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City goes on record against proposed state legislation
City Council wants to weigh in on bills
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The city of Ceres is officially on record in opposition of two bills in Sacramento which affect homeless persons and who may sell medical cannabis.

It won't be the first and last time the city will be weighing in bills that impact Ceres. Last month Ceres city officials decided to step up their input on legislation they feel would undermine the role of the city or cause undo hardships.

Because a total of 1,379 bills have been introduced in the Assembly and 704 bills in the Senate, the city will be relying on the League of California Cities and the city attorney's staff to monitor and track those issues that may impact the Ceres. In addition, for the November 2016 ballot, 66 initiatives and referenda have been cleared to collect signatures.

SB 876, authored by Carol Liu, a Democrat from Southern California, preempts local authority to address issues affecting homeless persons living in public spaces and on private property that is held open to the public, including not limited to, plazas, courtyards, parking lots, sidewalks, public transportation facilities, public buildings, shopping centers and parks. Some cities have outlawed resting, sleeping or receiving nourishment in public spaces.

City Manager Toby Wells said the measure is well intentioned but he said cities must continue to be able to protect the public, health, safety and welfare of their communities.

"We do not believe this measure will make a positive impact in the effort to address chronic homelessness," wrote Wells. He said that the key to getting people off of the streets is to provide more shelter with the need for the state to provide funding for permanent housing beds and accompanying social services such as mental health treatment, job training, and addiction counseling, etc.

The city also opposes AB 2613 authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, that would weaken the rules on state licensing of medical cannabis dealers.

AB 2614 would prevent the Department of Consumer Affairs from denying a state license to a person with an out-of-state conviction. It provides that such a conviction cannot be the sole basis for denial of a license, if it did not include a period of incarceration, and if a local jurisdiction is aware of the conviction and is nonetheless willing to issue a local permit or other authorization.

Under current law, the state has discretion to approve or deny a license based on an out-of-state conviction. This is the standard rule for state licensing entities, said Wells, but AB 2614 seeks to change that, by "infringing on a state licensing entity's discretion for the benefit of a tiny handful of individuals who have grown rich selling marijuana. This is unprecedented in California law. Such a rule has never applied to any other category of state licensing."