SACRAMENTO — A bill to give local officials authority to limit the siting of industrial facilities near schools, hospitals and convalescent homes was approved Thursday by the Senate Toxics and Public Safety Management Committee on a 4-0 vote.
The measure, by Assemblywoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), now goes to the Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Waters argued that special precautions should be taken when locating an industrial facility near a school where hundreds of children may be playing outside.
The proposal also would give the South Coast Air Quality Management District new tools to curb pollution from existing factories using hazardous materials if they are within a quarter-mile of a school, hospital or convalescent home.
Among those who testified in favor of the bill was Sharon Scott, a member of the Bonita Unified School District board. She has sought to toughen current law since January, when noxious acetic acid fumes escaped from a metal plating room at Plato Products Inc. in Glendora and caused 100 children next door at Arma J. Shull School in San Dimas to become ill.
Stephen F. Forsberg, a lobbyist for the California Manufacturers Assn., said his group opposes the bill even though it agrees with Waters' goal. Forsberg told the committee that the measure would give air quality officials too much authority to shut down plants.