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By Henrietta J. Burroughs     Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                 Facebook    Twitter         Blog
December 9, 2014                
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Winner of 2013 contest        Sen Jerry Hill with Rev. Paul Bains
Photo courtesy of Sen. Hill's website                                            A screen grab from a Project WeHope video
Sen. Jerry Hill congratulates Dan       Photo shows Sen. Jerry Hill presenting
Hilberman, the winner of the 2013     Rev. Paul Bains with an award for being
there Oughta Be A Law contest          a community hero during his Java with
                                                      Jerry event in East Palo Alto.

Do you see things around you that you think could be improved by a new law that you would like to see passed? If so, here's your chance to propose your idea for the new law. If your idea is selected, then you might get the opportunity to testify on behalf of your idea before a California State Legislative committee during the 2015 legislative session.
How could this be possible? State Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo/Santa Clara Counties, announced the 7th annual there "Oughta Be A Law...Or Not" contest that gives California residents an opportunity to not only suggest new bills, but it also gives them an opportunity to recommend that specific laws be taken off the books.

According to Hill, the "Oughta Be A Law...Or Not" contest provides "an excellent opportunity for constituents to share their ideas for state laws, participate in our democracy and learn firsthand about the legislative process.”

Hill said that the contest also gives people a chance to make positive changes.

The contest is only open to residents in the 13th Senate District, which covers both San Mateo and Santa Clara County. Suggested laws can range from local community improvements to statewide reforms.

Residents interested in submitting ideas can obtain an application from Hill's office by calling 650-212-3320 or by visiting his website at http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/submit-bill-idea

January 16, 2015 is the deadline for contest submissions. Again, the winner of the contest will be given the opportunity to testify in the legislature during hearings on their suggested bill.

Sen. Hill mentioned the "Oughta Be A Law...Or Not" contest during the Java with Jerry event he held during his visit to East Palo Alto on November 21.

During the event, at Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels, Hill described one winning idea from the contest that now allows voters to go to a California website to see, after casting their vote during an election, if their vote was actually counted. The 2013 winner of the contest was Menlo Park resident Dan Hilberman, who submitted the idea that Hill described.

Hill used his Java with Jerry event in East Palo Alto to promote the contest, to meet with city residents and to present a Community Hero award to Pastor Paul Bains, the president of Project WeHope, an East Palo Alto shelter that provides services to the homeless. Bains said the name WeHope means, We Help Other People to Excel. Bains received the award for the positive contributions he has made to the East Palo Alto community.

As he presented the award, Hill said that Bains had shown both passion and compassion for those in need and he was getting the award for his tireless work and dedication to the community. Hill called Bains a true community hero.

In accepting the award, Bains said that he was honored and he thanked God that he has been able to work with great staff members and the good leadership that is in the community.

"This community is getting better and it is growing up....It's becoming a place where people are trying to get in as opposed to trying to get out," Bains said. Bains, then, thanked Sen. Hill for what he, too, has done to support the needs of the East Palo Alto community.


Get get more information about Senate District 13 and the Oughta be a Law Or Not contest at http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/district. See a video of the Community Hero award presentation on the Project WeHope website by clicking here

To contact Henrietta J. Burroughs, the author of the above article, send an email to epatoday@epatoday.org