Governor Brown has announced that he has signed two measures into law, both authored by Assemblymember Garcia. The measures protect public safety in relation to transportation employees and recalculate penalties on delinquent payments for court construction.
Assembly Bill 971 ensures that paratransit agencies are better able to conduct background checks on the drivers they employ. This bill explicitly permits Access Services, Los Angeles County’s public ADA paratransit provider, to conduct higher level background checks on the drivers who transport its disabled customers.
Current law limits by time and type the information that can be requested of applicants for employment. However it creates exceptions to these rules where health and safety are of primary concern or the person will be working with particularly vulnerable individuals in connection with the employment. Since Access Services facilitates complementary ADA paratransit services in Los Angeles County for persons with disabilities, it is imperative that the agency legally have the right to conduct background checks on its drivers.
“I wrote AB 971 because of my concern for the health and safety of the frail and elderly individuals in our communities, those who depend everyday on paratransit.” Garcia said. “Access Services is a provider of paratransit services in our county and for the health and safety of its clients it is imperative that the agency have a clear right to conduct thorough background checks of its drivers, before they are considered for employment.”
The second Garcia bill Governor Brown signed yesterday was AB 619.
Assembly Bill 619, sponsored by the State Association of County Auditors, would create uniformity in the law related to interest penalties on underpayments from local agencies and courts to the State. This measure would provide a window of opportunity for the local entity to correct the problem, with interest, and move forward after audit findings.
Small to medium-sized counties are audited on a multi-year schedule, some only as often as once every 5-7 years. If the underpayment took place early in the cycle, the interest will accrue to an unmanageable amount over time until it is uncovered in an audit.
This bill will give these counties an opportunity to correct underpayments to a specified fund when brought to their attention, without 18% annual accrued interest as a penalty.
“This measure will alleviate the hardships to help counties keep their heads above water by paying the underpayments at a reasonable interest rate.” Garcia said
To date, Governor Brown has signed three of Assemblymember Garcia’s bills into law and will be taking action on four of her remaining bills, including her measure on Cyberbullying in schools, in the coming days.
The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.