Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of bills today targeted at protecting children in foster care and the homeless in California.
A bill by Democratic Senate president Darrell Steinberg seeks to encourage the relationship between siblings when one is placed in foster care. It allows foster children to request visitation with siblings who are not in the foster care system.
"They need all the support they can get,” Steinberg says. “And part of that support is making a real effort, a sustained effort, to ensure that they have real and ongoing contact with a sibling.”
The bill is part of a package of legislation Steinberg has authored during his time in office.
Another bill by Democratic Senator Norma Torres is targeted toward former foster youth who are in transitional housing programs. The bill allows counties to extend the amount of time people can stay in the program if they are also enrolled in college.
Another measure will allow homeless people to receive a free ID card from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Brown also signed a bill designed to protect children in foster care from identity theft. When a child turns 16 counties must check to see whether their credit report has any unusual activity.
Among the slew of bills Brown signed was one that increases fines for care facilities found to be responsible for the death or injury of a client. Another will allow qualified college graduates to refinance their student loans through the state. Yet another prohibits the operators of websites used by students in class from selling any personal information the sites might obtain.
But Brown used his veto power as well. He nixed several bills related to redevelopment, a program Brown helped eliminate in 2011. Among them was a bill that would have allowed the creation of Community Revitalization areas. Brown also vetoed two measures that would have expanded workers compensation.
Brown has yet to act on bills related to gun control, political ethics and a state-wide plastic bag ban. He has until midnight Tuesday.