Tag Archives: Assemblyman Mike Gatto

Children’s Protection from Identity Theft Approved by Governor

Governor Brown signed Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Burbank) legislation to protect children from identity theft.  AB 1580 will allow parents to freeze their children’s credit with bureaus to prevent identity thieves from opening fraudulent credit accounts and ruining their credit scores. 

“In an era where hackers have stolen millions of records including names, birth dates, and social-security numbers belonging to children, AB 1580 will give parents practical tools to protect their child’s financial future,” said Gatto, a member of the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.

Current law allows parents to freeze a child’s credit only after the child has become a victim of identity fraud.  However, because children don’t typically have accounts or check their FICO scores, the damage caused by identity thieves is often not discovered until years later, when a child applies for a student loan, a job, or a credit card. 

“Children start out with a clean slate, which has made them the most sought-after target for cybercriminals.  In fact, a recent child-identity theft study found that 10.2% of the children in the study had someone else using their social-security number; a rate 51 times higher than adults in the same population sample,” said AB 1580 co-author, Asm. Jacqui Irwin.

“California needs to protect its youngest citizens.  This change is long overdue,” said Gatto.

Gatto Introduces Legislation to Curb Fraudulent Disability Placard Use

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) introduced legislation to address the illegal use of disabled parking placards in cities across California.  Today, there are approximately three million disabled parking placards in use in California—in other words, one in every eight drivers has one.  While placards are most often used responsibly and for legitimate reasons, irresponsible and fraudulent placard use has become a significant concern.

AB 2602 will force the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to proactively retrieve expired parking placards, require individuals to reapply for parking placards upon expiration, and allow local jurisdictions to charge motorists displaying placards for the cost of parking, as long as the city offers sufficient, genuine parking options for disabled individuals.

“California has been a leader among the states in providing equal opportunities to individuals with disabilities,” said Gatto.  “However, there are people who are trying to game the system and are taking parking away for every person struggling with a disability.”

Multiple news investigations have caught swindlers in the Los Angeles area using placards belonging to friends and relatives, including a deceased relative and a disabled sibling.  Other investigative reports showed hidden-camera footage of people fraudulently using placards at an airport, at meters in front of the gym they worked out, and of a man selling placards on Craigslist.

“AB 2602 will benefit the disabled by making sure that those who genuinely need a parking spot have access to one, instead of that spot being taken up by someone committing fraud on the system,” Gatto stated.  “This is an important bill for making sure our parking system is fair for everyone.”

Gatto Introduces Bill Giving Law Enforcement Resources to Investigate Cold Cases

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) introduced legislation to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to investigate cold cases in which DNA evidence is present.  The legislation, AB 2440, provides needed funding for law enforcement agencies that will be used to help link stored DNA samples to biological evidence from cold cases.  DNA is most often used to solve rapes and murders.

“State mandates have put pressure on law enforcement to expedite criminal investigations in which DNA has been collected,” said Gatto.  “However, massive budget and personnel cuts have strained law enforcement agencies, and criminals who might otherwise be identified through DNA hits remain free to commit additional crimes.”

Technological advances have sparked an increase in the amount of DNA evidence that can be identified and processed, and this has the potential to solve cold cases.  However, there isn’t sufficient local funding to support follow-up investigations for these serious crimes.   

AB 2440 will add an additional penalty of $4 to every $10 of every criminal fine, excluding traffic infractions.  These new funds will also be available to help law enforcement investigate cases in which a DNA match has resulted in the identification of a suspect or a match to DNA profile from another crime scene.

“No cold case in California with clear DNA evidence should go unsolved solely because of a lack of funding.  AB 2440 will and help bring closure to victims, and take criminals off the street,” said Gatto.

Gatto Proposes Student Privacy Reforms in Wake of Data Dump Ruling

California State Assemblymembers Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) today proposed new student privacy protections to ensure that students’ personal information like Social Security Numbers are appropriately protected at the school district level. The legislation is prompted by a recent decision to turn over the records of 10 million California public school students to a private organization.

A recent ruling in Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association, et al. v. California Department of Education compelled the school system to provide sensitive information  – including social security numbers, mental health and medical information – for students dating back to 2008 to a parents group in Santa Clara County. Assembly Bill 2097 would prohibit school districts from gathering social security numbers and other sensitive unnecessary information for students except where required by federal law.

“As a mom, I’ve seen my kids’ schools over the years request social security numbers, medical information, and other private information that they don’t need or have a right to,” Gonzalez said. “Rather than expecting parents to have the knowledge and capacity to fight to protect their child’s privacy, we should get schools out of the business of asking in the first place.”

