Portantino Tabbed to Chair Senate Appropriations Committee

State Sen. Anthony Portantino
State Sen. Anthony Portantino

State Sen. Anthony Portantino will have a more substantive say in deciding the fate of hundreds of bills working their way through the California Legislature.
The La Cañada Flintridge resident was appointed to serve as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.
Toni Atkins, California Senate president pro tem, announced Portantino’s new assignment last week and the Senate Rules Committee formalized the appointment Monday.
“I’m excited,” Portantino said Monday by phone. “It’s obviously an important part of the legislative process. A significant amount of policy goes through the Appropriations Committee, and it means I’ll have input into the direction the Legislature goes. It’s an honor to be trusted with that position.”
The Appropriations Committee evaluates hundreds of Senate and Assembly bills each legislative session, determining their respective costs and fiscal impact before deciding whether to move forward with a bill or to hold it in committee.
“Any bill that has a fiscal component to it goes to the Appropriations Committee, and almost every piece of legislation has a financial component to it, so it’s exciting,” said Portantino, who also is pleased with the progress of some of his recent legislative efforts.
“We have a healthy agenda moving forward and I’m excited to be in a position to do even more,” he said.
A bill Portantino authored to address residential burglaries passed the state Senate last week. Senate Bill 1266 would require those who have been convicted of committing burglary offenses to wear a GPS ankle monitor as a condition of parole.
“That’s a very important bill for people in that area of the Foothills,” Portantino said.
His suicide prevention legislation passed in the Senate with bipartisan support in April and made it through the Assembly’s Education Policy Committee on Wednesday. SB 972 would require public, charter and private schools to print a suicide prevention hotline number or a text crisis line on student identification cards for students between 7th grade and college.
“Obviously, with the horrible Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade suicides, my suicide prevention efforts feel more important now than ever,” said Portantino, whose brother Michael died of suicide in 2010. “We really have to have a collective strategy and response to mental health problems, we have to treat it much more openly and honestly and aggressively.”
Portantino also penned a pair of water-quality bills that passed the senate in late-May. SB 1422 and 1263 aim to improve the knowledge of risks that microplastic materials and microfibers pose to the marine environment and drinking water.
SB 1263 would require the Ocean Protection Council to implement a statewide microplastics strategy. SB 1422 would task the State Water Resources Control Board with adopting requirements for the annual testing and reporting of the amount of microplastics in drinking water.
Also, Portantino said he was thrilled to receive an honorary service award last month from the First District PTA, which represents more than 80,000 members in more than 270 school PTAs and 22 local PTA Councils across the San Gabriel Valley.
“First District PTA has been proud to partner with Sen. Portantino on a number of local initiatives, including SB 328, for the late start of middle schools and high schools,” said First District PTA President Sandy Russell, who lives in LCF, in a statement. “We know Anthony shares our passion for public education and joins us in wanting every child to reach his or her potential.”

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