New Year, New Round of Bill Introductions

We’re quickly approaching the deadline for members in both the California State Assembly and Senate to introduce their bills for 2022. By the time the Feb. 18 deadline has passed, we’ll likely see the introduction of over 1,500 new bills. Of course, not all of them will be fully developed; some will not survive their first committee hearing, let alone all the other stops and votes they will need before the legislature adjourns at the end of August.

As I have done since my first year in office, I am continuing to focus my legislative package on three main arenas: addressing climate change and building sustainable and resilient communities, protecting vulnerable Californians, and addressing our housing and homelessness crisis. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about some of the bills that I’ll be working on this year.

Our transportation sector is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions and a major driver of climate change. As the chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, I’m working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reduce our emissions, boost alternative energy sources, like offshore wind, and make transit and active transportation, such as biking and walking, safer and easier options.

The evidence is clear that increasing options for active transportation has a positive impact on our environment and our health. Switching from a car to a bicycle saves 150g of CO2 emissions per kilometer traveled, a significant reduction when accounting for bicycle ridership in California. Additionally, biking is closely linked to health benefits such as decreased risk of developing cancer and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Currently one of the largest barriers to riding a bicycle is safety concerns. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California saw 3.9 fatal accidents per 1 million residents from 2016-18, the sixth highest fatality rate in the country. When it comes to keeping cyclists safe on our roadways, we can do better and that’s why I’ve introduced AB 1909. The bill will ease restrictions on e-bikes so that they can take full advantage of our existing bike trails and strengthen our traffic safety laws to protect cyclists, whether they’re moving through a busy intersection or traveling along Chevy Chase Drive.

Building on my work from last year to allow communities more control over speed limits, I’m also working on legislation that will allow cities to crack down on egregious speeding and reckless driving by utilizing speed cameras in areas with a history of accidents. When used in conjunction with education and traffic engineering, speed cameras can significantly reduce speeding, improve traffic safety and prevent traffic-related fatalities and injuries, including roadway worker fatalities.

In addition to transportation, I’ve introduced bills to clean up our environment and eliminate harmful chemicals from everyday products. My bill, AB 2026, will phase out single-use plastic packaging from e-commerce. The amount of non-recyclable plastic being used in packaging continues to skyrocket and its impacts on our environment are disturbing and costly for taxpayers. These plastics used for a very short period of time are ending up in our waterways, clogging our waste systems and, worst of all, they’ll take centuries to degrade.

The impact of single-use plastic also impacts our pocketbooks. Most municipal recycling programs in California do not accept shipping envelopes, plastic air pillows, bubble wrap or expanded polystyrene (including packing peanuts and molded foam). This plastic waste increases disposal costs for local communities, their residents and businesses. As we continue to shift more toward online retailers, we have to ensure they’re operating sustainably and I’m working with those retailers to find a solution that helps them transition to sustainable packaging materials.

Last year, I was successful in passing AB 652 that phases out a class of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in products designed for children. Studies have shown that PFAS chemicals not only linger in our environment and bodies, they’re carcinogenic and harm our immune and reproductive systems. Many of them are so toxic that in many countries they’re outright banned. This year, I’m authoring legislation to prohibit the use of PFAS chemicals in personal care products. Chemicals that are known to be toxic simply have no place in the moisturizers, lipsticks, cleansers and other products that Californians use every day.

Finally, I’m continuing my effort to improve health care affordability. We’ve taken steps over the past several years to expand health care coverage options, but having health insurance isn’t enough if the copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs delay patients from seeking care or prevent them from getting the treatment that they need.

That’s why I’ve introduced AB 2024, which requires health plans to cover advanced diagnostic image screenings, like breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with the same cost sharing as general screenings, if a health care provider determines the scan is necessary. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health plans are already required to cover screening mammograms and keeping the tests affordable is key to detecting cancer and starting treatment earlier. However, in cases when a patient’s initial screening indicates a need for further testing, the out-of-pocket costs can lead to delays in treatment and ultimately more expensive treatment in the long run, along with worse health outcomes.

A woman whose doctor fears she might have breast cancer shouldn’t put off a diagnostic test because of cost concerns. No one should have to choose between paying their utility bill and paying a co-pay for a critical medical test. As a breast cancer survivor, I know firsthand the importance of having access to comprehensive screening and treatment; I might not be here today if my treatment had been delayed. It’s well past time for every Californian to have affordable access to the care that they need.  

I’m looking forward to sharing more information about these bills and hearing your perspective on these issues and more in the weeks and months ahead.

As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on our budget, legislation or any general comments or concerns. You can reach my district office at (818) 558-3043 or by email at

Laura Friedman 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.