File photoThe Rick Barry free-throw technique.

Kids are priority for Ammiano in Capitol

In 2009, the Capitol Weekly published a “Legislative Scorecard” ranking all members of the state Assembly and Senate. On a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the most liberal, San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano scored a perfect 100. First elected to the Assembly in 2008, Ammiano is unflinchingly and unapologetically progressive. As part three of our four-part series examining what our local representatives are doing in Sacramento, we look at what bills were signed into law in 2012 that came from the desk of Ammiano.

This year, Ammiano did some great favors for his home district, carrying legislation to pave the way for financing Port improvements (for the America’s Cup) and allowing The City to use the seawall lot at Broadway and Front streets to benefit affordable housing. I’m sure political consultants rejoiced when Gov. Jerry Brown signed Ammiano’s bill to allow electronic-only filing of local campaign disclosures. And after the state Department of Motor Vehicles stopped sharing information with the city attorney, Ammiano passed a bill giving the city attorney access to the department’s collection of data and unflattering pictures.

A former teacher and member of the San Francisco Board of Education, Ammiano has long been an advocate for children, and foster children in particular. This year was no different, as he sponsored a law requiring a foster child’s attorney and social worker to be notified if the child is facing possible suspension or expulsion from school.

He also sponsored a law requiring foster parents and other guardians to be given “instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best practices for, providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.”

Ammiano sponsored two other new laws that affect all children, but disproportionately impact foster children.

One requires school principals and administrators to consider alternatives before resorting to suspension and expulsion for student misbehavior. (It allows exceptions for violence and other egregious acts.) The other removes the names of people from a database of child abusers if the abuse took place while the offender was a minor and 10 years have passed without any subsequent reports to the database.

Recently re-elected to the Assembly in a landslide Nov. 6, Ammiano will serve two more years in the Assembly before he is termed out in 2014. The race to replace him will be complicated by the fact that redistricting added some moderate neighborhoods to his district. Until then, Ammiano will happily continue to score 100 on the liberal scale.

Quote of the Week

“It’s like the Rick Barry free-throw technique. It works for him. It looks a little funny, but it works. … And I’m not sure it can be replicated by anyone else.”

— Jason Kinney, political consultant with California Strategies, at a post-election panel discussion comparing Gov. Jerry Brown’s unconventional approach to campaigning for Proposition 30 to retired Warriors star Rick Barry,
who famously shot free throws underhanded in what was mockingly called a granny shot.

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