LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
Full Biography for Fred Keeley
Fred Keeley was first elected to the California State Assembly in November of 1996, representing the Monterey Bay area. He was re-elected in 1998.
Upon the convening of the 1999-2000 session of the legislature, Mr. Keeley was appointed by Speaker Antonio R. Villaraigosa to the post of Speaker pro Tem. As the presiding officer of the 80-member assembly, Mr. Keeley leads the body through the daily agenda of business on the assembly floor, including debate and votes on legislation.
In addition to serving as Speaker pro Tem, Mr. Keeley is the highest ranking member of the Speaker's leadership team. The leadership team is responsible for the development of major policy and strategic initiatives for the Assembly's Democratic majority. Mr. Keeley previously served in leadership as the Democratic Caucus Chair, a position he held from March of 1998 until being designated Speaker pro Tem.
Mr. Keeley's 1999-2000 bill package includes a diverse package of legislation relating to the environment, education, social justice, and domestic violence. Of the fourteen bills that Mr. Keeley placed on the Governor's desk, eleven were signed into law at the close of the first year of the two-year session.
In the area of the environment, Mr. Keeley introduced AB 18, the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000. The passage of AB 18 was historic because it addresses more than two decades of neglect and underfunding of California's state and neighborhood park and recreation facilities. It will be the first statewide parks bond placed on the ballot since 1988.
Also, in the area of the environment, Mr. Keeley introduced legislation to protect sensitive watersheds from reckless timber harvesting practices and to ensure adequate funding for environmental review and monitoring of timber harvest plans. These two bills will be heard in committee when the legislature re-convenes in January of 2000.
Mr. Keeley engaged in the debate between the Legislature, the utilities industry, and other concerned interests, regarding the future of the State's hydroelectric power plants in Central and Northern California. Mr. Keeley fought for stronger environmental and water quality protections in the future management of these power plants. This issue will continue to be a hot topic of debate in the coming legislative year.
Mr. Keeley's 1999 education agenda included AB 832, a measure to increase graduation rates and prevent crime. This bill would combine intense mentoring and modest cash and scholarship incentives to at-risk youth. This idea received broad bi-partisan support in the legislature, and wide acclaim from the education and law enforcement communities, during the first year of the two-year session. The bill was held in committee pending approval of funding in the state budget.
In the area of social justice, Mr. Keeley introduced important legislation that would allow low-income communities to attract economically secure, targeted investments. Named the California Community Reinvestment Act of 1999, this legislation attracted the support of the Office of the State Treasurer and numerous consumer groups. The bill will be heard in committee when the legislature re-convenes in January of 2000.
Mr. Keeley also introduced legislation to address the problem of domestic violence. AB 825 requires that the state standardize the Domestic Violence Restraining Order form so that law enforcement throughout the state has access to this information whenever needed, regardless of where the victim resides. The Governor signed this bill into law at the close of the session.
Other bills introduced by Mr. Keeley, and signed into law by the Governor in 1999, addressed problems of local and state-wide significance, including flooding, benefits to public employees, and important changes to the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Mr. Keeley authored AB 807 - The Pajaro River Flood Prevention Authority Act, creating a four-county inter-governmental structure to address the decades-old problem of flooding in Watsonville and Pajaro. As a result of the passage of this bill, for the first time ever, the residents of the watershed will be able to work together to plan, fund, and implement a basin-wide solution to a basin-wide problem.
Mr. Keeley authored two bills that provide increased benefits to public servants in California. AB 743 provides that supervisors within the California Department of Forestry, the California Highway Patrol, and the Department of Corrections shall receive salary and benefits that are at least equivalent to the salary and benefits granted to employees they supervise. AB799 will allow Monterey County's law enforcement retirement system to be competitive with systems in other counties, thus allowing Monterey County to compete for and retain officers.
The Governor signed into law AB 1541, Mr. Keeley's bill to close loop-holes in existing discrimination laws by extending protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act to employees who work for religious nonprofit healthcare facilities.
During his first two years in office, eighteen of the twenty-one bills that Mr. Keeley placed on the Governor's desk were signed into law. That bill package included major legislation relating to the environment, education, and social justice.
Mr. Keeley's major environmental legislative success was the enactment of the Marine Life Management Act of 1998. The bill had strong backing from an unusual coalition of disparate interests on coastal protection issues. Sport fishers, commercial fishers, environmentalists, and a wide range of scientists endorsed the measure. Observers called the bill the most significant advance in fisheries management in 50 years.
Mr. Keeley's other important environmental legislation signed into law includes bills to foster growth in solar power, to provide alternatives to a dam on the Carmel River, and to fund coastal protection and management.
Other legislative accomplishments during Mr. Keeley's first legislative session include laws to improve the quality of California's public education system, reduce gang and youth violence, keep guns away from children, and increase penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors.
Over the past two years Mr. Keeley has received numerous awards. In 1999 Mr. Keeley received a "Hunger Fighter" Award from the California Hunger Coalition. Also in 1999, Mr. Keeley was selected "Best Local Politician" in the Metro Santa Cruz "Reader's Choice Awards." In 1998 Mr. Keeley received a rating of "100%" by the California Public Interest Research Group in recognition of his votes on behalf of the environment and consumer protection. He was named "1997 Rookie of the Year" by the California League of Conservation Voters.
Mr. Keeley is a member of the following committees: Budget, Budget Subcommittee on Resources, Natural Resources, Insurance, and Public Safety.
Prior to his election to the California Assembly, Mr. Keeley served for eight years as a member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. From 1984 to January of 1989, Mr. Keeley served as chief-of-staff to then-Assembly Member Sam Farr, who now represents the Monterey Bay area in the United States House of Representatives.
Mr. Keeley is a 1974 honors graduate of San Jose State University. He is married to Maria Rodriguez-Keeley. Ms. Rodriguez-Keeley is also a graduate of San Jose State University, where she has served on the board of directors of the Alumni Association of the School of Business, and where there is a perpetual scholarship in her name. Ms. Rodriguez-Keeley works as a human resource manager in the high technology industry in Silicon Valley.
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