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Sen. Bill Dodd

State Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa)

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, recently announced his package of new laws taking effect Tuesday, Jan. 1, involving protection from wildfires and floods, disaster insurance coverage, education and drinking water.

“This year we made real progress toward building a stronger state and bettering the lives of all Californians,” said Sen. Dodd. “Many laws passed by the Legislature are key steps that will make noticeable improvements on wildfire safety, education and health. They are steps we can and must build on, which is what I will be focused on in the year ahead.”

Dodd had a total of 17 bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in the session that ended Sept. 30. None of his bills were vetoed. Among those taking effect Jan. 1 are:

Senate Bill 532: Adds “cyberterrorism” to the list of conditions that may be cited for state-of-emergency declarations by the governor, ensuring the state can effectively respond to 21st-century threats.

SB 577: Addresses teacher shortage by allowing teacher credentialing coursework to be completed at junior colleges.

SB 830: Requires the state Department of Education to compile media literacy resources, instructional materials and professional development programs for teachers to empower students with the tools to evaluate fake and misleading news.

SB 894: Allows victims of disasters such as wildfires to use coverage for accessory structures to rebuild their residences if they are underinsured, extends living expenses to 36 months to allow time to rebuild and recover and requires insurers to offer two annual renewals to victims.

SB 901: Invests $1 billion over the next five years in to mitigate wildfire risks through proactive fuel management, improves and streamlines forest management practices, provides $25 million in funding for prepositioning of firefighting mutual aid resources, mandates new electric utility wildfire safety standards, planning, oversight and accountability to harden the electric grid while protecting against rate increases.

SB 969: Requires, beginning this summer, all garage door motors sold in California to be equipped with backup batteries to ensure people are not trapped when the power goes out during emergencies.

SB 998: Protects low-income residents from automatic water shutoffs by enacting the Water Shutoff Protection Act which mandates flexible payment schedules, notice requirements and other due-process procedures that water districts must follow.

SB 1040: Ensures seniors and people with disabilities who receive In-Home Supportive Services are able to access care quickly in times of disaster, while supporting their caregivers.

SB 1073: Authorizes Napa County to seek state funding for the final phase of the Napa River Flood Control project.

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