“Our school districts are collecting personal information about our children that is neither legally required nor necessary for their education,” Melendez said. “With identity theft at an all-time high, our focus should be on protecting our students, not exposing their personal information unnecessarily”

“During an era of omnipresent intrusion in our lives and increasingly frequent data breaches, all levels of government should be taking steps to safeguard our sensitive, personal information—especially where it involves our children,” Gatto said.

The authors of AB 2097 today also called on California school districts to proactively provide the existing objection form provided by the California Department of Education to parents, and encourage parents to take advantage of the opportunity to lodge their objection to this exposure of personal and private information about their children across the state.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto Looking for the Right Woman

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) invites the community to submit nominations for California’s 2016 Woman of the Year awards.  March is Women’s History Month in California and the State Legislature is holding an awards ceremony in Sacramento.

“These awards are a great time to honor the hard work and dedication of the women who contribute to the 43rd Assembly District,” said Gatto. “While we honor these women year-round, this is a special opportunity to thank them for the work they do in our community.”

Nominees should demonstrate their dedication to the community through their work or volunteer efforts.

Nominations should include the following:

  • Name;
  • A specific list of her accomplishments;
  • Contact information (home address, phone number and email address); and
  • Nominator’s contact information.

Nominations can be sent to assemblymember.gatto@assembly.ca.gov.  The deadline is Feb. 15, 2016.

Gatto Proposes Parking Bill of Rights

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) announced a package of reforms that will make parking policy more fair and affordable for California motorists.  The California Parking Bill of Rights will change substantially how cities and other local governments manage and enforce parking laws, providing relief from unjust citations.  The legislation is designed to make life a little easier, by prohibiting some of the most vexing practices.  The reforms include:

  • Prohibiting cities from ticketing motorists who park at broken meters.  The current law governing this  (authored by Gatto in 2013) “sunsets” (expires) at the end of 2016.
  • Prohibiting valet-parking operators from excluding motorists from metered spots or loading zones.
  • Prohibiting cities from hiring private companies to act as parking “bounty hunters.”
  • Requiring cities to promptly make spaces available to motorists after street-sweeping activities have concluded.
  • Requiring cities, when installing new high-tech meters, to allow demand-based pricing.  Motorists should not be required to pay the same fare at 11:00 pm that would be required at 11:00 am.
    • Reducing the ability of tow companies to fine individuals for cars illegally parked due to criminal activity that was no fault of the owner.  Car-theft victims shouldn’t face high towing and storage bills because a car was dumped on a city street.

“Occasionally the state needs to step in and remind our local governments that parking a vehicle should be an efficient practice, and not another big hassle designed to separate motorists from their money,” said Gatto.  “These simple and practical policy changes will make life easier for Californians who just want to park their cars and go about their business.”

Gatto Named Chair of Utilities & Commerce Committee

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) was appointed chairman of the Assembly’s formidable Utilities and Commerce Committee, overseeing legislation that regulates public utilities, natural gas, energy (including renewable energy), common carriers, entities like Uber/Lyft, and general commerce in the state.  He replaces Assembly Speaker designee Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood).

“I thank Speaker Atkins and my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to serve as chairman of this key committee,” said Gatto.  “I’m looking forward to continuing my predecessor’s excellent work, and ensuring that we craft sound policies in these critical subject areas.”

Chairman Gatto also announced that the committee will open an inquiry into the Porter Ranch gas leak, and hold a hearing in the same Los Angeles suburb, where residents have been coping with noxious fumes for months.

“The people have questions regarding how this could happen and whether there is a risk that it could happen again,” said Gatto.  “It is up to those of us who represent the people to find some answers.”

This will be Gatto’s third chairmanship.  He previously served as Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations (which sets legislative fiscal policy), and the Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection & Privacy.   Gatto has also served as Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore.

Mike Gatto Presents “Investing in California Awards” Grants to Burbank Non-Profits

Pictured from L to R: JC Holt (YMCA Burbank) Trena Pitchford (Burbank Arts For All) Damian Kevitt (Streets Are For Everyone) Ariel Van Pelt (Friends of the LA River). Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Pictured from L to R: JC Holt (YMCA Burbank) Trena Pitchford (Burbank Arts For All) Damian Kevitt (Streets Are For Everyone) Ariel Van Pelt (Friends of the LA River).
Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Assemblyman Gatto, on behalf AT&T, presented grant checks to non-profits that serve the communities of the 43rd District.  Out of the numerous grant applicants, two from Burbank, the Burbank YMCA and Burbank Arts for All were each selected to receive a $1,250 grant. Finish the Ride, and the Friends of the LA River also received grants.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

(Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

AT&T California has created a new giving program called the “Investing in California Awards.”  The purpose of the program is to provide resources and recognition to organizations and programs that are improving lives in their communities and the state by advancing economic growth, educational opportunities or new technologies, or by providing other essential community services.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s nominations focused on non-profits organizations that have made valuable contributions in the local community. All of the grant recipients have played an instrumental role in the quality of life of residents in the 43rd District.

