Pasadena Central Library page Carolina Feliciano puts books away on Thursday, May 31, 2012.

Pasadena Central Library page Carolina Feliciano puts books away on Thursday, May 31, 2012. (Roger Wilson/Staff photographer / September 7, 2012)

A bill to update and streamline state laws for public libraries was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown recently.

SB 1044, introduced by Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), changes several requirements for libraries, including a mandate that they fund and operate a central reference system.

With many online reference sources available on the Internet, a reference desk will no longer be mandated under the new law.

The changes are the result of recommendations by a task force that met last January and looked at ways to address outdated and irrelevant requirements on libraries.

“State budget resources for libraries have unfortunately declined due to the ongoing budget crises, but libraries still operate with costly and unnecessary requirements,” Liu said in a statement. “This bill will help libraries save money and move forward in the digital era.”

Several other bills from local lawmakers are on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) introduced the California Homemade Food Act, which would legalize the sale of homemade, “non-potentially hazardous” foods.

AB 1616 would allow the sale of foods such as breads, tortillas, dry roasted nuts, cookies, granola and fruit preserves.

A two-tier system of operations based upon the point of sale would be created under the legislation.

Producers who want to sell directly to consumers would register with the local health department. Those deciding to sell to local retail shops would be subject to initial inspection and permitting by the local health department.

All producers would also be required to complete a food processor course, verify their home kitchen meets certain standards and disclose on a label that the product was made in a home kitchen.

“Creating a legal structure for the safe, in-home production of certain foods the respects the importance of public health is a sensible approach that will spark more economic activity in our local economies and in California,” Gatto said in a statement.

The measure passed unanimously in the Senate and made it through the Assembly on a 60-16 vote.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has several measures before the governor.

AB 1650 would require electric and water utilities to develop a disaster preparedness plan every two years and hold meetings with the counties and cities they serve in order to improve readiness for natural disasters.

“In the wake of the fierce winds and power outages that caused so much damage in Southern California late last year, we need to be better organized for the next disaster,” Portantino said in a statement.

The legislation passed both houses unanimously.

Other Portantino measures before Brown include: a bill to allow prostitutes between the ages of 14 and 24 years old to take part in a free tattoo removal program; a measure requiring lawmakers who have legislative vanity license plates on their personal cars to pay the same fees paid by the general public; and legislation that updates guidelines in the state Insurance Code so that younger women will be able to have a mammogram when medically necessary.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam