Tax relief for military retirees advances to Assembly floor for first time after several failed efforts in recent years
SACRAMENTO—Legislation by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino) ranging from tax exemptions for military retirees to public safety on tribal lands to measures to preventing fentanyl overdose deaths on state community college and California State University campuses have cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s Suspense file. The approved measures will next be heard by the full 80-member Assembly in the coming weeks.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee approved the following bills:
- AB 46 (Tax Exemption for Military Retirees’ Pensions): Provides a state tax exemption for retired members of the Armed Forces and also exempts recipients of the Department of Defense’s Survivor Benefits Program. California currently is the only state that fully taxes the pay of its 146,000 military retirees.
- AB 44 (Tribal Law Enforcement, California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System):
Takes the first steps in creating parity for tribal law enforcement with other peace officers in the state. AB 44 grants both tribal police and tribal courts access to CLETS, empowering tribes to help secure their own public safety.
- AB 461 (Fentanyl Test Strips): Requires California community colleges and California State University campuses to stock fentanyl test strips at a campus health center and provide information about how to properly use them. This bill would also request the Regents of the University of California to take similar action.
- AB 226 (UC Repatriation Audit): Urges the University of California on or before June 30, 2024 and annually thereafter to report to the Assembly Higher Education Committee on its progress in repatriation of Native American remains pursuant to the California Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 2001. AB 226 also urges the Office of the President of the University of California to provide available funding to sufficiently support repatriation efforts.
- AB 273 (Missing Tribal Foster Children Notification): Requires a social worker or probation officer to notify family members, court appointed counsel, tribes and tribal representatives, and the court of jurisdiction when a tribal child or non-minor dependent is missing. AB 273 also requires county social workers/probation officers, courts, and other supportive adults to work collaboratively to locate, place, and stabilize children and youth when the missing are found. The bill urges a focus on the inclusion of tribes and tribal representatives to address the crisis of missing indigenous youth.
- AB 1508 (First Time Home Buyers): Directs the Department of Housing and Community Development to update the Statewide Housing Plan to include recommendations to increase homeownership for first time home buyers who have been disproportionately impacted by California’s ongoing housing crisis.
Other Ramos bills in the Appropriations Committee that remain active but will not move forward this year are:
- AB 685 (California Youth Workforce): Establishes the #CaliforniansForAll Youth Job Corps Program (Youth Job Corps) in statute and requires California Volunteers, upon appropriation, to expand the program.
- AB 1284 (Tribal Ancestral Lands and Waters): Would allow federally recognized tribes in California to enter into co-governance and management agreements with the state Natural Resources Agency and give authority for the agency to do so as well.
- AB 1748 (Warehouse Siting Regulations for San Bernardino and Riverside Counties): Requires local agencies to implement a 300-foot minimum setback for qualifying logistic facilities that include 400,000 square feet of building space. Also requires other landscape buffer requirements next to sensitive receptors such as schools, parks, and hospitals. Such requirements are commonly referred to as a good neighbor policy or sustainability ordinance.
Assemblymember James C. Ramos proudly represents the 45th Assembly district which includes the cities of Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in state Legislature. Ramos chairs the Assembly Committees on Rules.