Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a meeting in Long Beach, Calif. (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed bills that will ease the state's sale of potentially hundreds of surplus homes in Los Angeles County, outlaw an Internet trend known as "revenge porn" and help the state implement the Affordable Care Act.
The governor signed 36 bills, including a measure that would allow Caltrans to fast-track the sale of properties that are no longer needed for the long-stalled project to extend the 710 Freeway from Alhambra to Pasadena.
Since the 1970s, Caltrans has bought 460 properties in the area. But a 4.5-mile freeway extension bogged down in political and community opposition.
Transportation officials are close to deciding an alternative for the route that could include building tunnels or no project at all. Caltrans officials said Tuesday that once the decision is made on which alternative to pursue, it will figure out how many of the properties can be sold.
Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) introduced the measure signed by the governor after an audit found that Caltrans was mismanaging its properties, failing to properly maintain them and not collecting market rents.
"Now Caltrans can start getting out of the real estate business, raise more revenue for transportation projects and return these properties to local tax rolls," Liu said Tuesday after the signing of SB 416.
Caltrans will sell surplus homes methodically over time, said Robert Oakes, a spokesman for Liu. "They are not going to flood the market," he said.
Brown also signed a measure criminalizing a practice dubbed by lawmakers as "revenge porn," in which a person electronically distributes or posts on the Internet nude pictures of an ex-romantic partner after a breakup to shame the person in public.
Under the bill by Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), those convicted of illegally distributing private images with the intent to harass or annoy face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
"Until now, there was no tool for law enforcement to protect victims," Cannella said. "Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted." SB 255 takes effect immediately.
Brown also signed 10 healthcare bills Tuesday, including some that help the state transition to the health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Among them are measures that extend healthcare tax breaks to same-sex couples, require school districts that offer discounted meals to poor students to notify parents about expanded healthcare options, and ensure that new state insurance contracts are subject to state open-records laws.
"While extreme radicals in Washington shut down our government, here in California we're taking action to extend decent healthcare to millions of families," Brown said in a statement.