Bills to enable community colleges to use online course materials, to create free recycling programs for the chemical mercury, to protect wildlife corridors and to protect groundwater were signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier this week.
The bills were authored by state Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Redwood City, who represents the Palo Alto area.
AB 2261 allows community colleges to use online course materials in an effort to respond to the increasing prices of college textbooks. The online materials include texts whose copyrights have expired or whose authors allow free educational use.
"This legislation is a major step forward to curb the rising cost of textbooks by supporting talented faculty who are contributing their textbooks to the Community College Consortium for Open Education Resources for use by students anyplace, anywhere and anytime," Hal Plotkin, Foothill-DeAnza Community College District trustee, said.
The other bills signed into law:
• AB 2347 requires thermostat manufacturers to create free and convenient mercury recycling programs for consumers to keep the chemical out of landfills and from leaching into groundwater.
• AB 2785 would protect wildlife corridors from development by identifying the corridors to local, regional and state government entities.
• AB 2729, sponsored by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, authorizes spending $10 million a year for three years from the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund to address leaking underground storage tanks on school properties.
• AB 2679, sponsored by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, gives the board increased ability to protect the public from illegal waste dumping.
• AB 1907 continues a state law, set to expire, that provides an inspection program to guarantee the accuracy of scanners at grocery store checkout stands.
• AB 2181 removes a duplicative state reporting requirement for small businesses.