SACRAMENTO – The California Senate Appropriations Committee has given the green light to measures by Sen. Scott Wilk addressing foster youth enrichment grants, homelessness and treatment/probation for individuals convicted of animal abuse.
These measures will now go to the Senate Floor for consideration, according to a news release Friday from Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who represents the state’s 21st Senate District.
Senate Bill 219 (SB 219) creates a pilot program for foster youth to receive grants for extracurricular and enrichment activities. Specifically, this change would make a tremendous difference in the lives of Antelope Valley foster youth, as one out of every three foster youth in LA resides in the AV. In a system that puts foster youth at a disadvantage, the California legislature owes it to these youth to afford them every opportunity possible.
“This will help ensure foster youth are able to enjoy normal childhood activities. Working with the Youth Law Center, the bill’s sponsor, we hope to fill this important gap and take the first step in making these opportunities affordable and accessible to foster youth,” Wilk said in a statement.
Senate Bill 333 (SB 333) addresses California’s homeless crisis by requiring the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to develop and implement a long-term, strategic plan to combat homelessness across the state, complete with specific goals and benchmarks.
“Too many Californians are forced to live in such miserable, inhumane conditions, especially in areas like the high desert with extreme weather conditions,” Wilk said. “My bill will allow the state to take a significant step forward in ending this crisis and getting our most vulnerable community members back on their feet.”
Senate Bill 580 (SB 580) would require offenders convicted of serious animal abuse crimes to undergo mandatory mental health assessments and, if deemed beneficial upon evaluation, to attend ongoing counseling. The bill also allows those convicted of less serious offenses to be sentenced to an animal offender education course that will teach them proper techniques for interacting with animals in a positive way.
“Animal abuse is often the first act of violence committed by a troubled individual and it is typical that the family pet be the target of violence before the wife, the kids, and the community. For that reason it is imperative that we do something to intervene at that early stage before the victim count rises,” Wilk said. “I am extremely happy that the Committee saw the value in this important legislation today.”