SAN JOSÉ —
Assembly Member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) received one of three Legislator of the Year Awards from the League of California Cities® today during the organization’s 2015 Annual Conference and Expo in San José. The top honor was given to Assembly Member Cooley for his leadership in passing the League-supported Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.
Along with Assembly Member Cooley, the League also recognized Sen. Jim Beall (D-San José) for his long-term commitment to transportation issues and his efforts in the most recent legislative sessions to provide a new, sustainable source of funding for California’s state highway and local streets and road system and Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) for his dedication to advancing legislation that would restore a redevelopment tool for local communities.
Assembly Member Cooley, a former League first vice president and Rancho Cordova mayor and council member, agreed in late 2014 to serve as author of AB 266, the League and California Police Chiefs Association’s sponsored medical marijuana regulatory framework legislation. AB 266 ultimately became authored by Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) and became part of a legislative package that comprises AB 243 (Wood) and SB 643 (McGuire). This package is known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act and is on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk awaiting action.
League President and Scotts Valley Council Member Stephany Aguilar helped present the award to her former colleague on the League board of directors. “I am honored to recognize Ken for his vision and leadership in crafting such a solid framework for medical marijuana. His work on this critical issue was instrumental in ensuring that the framework contains strong provisions that protects the public, local control and patient safety and access.”
Assembly Member Cooley: “I’m honored to be named League of Cities’ Legislator of the Year. When I agreed a year ago to author the League’s medical marijuana bill, my aim was not simply to support strong local control. I also felt that I could help bring this issue to a successful end after its repeated failures and such a breakthrough would strengthen the institution for future challenges. With the support of the League of California Cities we were able to meet both of those goals this year and I am so very proud of what we have accomplished.”
Steering AB 266 through the various committees of the Assembly with energy and vision, Assembly Member Cooley played a significant role in the drafting and amending of this legislation to ensure it retained the strong local control and public safety provisions that were absolutely imperative for the League’s and California Police Chiefs Association’s continued support. He never wavered in his support of the legislation or in his desire to collaborate with his fellow legislators on this important issue.
The final package of bills:
- Protects local control by ensuring that local jurisdictions have control of regulating local medical marijuana facilities in partnership with the state;
- Protects public safety by providing uniform security requirements and a well-defined set of criteria for state licensing, including a clear universe of disqualifying felonies and a framework for the vetting of license applicants;
- Protects public health with uniform health and safety standards; and
- Ensures patient safety with quality assurance protocols requiring random sample testing by certified laboratories for all medical marijuana sold in California.
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.