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Category: Alex Padilla

Gov. Brown signs bill to help injured college athletes get degrees

GetprevGov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday to help student athletes at UCLA, USC and other colleges get their degrees even if they lose their athletic scholarships because of career-ending injuries on the field.

The measure by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) requires universities that generate more than $10 million in media revenue annually to provide equivalent academic scholarships to student athletes who are injured and lose their sports scholarships, or have exhausted their NCAA athletic eligibility before they have completed their degree.

The bill would apply to UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley  and Stanford, while San Diego State University may also qualify in the future, Padilla said. "With billions of dollars in television revenue gained on the backs of student athletes, it is shameful that so few student athletes actually graduate,” said Padilla, an MIT graduate.

The senator cited NCAA reports that the graduation rate for UCLA’s football players is 40%, and 38% for the USC men’s basketball team. The measure also requires the universities to pay healthcare premiums for low-income students and cover deductibles for sports-related injuries.

For the Cal State system, "there is not a systemwide policy that mandates a school must provide a replacement scholarship'' for injured students, "but they traditionally choose to do so,'' said system spokesman Michael Uhlenkamp. For students who have exhausted their eligibility prior to completing their degree, "the provision of a substitute scholarship is at the discretion of the program,'' he added.

The University of California system also has traditionally provided financial aid to help student athletes stay in school if they are injured, according to Dianne Klein. Padilla said school administrators have chosen to help student athletes in the past, but his SB 1425, would put the requirements into state  law.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee

State Sen. Alex Padilla to head national Latino group

State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) is stepping up onto the national stage with his election to head the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, or NALEOState Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) is stepping up onto the national stage with his election to head a prominent and powerful Latino advocacy group.

Padilla was elected over the weekend as president of the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, which represents more than 6,500 Latino officials throughout the United States.

The organization has so much clout that both President Obama and Mitt Romney, the expected Republican challenger for the presidency, addressed NALEO at the convention where Padilla was elected.

"I am humbled and honored that my colleagues have chosen me to lead this organization during such an exciting and historic time for our community," Padilla said in a statement, adding that he takes over "as the Latino community prepares to play a decisive role this November."

The son of immigrant parents from Mexico, Padilla graduated from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering and served later on the Los Angeles City Council, becoming its first Latino president at the age of 28.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), center with his hands up, celebrates passage of a bill last year to streamline review of a football stadium in Los Angeles. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

State senator wants school boards to have more power in abuse cases

  Getprev

Alarmed by the recent arrests of Los Angeles teachers on suspicion of sex-related crimes, a state lawmaker said Friday that he will introduce legislation to make it easier to remove teachers from the classroom and fire them for misconduct involving students.

State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) said he is working with officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District to draft legislation that addresses cases in which teachers are involved in sex abuse or violence against students. The bill would apply to districts throughout the state.

"It’s surprising and astonishing that a lot of these disciplinary cases can be appealed from the school board to this little-known committee that includes two teachers," Padilla said. "That doesn’t make sense to me. That’s why we elect school board members, and they are the ones we ought to hold accountable. I want to empower them with the finality of personnel decisions."

His proposal would allow an appeal to an administrative law judge, whose finding would only be advisory to the board in sex abuse and violence cases involving minors.

Padilla said his bill would also make it easier for districts to remove teachers from the classroom when they are suspected of misconduct and to put them on leave without pay, with the idea they could get back pay if the charges are proved to be unfounded.

"There is no sense keeping them on the payroll," Padilla said. The senator said he has been working with board member Nury Martinez and introduced a spot bill, SB 1530, last week with the idea of amending it to address school discipline in the next three weeks.

Marla Eby, a spokeswoman for United Teachers Los Angeles, said the union will weigh in when the bill is introduced and the union can review its language.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles), left, wants to give school boards more power in cases involving teachers abusing students. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

 

Brown says he won't delay redevelopment 'funeral'

Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that he would oppose legislation to delay the scheduled elimination of more than 400 redevelopment agencies.

The agencies, which build affordable housing and other projects using property tax dollars, were abolished under a bill signed by Brown last year.

