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Jerry Hill Announces 'Oughta Be a Law' Contest

The contest is open to all constituents of the 13th Senate District, including San Mateo and Foster City.

Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is encouraging Peninsula residents to participate in his fifth annual “Oughta Be A Law…Or Not” constituent bill idea contest

The contest is open to all constituents of the 13th Senate District and allows residents to submit their ideas for improving the quality of life in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County or the state of California.

Ideas can vary from local community improvements to statewide reforms. Applicants can submit their ideas for the creation of a new law or the repeal or revision of laws already on the books. 

“This is a great opportunity for constituents to participate in our democracy and learn about the legislative process,” Hill said. “Past winners have traveled to Sacramento to testify in committee and their proposals have been signed into law.”

Hill’s office has already received several entries for the 2013 contest. 

Hill will select a winner and then introduce the idea as legislation. The individual who submits the winning idea will have the opportunity to testify in Sacramento at hearings on the legislation.

Applications can be obtained by calling Senator Hill’s District office at 650-688-6384 or from his website: www.senate.ca.gov/hill

Completed applications may be emailed to Senator.Hill@senate.ca.gov, faxed to the district office at 650-688-6370 or mailed to the district office located at 160 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, CA 94301.  Submissions must be received by January 15, 2013.  The deadline to introduce bills for the 2013 legislative session is February 22. 

The 13th Senate District includes the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Portola Valley,  Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Woodside and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County and unincorporated Santa Clara County.

Past winners include:

2009 – Assembly Bill 1379

Eda Cook of Half Moon Bay and Scott Buschman of San Bruno were awarded co-winners of the 2009 contest for their proposals addressing the problem of spilled debris from trucks on highways and roads. The bill increased the base fine for spilling debris from commercial trucks on roads and highways. According to the California Highway Patrol, since 2003 there were over 7,000 collisions caused by spilled loads in California resulting in 10 fatalities. The measure passed the legislature but was vetoed by the Governor.

2010 – Assembly Bill 2654

The brainchild of Stan Fetterman of Millbrae, Assembly Bill 2654 would require firms that send out solicitation letters that appear to be on behalf of government agencies to include a disclaimer atop the first page stating: "This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency." Fetterman proposed the law after noticing that a property management firm that employs him had received a pile of official-looking letters that, in one instance, demanded companies make a $225 payment to fulfil a bogus state requirement. Under the bill, these letters would be required to include the disclaimer and violations would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. The measure passed the legislature but vetoed by the governor in 2010. The bill was reintroduced as AB 75 in 2011 and was signed by Governor Brown.

2011 – Assembly Bill 459

The constituent who won the 2011 contest asked to remain anonymous. Their idea implements the National Popular Vote for President which reforms the Electoral College so that it guarantees the presidency to the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide. All of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). The bill has passed 30 legislative chambers in 20 states and is supported by more than 70 percent of people nationwide. The measure was signed by Governor Brown.

2012 – Assembly Bill 2309

Corey Geiger and Alan Talansky submitted the 2012 winner, which created a pilot program to link the state’s community colleges with local chambers of commerce to promote business development and job creation.  AB 2309 would have boosted business development by helping early stage business ventures with new ideas to either find funding or to reach the point of operating stability.  The competitive grant program is designed to also recruit and coordinate businesses and investors from local communities to provide funding, sponsorship and internships.  The bill passed the legislature with bipartisan support but was vetoed by Governor Brown. 

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