Trena Pitchford (Burbank Arts For All)  (Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

(Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

Gatto’s Bill to Protect Water-Conscious Residents from Government Fines Now Law

Today, Governor Brown signed AB 1164, legislation that will prohibit local governments from banning water-conscious landscaping at private residences while preserving the ability of cities and counties to set aesthetic and environmental standards.  As California enters its fourth consecutive drought year, Assemblyman Gatto wants to protect homeowners who install water-efficient landscaping, and encourage others looking reduce urban water use to do the same.

In some California cities, including Glendale, local ordinances limiting the installation of drought-tolerant landscaping prevent homeowners from doing their part to save water during the drought.  When Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank), the principal co-author of last year’s California Water Bond and numerous other water-efficiency bills, heard from constituents that cities in his district were fining residents for replacing water-intensive lawns with realistic looking synthetic grass, he amended AB 1164 to provide relief to residents.

“Californians are doing their best to protect our state’s precious water resources when they spend their own hard-earned money to invest in water-efficient technologies,” said Gatto.  “Intruding on a homeowner’s private property and fining them for doing the right thing sends the wrong message and is counterproductive to our water-saving efforts.”

Homeowners attempting to install drought-tolerant landscaping have come up against a number of barriers throughout the state, from bans on artificial turf to requirements that a landscape be completely covered in live-plant material.  The installation of drought tolerant landscaping necessitates the use of a variety of materials including mulch, hardscape, and live plants and this bill seeks to equip homeowners with as many tools as possible to save water. Additionally, AB 1164 recognizes and affirms the ability of cities and counties to set appropriate standards for the use of drought-tolerant landscaping, synthetic grass, or artificial turf, including water-permeability requirements and limitations on how much land may be covered by certain types of materials.

AB 1164 is Assemblyman Gatto’s latest in a years-long series of bills aimed at water conservation.  Last year, he authored AB 2282, which required California to adopt building standards for recycled water in newly constructed commercial and residential buildings.  That same year, Gatto carried AB 2636, a measure that created the CalConserve program, a $10 million revolving-loan program to finance water-efficiency projects for home owners and businesses.  Other water-efficiency legislation by Gatto includes AB 2230 (2012), which requires all new carwashes to use 60% recycled water, and AB 849 (2011), which fostered the use of graywater technology. Both bills are considered pioneering legislation drafted with forethought and prior to the drought.

“AB 1164 empowers Californians to conserve water,” explained Gatto.  “With 60% of residential water going to lawns and other outdoor uses, it’s time for government to stop being part of the problem.  This legislation will allow water-conscious residents to diversify their water-saving efforts.”

The legislation will take effect immediately.

Gatto’s Bill to Keep Your TV from Spying on You Now Law

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank), joined by members of his committee on Consumer Protection and Privacy, authored AB 1116, a bill to protect Californians from television voice-recognition features that could surreptitiously record private conversations in the home.  Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed the measure which also prevents private conversations from being used or sold for advertising purposes.

The bill will require manufacturers to ensure that users of internet-connected televisions are prominently informed that their voices may be recorded and transmitted back to the manufacturers or third-party providers.  AB 1116 also prohibits manufacturers from using or selling for advertising purposes, any voice recordings collected for the purposes of refining the voice recognition feature of a television.  As such, it preserves the ability to control a television with voice commands, or to do a Google search using a television, but prohibits manufacturers from using recorded speech to generate targeted advertisements.

“Smart TVs and voice-recognition technologies are innovative and convenient tools, but giving up our right to privacy in the home because we want to utilize voice-command features to change the channel is simply unacceptable,” said Gatto.

Much to the dismay of civil libertarians, reports have surfaced that televisions can record and transmit private conversations back to the manufacturer or a third-party without the knowledge of the user.  While some manufacturers have inconspicuous warnings tucked away in their user manuals, consumers are largely unaware that what they say can be monitored, recorded, and transmitted to a third party, say, for targeted advertising.  “It might be a little creepy if the family discussing financial issues finds themselves receiving targeted commercials from bankruptcy attorneys as they watch their favorite show,” said Gatto.

“AB 1116 will give the consumer the ability to individually determine the level of privacy protections inside their home,” Gatto said.  “We’re not trying to stymie technological advances or fetter profit margins.  The television industry has survived for over half a century without knowing what I said to my wife during an episode of The Bachelor.”

The law will take effect January 1, 2016.