Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Brown signs Patterson bill that speeds vocational nurse licensing

It’s not always easy being a Republican in a state government completely controlled by Democrats — from the state Legislature right up to Gov. Jerry Brown.

But this week, Brown signed a bill by Assembly Member Jim Patterson, a Fresno Republican, that fast-tracks licenses for vocational nurses by removing government red-tape.

Assembly Member Jim Patterson

Assembly Bill 1028 ensures that vocational nurses can begin working once they have finished school and have entered the Board of Vocational Nursing’s licensing process.

The bill speeds up the process by which they can apply for and receive an interim permit while they complete the board exams. Currently, many of these nurses have been forced to wait up to six months to receive their licenses.

Patterson introduced the legislation after being contacted by Clovis resident Danielle Mendoza, who had become frustrated with lengthy licensing process.

Patterson holding Fresno fundraiser to help close campaign deficit

Newly minted Assembly Member Jim Patterson is holding his first Fresno fundraiser since winning election last November.

It looks like the Fresno Republican needs it.

Campaign finance reports that run through the end of last year show Patterson with around $8,300 in his coffers — and nearly $76,000 in debt.

Patterson, Fresno’s former mayor, already may have hosted some fundraisers in Sacramento, but if not and this is his first, more will almost certainly have to follow to close that budget deficit.

Entry to the event, scheduled for Pardini’s, is $250. However, there are $500, $1,000 and $2,000 donor levels, or the maximum donation of $4,100 to be a sponsor.

Patterson no doubt would accept any amount between that low and high.
Sponsors listed on the invitation include west-side rancher John Harris (who is in China with Gov. Jerry Brown and certainly won’t attend), Granville Homes President Darius Assemi and Fresno businessman Ed Donaghy’s Donaghy Sales.

Also listed is the Fresno Police Officers Association Political Action Committee.
It seems the FPOA has gotten over its anger at Patterson over the smaller raises he sought for officers as he left the mayor’s office at the end of 2000. Either that or the union is trying to make up to Patterson for endorsing Clovis Council Member Bob Whalen, Patterson’s fellow Republican, in last year’s campaign.

Patterson’s first bill could be upstaged by similar one from Sens. Rubio, Lieu

New Assembly Member Jim Patterson, a Fresno Republican, introduced his first piece of legislation this week, and already there’s a chance he could be upstaged on the bill by majority Democrats.

Assembly Bill 63 — with Patterson as the lead author and six other Republicans including North Fork’s Frank Bigelow as co-authors — deals with parolees or accused criminals who illegally cut off ankle monitors. Senate Bill 57, by Democratic state Sens. Ted Lieu and Bakersfield’s Michael Rubio, also deals with cutting off ankle monitors.

Jim Patterson

“The days of Republicans getting their names (as a lead author) on bills — on a popular bill — are probably past,” said Tony Quinn, a longtime political analyst and former Republican legislative aide.

Quinn said Democrats have controlled the state Legislature for 15 years, and in that time all the high-profile bills ended up with Democratic lead authors.

At least now, Patterson’s is more specific.

If the person is prosecuted for removing the ankle monitor, the current bill language says, the judge has discretion to sentence him to state prison for up to three years on the high side, or a year in county jail on the low side. If the crime is addressed as a parole violation, any sentence would be served in state prison.

At this point, the Lieu/Rubio bill only says the state Legislature intends to enact legislation that would “address the removal and disablement of global positioning system (GPS) monitoring devices by parolees and probationers.”

But Rubio said he and Lieu will soon amend the bill into a more specific proposal — one that will make such actions a felony.

Michael Rubio

Rubio said he first thought of the bill last year when Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood approached him with the idea. The timing, however, wasn’t right.

But Rubio and Lieu think the mood of the public has changed with more parolees being released under the state’s prison realignment plan, and with rape being in the news lately.

“We’re going to work it aggressively,” Rubio said. “We’ve already discussed it with a number of members.”

In the end, there could be some joining of the minds on the Senate bill.
Rubio said he and Lieu had reached out to Patterson to see if he was interested in being a co-author, and Patterson said he plans to accept the offer.

Quinn thinks that in the end, some language from Patterson’s bill could possibly end up in the one from Rubio and Lieu, which has the better chance of moving forward.