Thursday, September 26, 2013

Glendale News-Press: Gatto's Prop 65 reform bill likely to be law

September 23, 2013 | 11:01 a.m.
By Daniel Siegal,

Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s bill reforming Proposition 65 looks likely to become law, and no one is happier than the business owner whose suggestion spurred the legislation.

AB 227, which passed the Assembly state Senate with unanimous votes, modifies a voter-approved law that requires establishments to post “clear and reasonable” warnings if the public is at risk of being exposed to chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.

That includes restaurants that serve alcohol, which frequently find themselves at the receiving end of “shakedown” lawsuits that are filed, proponents of change say, with the intent of extracting settlements to make the litigation go away. The law allows members of the public to sue for up to $2,500 for each day the signage isn’t properly displayed.

Gatto’s bill gives business owners a two-week period to post the correct signage before they can be sued.

Brett Schoenhals, Owner of the Coffee Table
in Eagle Rock.
Brett Schoenhals, who owns the Coffee Table restaurant in Eagle Rock, told Gatto (D-Silver Lake) about these lawsuits — one of which he had been served with — in January, at the inaugural meeting of the assemblyman’s Small Business Advisory Commission.

Nine months later, Schoenhals said he was happy that he was able to raise an issue that affects all businesses in the state.

“It affects everybody, and nobody ever does anything and nothing ever changes,” he said. “My big mouth did something.... I used my big mouth one time for good.”

Gatto said Thursday that giving businesses a chance to post the correct signage before becoming liable for damages was a way to discern the actual concerns that were the intent of the imitative.

“We also look at it as a little bit of bluff-calling,” he said. “These people who sue, these groups that sue, they say ‘We just want the warnings up.’ OK, well guess what? We just gave business-owners a 14-day window to put the warnings up...”

You can read this article and more by visiting the Glendale News Press HERE

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Dog, Sutter Brown, approves bill to facilitate more dog parks

First Dog, Sutter Brown, stopped by my office last week to affix his paw to AB 265, my bill to facilitate more dog parks.

CV WEEKLY: Gatto Speaks to Local Democrats

A great piece in the CV Weekly on a mini Town Hall I had recently in La Canada.

Gatto Speaks to Local Democrats

On Aug. 18, Assemblymember Mike Gatto spoke to the Cañada-Crescenta Democratic Club at a meeting hosted by Anthony and Ellen Portantino at their home.
At the meeting, Gatto answered questions from the audience on a variety of issues and spoke about what was happening in the state assembly.
He spoke on AB440, a bill that had cleared the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality and is now on its way to Appropriations. The bill would give local governments the tools needed to clean up contaminated properties, known as brownfields, and to recover costs of the contamination from the responsible party/parties.
He also spoke of a bill to ease traffic. AB405 would allow HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes to be used by all vehicles during non-peak hours.
“It doesn’t do anyone any good when there is an accident [on the freeway] and you can’t go around it [because of the HOV restrictions],” he said.
Gatto added that other areas, including northern California, have time sensitive HOV lanes in which carpool restrictions are in place during rush hour and then open for all vehicles during non rush hour.
“This is the last month the legislature is in session,” Gatto said. “There are hundreds of bills in the mix.”
One of those bills was signed into law on Aug. 12 and will allow cities more freedom to build dog parks.
“The idea came from Laura Friedman,” he said. Friedman is a Glendale city councilmember. “She came to me at the opening of the Crescenta Valley dog park.”
The CV dog park was the first park of its kind opened in Los Angeles County. Friedman had pointed out to Gatto that L.A. County had the ability to self insure, but for a city it would be cost prohibitive to have a dog park. AB265 limits the liability that cities and counties face when operating dog parks and protects them from litigants who claim, for example, that they were unaware of potential dangers, according to Gatto’s website.
“We were able to get that bill through this year,” he said.
He commented on the 710 extension, saying, “I don’t see anything that is good” about that.
“And I think the community has spoken,” he added. “We don’t want this.”
A question came from the audience regarding the Rainy Day Fund, which is purported to increase the potential savings in the state fund from 5% to 10 % of the General Fund. Gatto is a supporter of the measure.
“To me, [the concept of] a rainy day fund is simple,” he said. “[It’s like] you see this guy and he is very wealthy and [appears to be] responsible but he has nothing in his retirement or savings. [After finding this out], you would say he is not responsible. … Well, that is what California is like.”
Gatto added the state tends to spend all its money in the good times and then has nothing when bad times come around.
The Cañada-Crescenta Democratic Club was chartered in 2005 to serve the Democrats in the area. They were then called the La Cañada Flintridge Democratic Club. In 2008, the name was changed to Cañada-Crescenta Democratic Club because its reach had grown throughout Crescenta Valley.
They meet on the third Sunday of each month except for June and December. 
You can read this article and more at # # # 
Mike Gatto chairs the Appropriations Committee in the California Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.