Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s fight to reduce hit-and-run crimes continued after the State Assembly approved his AB 8 by a 79-0 vote. The measure would establish the “Yellow Alert” system, which would allow law enforcement to engage drivers to help identify and apprehend hit-and-run perpetrators.
AB 8 would enable the use of the state’s existing network of freeway signs to broadcast information about vehicles suspected in hit-and-run incidents. Use of the system would be limited to hit-and-runs that result in death or serious bodily injury. Alerts would be issued by local law enforcement when there is a sufficient description of the offending vehicle or the identity of the suspect is known. A “Yellow Alert” would also be limited to the area where the hit-and-run crime occurred.
When Denver created a similar alert system in 2012, they saw a 76% arrest rate in cases where the alert was activated, compared to a previous arrest rate of around 20%. The success of the program prompted Colorado’s legislature to implement the program statewide.
“It’s gotten to the point to where not a single week goes by without another hit-and-run tragedy occurring,” said Gatto. “People flee because there’s little chance they will be caught and brought to justice.”
He added that matters are so bad that local officials and community members are taking matters into their own hands. Los Angeles City officials are now offering a $50,000 standing reward for information in hit-and-run cases. Traffic app Waze is sharing hit-and-run data with Waze users, and the mother of a hit-and-run victim in Orange County has petitioned every city in that county to create a hit-and-run alert system.
“California has the existing alert infrastructure in place and it costs us next to nothing to use it,” said Gatto. “I have no doubt the Yellow Alert System would help apprehend criminals and have them brought to justice.”
In 2013, Gatto authored AB 184, which doubled the statute of limitations to prosecute hit-and-run drivers. In 2014, he authored AB 47 and AB 1532, the latter of which would require mandatory license suspension for anyone convicted of a hit-and-run involving a person. Both bills passed the legislature with overwhelming majorities. Despite the bipartisan support and narrowly tailored language of AB 47, Gov. Brown vetoed the bill in September.
Gatto also has legislation that will help reduce the barriers for on-site water recycling to allow more Californians to participate in safe and sustainable recycled-water practices. AB 1463 was approved by the California State Assembly on a 79-0 vote.
“Having access to recycled water will cut back on the use of drinking water for non-potable tasks such as irrigation, toilet-flushing, and cleaning,” said Gatto. “AB 1463 would help homeowners, businesses, and municipalitiesmeet California’s water-quality standards and water-supply needs.”
This is the latest in a series of efforts by Gatto to increase California’s stewardship of water resources, remove unnecessary barriers to creative technologies, and cut costs to consumers.
“This legislation allows Californians to participate in safe and sustainable water practices,” he said. “Lowering the obstacles for residents and businesses to utilize on-site water recycling systems will help the state and local municipal agencies such as Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena conserve more water.”
AB 1463 continues Gatto’s previous legislative efforts to address California’s water shortage:
- In 2011, the Legislature passed Gatto’s AB 849, which requires cities to permit the use of graywater unless there was a demonstrated threat to public health or the environment.
- In 2012, the Legislature passed Gatto’s AB 2230, requiring all new carwashes to use 60% recycled water by 2014.
- In 2014, Gatto’s AB 2282 established requirements for new buildings in areas served by recycled water systems to be plumbed to use recycled water.
- Earlier this year, the Legislature’s and Gov. Brown’s emergency drought relief package funded Gatto’s CalConserve legislation (AB 2636 became law in 2015), a revolving loan fund for water-use efficiency retrofits.
- Gatto was also a principal co-author of the $7.5 billion water bond approved by voters last November.