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Students as Bill Writers

By Kari Santos | Jan. 2, 2015

Law Office Management

Jan. 2, 2015

Students as Bill Writers

McGeorge law students drafted four bills that became legislation last year.

In an impressive first-time effort, students at University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law drafted language and managed lobbying efforts for four bills that became law during the 2014 session of the state Legislature. That's four wins out of just five bills submitted in the first year of the school's new Legislative and Public Policy Clinic, which launched in 2013.

From high school civics classes to law school clinics, California students often draft legislation, and several lawmakers have run "there oughta be a law" contests for constituents to propose bills. But Sacramento-based McGeorge's clinic focuses on the legislative process itself. Clinic adviser and adjunct professor Rex Frazier, a veteran lobbyist, has the students identify issues they want to address, draft and revise bills, and find sponsors to carry the bills and work with on lobbying other legislators and advocates.

"The students got to walk the halls and gain the feel of the Capitol in a way that no textbook could describe," says Frazier. "There was an incredible transformation from the day they started to the day they realized they were actually going to make a difference."

The only proposal from the students that didn't pass was AB 2452, which would replace the state's paper registry for advanced health directives with an electronic system; it remains with a legislative committee.

Four student-proposed bills that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law:

SB 1058 (Mark Leno, D-San Francisco) allows inmates a new habeas corpus hearing if expert testimony used to convict them is subsequently discredited.

AB 2643 (Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont) allows victims of "revenge porn" to anonymously file a civil action to get online images removed.

AB 2623 (Richard Pan, D-Sacramento) adds elder law and elder abuse education to basic training programs for California peace officers.

AB 2632 (Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego) requires the state Department of Social Services to consider job applicants' arrest records in hires at state-licensed child-care or elder-care facilities.


Kari Santos

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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