Share this story

[Sassy_Social_Share]


Assemblywoman shares first look at upcoming work, local issues

By SARA HALL

A community meeting last week focused on a local representative sharing some of the latest news out of Sacramento.

The LB Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee held their monthly meeting via Zoom on Thursday (Jan. 4) with Assemblywoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach) as the featured speaker. More than a dozen people attended online. Dixon, former Newport Beach mayor and councilmember, represents the 72nd Assembly District, which covers Laguna Beach.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of the Office of Assemblywoman Diane Dixon

Assemblywoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach)

Dixon noted that while Thursday was technically the second day the State Assembly met, nothing got done the first day due to the legislative session being adjourned early after protestors interrupted the proceedings. While they weren’t working on any “major pieces of legislation” and the day was more about getting organized, it still stopped the process of government, she said.

Although the first day abruptly ended, Dixon already introduced two bills, both related to e-bikes: AB 1773 and AB 1774.

“I anticipate there’s going to be a lot more e-bike-related proposals,” she said.

Early last year, Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine) introduced (which was later passed) Senate Bill (SB) 381, which authorized a study on best practices for improving the safety and use of electric bicycles and similar types of vehicles. That study won’t be concluded until later this year, Dixon noted.

“In the meantime, everybody’s waiting for some kind of enforcement mechanism, so I’m chipping away at a little bit (of that issue),” she said.

AB 1773 gives local jurisdictions more enforcement authority on beach boardwalks and AB 1774 focuses on limiting the high speeds of e-bikes.

“The current law talks only about bikes on sidewalks, so I’m going to expand that to include bikes on boardwalks,” she explained. “The second bill gives cities – and the state – (authority) to enforce these speed modification kits that are sold and to prohibit the sale (of the kits).”

The after-market kits can adjust the speed control mechanism on e-bikes, she explained.

“It’ll be the first of many attempts,” Dixon said, noting that others are looking at rules regarding helmets, rider training and other safety factors. “There’s a lot to deal with (concerning) e-bikes.”

Dixon also mentioned that she recently met with Laguna Beach officials and got caught up in the issues that are important to the city, including undergrounding utility lines/poles along Laguna Canyon Road. City Council is slated to hear a project update, discuss potential funding opportunities and consider the city’s next steps during the council meeting tonight.

“I’m certainly supportive of that and working with (Southern California) Edison,” Dixon said at last week’s meeting.

Although she doesn’t have “high hopes” that SCE will fund the project, but is cautiously optimistic that they will endorse the effort for the city to approach the state regarding the emergency operations issue.

She also learned about the onerous challenges the city has encountered in the permitting process through the California Coastal Commission to clear the fuel lines in wildfire zones. They have to return to the CCC every time the city needs to clear an area, Dixon explained, so they’re looking into a “master permit” idea.

“I hope I can be supportive through some legislation to speed up that process,” she added.

She also heard about another important issue regarding the state regulations on height limits and what Laguna Beach requires for accessory dwelling units. Dixon noted potential legislation that would allow for exceptions when cities are in compliance (housing element, zoning, etc.) to give them some breathing room.

On Thursday, Dixon also mentioned some of the committees she serves on, including her new seat on the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization, which is a highly desirable, broader and bigger group compared to the Local Government Committee, which she is no longer a member of due to meeting schedule conflicts.

She also encouraged residents to reach out to her office with important local issues and to monitor those topics. It’s important that representatives receive and read letters of support or opposition to specific pieces of legislation, she noted.

“I want to hear from you. Tell me what I need to know,” Dixon said. “It’s really, really important that local businesses, local government, local people are activists to protect what’s important to you. I can’t emphasize that enough.”

~~~~~~~~

Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Laguna.

Send this to a friend