Entries may call for the creation of a new law or the repeal of an obsolete law to improve quality of life in San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and California overall.
The contest is open to all constituents of the 13th Senate District, which includes Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Portola Valley, Menlo Park, Woodside, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, Pacifica, Palo Alto, and parts of unincorporated San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
"I always welcome great bill ideas and if there is more than one winner, that's terrific our record is four winners in a single year," Hill said in a press release, referring to four bills inspired by constituents that he introduced in 2016, two of which became laws.
The senator typically chooses a standout bill idea and introduces legislation based on it. The person who suggested the bill will have the opportunity to testify in Sacramento at hearings on the legislation.
Laws resulting from constituents' ideas include Jojo's Act. The law, Senate Bill 223, allows parents to give their severely disabled children medicinal cannabis at K-12 public school campuses.
Completed entry forms may be emailed to [email protected], faxed to his district office at 650-212-3320, or mailed to the district office at 1528 South El Camino Real, Suite 303, San Mateo, CA 94402. Entries must be received by Friday, Jan. 17.
For more information, go sd13.senate.ca.gov/submit-bill-idea.
Children getting rapid placement with foster families
Santa Clara County's foster children are no longer being held in the county's Receiving, Assessment and Intake Center, Supervisor Dave Cortese's office said Monday.
After months of inundation, the county's RAIC finished processing and transferring children into foster care placement within 24 hours of receiving them, Cortese's office said in a news release.
A memo last Thursday from county Social Services Agency director Robert Menicocci said the last child was discharged on Wednesday from the intake facility at 2300 Enborg Lane in San Jose.
For the time being, children removed from their homes will now be taken to a few locations for short-term assessments. If a child cannot be placed within 24 hours, the county has secured a few homes where the child can be cared for until a long-term placement is identified, Menicocci said in the memo.
The Board of Supervisors will be briefed with a detailed report on further options for processing and placing foster children during its first meeting of the year on Jan. 14.
"For the sake of the children, we need to place them within 24 hours of being removed from places where they have been traumatized," Cortese said in a statement Monday. "We do not want to be responsible for further traumatizing these vulnerable children who we are supposed to be protecting. I am hopeful this new approach will move us toward that goal."
Cortese first called for a moratorium on foster child intake at RAIC at a Nov. 19 Board of Supervisors meeting.
County grants to help feed the hungry
Local nonprofits can apply for $1,000 "mini-grants" that will help them rent permitted commercial kitchens to prepare charitable meals, county officials said Dec. 31.
The Santa Clara County Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency is accepting applications through March 18 for the $1,000 grants.
Changes in state law in recent years have prevented nonprofits from providing meals to those who need them, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Joe Simitian said.
"I've heard from too many churches, temples and local nonprofits who want to help that simply can't," Simitian said.
Currently many organizations that prepare meals for the hungry don't have access to permitted commercial kitchens, which enhance food safety, Simitian said in a news release. That can result in groups operating out of compliance with state law, or spending valuable resources to redesign an existing kitchen or to rent a permitted facility, he added.
Organizations with 501(c)(3) classification may submit up to three applications for up to $1,000 each for meals to feed hungry people.
The mini-grants "should cover the costs for local nonprofits to rent a compliant kitchen and then do the good work they're anxious to do," Simitian said.
More information on the pilot program can be found at sccgov.org.
County seeks civil grand jury applicants
The Santa Clara County Superior Court is looking for volunteers to serve on the 2020-2021 Civil Grand Jury, Presiding Judge Deborah Ryan announced Jan. 2.
The Civil Grand Jury serves as the county's civil watchdog agency, authorized to inspect audit books, records and financial expenditures of county and city governments, special districts and school districts, in order to ensure accountability of public funds.
Applicants must be over 18 and a position on the jury requires a commitment of an average of 25 hour per week. The term lasts for one year and the panel begins on June 18.
"It is vitally important that we have a diverse group of people with different experiences, skills and abilities who are willing to assume the important task of serving on the grand jury," Ryan said in a statement.
"We need civic minded citizens willing to critically assess the operations of local governmental entities and to recommend improvements, as necessary, to benefit our community," she said.
People interested can apply by obtaining an online application at scscourt.org. The deadline to apply is April 1.
—Bay City News Service
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