Hayward was awarded $460,000 through a Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) grant. HCD’s grant money was part of the Building Equity and Growth Neighborhood (BEGIN) program that was created to provide financial assistance for the development of affordable housing. Hayward partnered with Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley to develop Sequoia Grove, a 10-unit homeownership development.

Bill to Update Distracted Driving Law is Sent to Governor Brown

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 1785, a bill to update the rules of the road relating to the use of electronic devices while operating a vehicle, was sent to Governor Brown today.

“Technology has improved so rapidly, and our cell phones are more capable of much more than just calls and text messages. Smartphones have an abundance of available features that demand a driver’s attention, leading to very dangerous behavior. However, such activities are not clearly prohibited by law,” Assemblymember Quirk, the author of AB 1785, stated.

Bill to Create Guidelines on Lane Splitting is Signed into Law

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Quirk (D-Hayward) and Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R- Palmdale) have successfully granted the California Highway Patrol (CHP) authority to develop educational guidelines on lane splitting.

Lane splitting, which occurs when a motorcycle drives between rows of stopped or moving traffic, is a gray area in California law. This is because statute is silent – California does not explicitly allow it, but also doesn’t explicitly prohibit this behavior.

State Assembly designates this August as Muslim Appreciation Month

The California State Assembly passed a resolution Monday declaring August 2016 as Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month.

The resolution — officially called HR 59 — marks the first time any state has set aside a month in recognition of the Islamic faith. The bill, which was introduced by Assemblymember Bill Quirk, D–Hayward, and which was passed unanimously, applies only to this August, but Quirk’s Chief of Staff Tomasa Dueñas said the assembly member hopes that the body renews the resolution in the future.