March 2015 Newsletter

March 30, 2015

MEET ME

I am continuing my series of informal community coffees with the residents of Senate District 15. The coffees allow people with a state-related question or concern to meet with me for a one-on-one dialogue.

Community Coffee with Senator Jim Beall
Thursday, April 2; 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Panera Bread, 2199 Monterey Highway, Suite 80, San Jose

Please be aware that because of the popularity of these coffees, your time with me may be limited in order for me to meet with everyone. The meetings are on a first come, first served basis.

In order to enable my staff to appropriately budget time for the individual meetings, please RSVP, click here.



FOSTER CARE DOCUMENTARY

Improving the foster care for the thousands of neglected and abused children who enter the system in California has been a high priority for me for over a generation.

Five years ago while in the state Assembly, I introduced AB 12, landmark legislation that extended to eligible foster care youth beyond age 18 to 21 to provide critical and basic support such as stable housing so they could attend college.

This year, I have authored Senate bills 319 and 484 to increase oversight of the administration of psychotropic drugs to foster youth.

SB 484 is designed to identify group homes that appear to rely on psychotropic medications as the first-line or only treatment and require those with the highest rates of medication to reduce those rates and adopt alternative, less invasive treatment approaches.

SB 319 mandates psychotropic drugs to be recorded on all foster youths' health passports so that as foster youths move, their medical histories and psychotropic drug use also moves with them to provide health professionals and caregivers access to this important information. The bill also utilizes public health nurses to oversee the medical monitoring of foster youth psychotropic drug use.

I will take part in a discussion panel about the over-medication of foster care children on Thursday, March 26, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 S. Market St., in San Jose.

The discussion follows the screening of "Drugging Our Kids,'' a documentary film by Mercury News staffers Dai Sugano and Karen de Sá that investigates the use of psychiatric medications on foster youth. Admission is free.



WORKING TO MAKE A SAFER NEIGHBORHOOD

The Communications Hill stairway, a climb of more than 200 steps, rewards visitors with a scenic view of San Jose. But the path is also a popular destination for troublemakers who engage in noisy bouts of all-night drinking, littering, loitering, and more.

Working with city of San Jose officials, I introduced Senate Bill 236 in February to give the city the authority to establish a curfew for the stairway to curb the illegal activity that has generated complaints from numerous residents.

I authored the bill because the neighborhood has a special problem that can only be fixed through legislation. Under the state Vehicle Code, the stairway is considered a dedicated pedestrian right of way and therefore accessible all hours to the public.

The bill would amend the code to permit San Jose to regulate the hours of access to this stairway.



CORRECTING AN INJUSTICE

Last year, I introduced and got passed Senate Resolution 46 urging the California Supreme Court to posthumously grant a law license to Hong Yen Chang. Chang, a Chinese immigrant who earned a Columbia Law School degree, was denied admission to the California state bar in 1890 simply because of his race.

A campaign by the UC Davis Asian Pacific Law School Students Association finally brought the issue to the court. This month, the justices issued a published opinion granting "posthumous admission as an attorney and counselor at law in all courts of the state of California."

"It is past time to acknowledge that the discriminatory exclusion of Chang from the State Bar of California was a grievous wrong," the opinion said.

Some people may question why we should redress an injustice that occurred more than 120 years ago. My reply is that history matters.

By granting Chang a law license, the state's highest court has stated unequivocally that California will not tolerate discrimination.