Under a compromise, Brown agreed to reconstruct a smaller version of redevelopment, but that deal was thrown out by the state Supreme Court. 

State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) has introduced legislation that would extend the termination date of the agencies from Feb. 1 to April 15, but Brown dismissed that idea Thursday at Los Angeles City Hall.

 "I don't think we can delay this funeral," Brown said. 

-- Anthony York

L.A. stadium bill introduced, draws criticism

State lawmakers on Friday submitted legislation that would expedite any legal challenges to a proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, and the measure drew objections from some environmentalists in and out of the Legislature.

Assembly Speaker John Perez and state Sen. Alex Padilla, both Democrats from Los Angeles, said their bill would balance the need to uphold environmental laws with they necessity to help a project by Anschutz Entertainment Group that could create more than 10,000 jobs.

"It would pave the way for the most environmentally friendly sports stadium in the country in addition to putting thousands of people to work," said Padilla. Fourteen other Assembly members and 11 senators, both Republicans and Democrats, have signed on as co-authors.

But with just four working days next week to act on legislation for the year, many legislators had not seen the bill's language, and some said they are in no rush to make a decision by Sept. 9,  which AEG has said is necessary to avoid jeopardizing the project.

"I think it's more important that we get it done right than we get it done fast," said Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), chairman of the chamber's Environmental Quality Committee. "Whenever someone tries to sell you something and sets an artificial deadline, it's time to remember the old adage 'buyer beware.'"'

Simitian said he is "encouraged" that the bill does not exempt the stadium from the state environmental laws and requires a full environmental impact report, but he added that "I have not seen a piece of paper" containing the bill's language.

As those details emerged, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who had tentatively supported the idea of an expedited court-review process on Thursday, said there are too many loopholes for the group to support the bill in its current form.

The bill does not contain strong enough language to make sure AEG meets goals for reducing air pollution and traffic congestion in a timely way, said David Pettit, senior attorney with the environmental group.

The deal, as proposed, would "give AEG special treatment in return for things that AEG would need to do anyway," Pettit said in a statement. "This weak, last-minute, backroom deal is a missed opportunity for Los Angeles and a dangerous precedent for California.  It can and should be fixed."

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Padilla opts not to run for L.A. mayor

State Sen. Alex Padilla told The Times on Tuesday that he will stay put rather than enter the race to become Los Angeles' mayor. Our colleagues at L.A. Now have the full story: State Sen. Padilla says he won't run for L.A. mayor

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Meanwhile, two Democratic congressional incumbents have taken leads in undecided California congressional races.

State Sen. Leland Yee took his first steps toward a run for San Francicso mayor on Wednesday, while state Sen. Alex Padilla hinted he may run for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013.

Get the latest on the Jerry Brown transition, the budget and other news on California politics. Follow PolitiCal on Twitter.

Alex Padilla says he's weighing a run for L.A. mayor in 2013

State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) said Wednesday that he is considering running for Los Angeles mayor when the post comes open in 2013.

"I'm definitely looking at it," Padilla said in response to a question at a downtown luncheon meeting of the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.  "Los Angeles is my home."

Padilla, who won election last week to a second four-year term in the  Senate, is a former member of the Los Angeles City Council. He was first elected to the council  in 1999 at age 26. Two years later, he became the first Latino -- and the youngest council member -- to be elected council president.

His acknowledgement that he is interested in the mayor's post came after a talk about the post-election prospects for state leaders to resolve the fast-growing state budget gap and other issues in the coming year.

Padilla predicted that Democratic Gov.-elect Jerry Brown would be more effective in dealing with the polarized, Democrat-dominated Legislature than was Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, not just because of party but also because Brown has vastly more political experience.

Brown has "more of a respect and appreciation for the art of governing," Padilla said. Nonetheless, if Brown "can't get traction" with the Legislature, he won't hesitate to take his initiatives directly to voters, the senator said.

Padilla also said he could envision a scenario in which voters would be asked this spring to choose between two budgets: one made up largely of program cuts and a second combining cuts and measures that would improve revenues.  During the campaign, Brown promised not to raise taxes without voter approval.

-- Jean Merl

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