Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law two of Rep. Mariko Yamada’s (D-Davis) bills. Assembly Bill 966 was approved on July 25 by the governor and extends burials to non-residents of the Davis Cemetery District, which encompasses mainly just Davis. On Aug. 8, he also signed AB 413, which will allow for a pilot project for all-ballot elections in Yolo County to analyze the effects of all-mail ballot voting on local elections.
Yamada’s press representative Rachel Linn said the AB 966 was mainly spurred by members of the Jewish community. Prior to the legislation, only residents or taxpayers of Davis could be buried in the Davis Cemetery, but this new law will allow for anyone with ties to the community to purchase large group plots for community members who live outside of the district, but want to be buried in Davis.
Rabbi Greg Wolfe of Congregation Bet Haverim said he was really happy the legislation moved ahead.
“It’s a great gift to people who are apart of our community and want a common place to be buried,” Wolfe said. “Not a large amount of people from our congregation live outside of Davis, but there are a number of important members who do and it offers a lot of options.”
Susan Finkleman, the office manager of the Davis Cemetery at 820 Pole Line Road, said community members have been approaching her about extending whom could be buried in the cemetery for the past couple of years.
“We were in support of the bill,” Finkleman said. “There were people who had ongoing ties with the community here in Davis, but they were unable to live in town because they primarily couldn’t afford it. The code didn’t accommodate them and since the change, they now can be buried here.”
AB 413 allows Yolo County to study the effects of all-mail ballot voting on local elections.
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two similar bills by Yamada- her 2009 AB 1228 and AB 1681 of 2010.
“We are very pleased to have this bill signed on its third attempt, and with bipartisan support,” Yamada said in a press release. “A defining feature of this pilot elections program is in its study element. The data collected on the effects of all-mail ballot voting may help guide the future of elections in California.”
The Yolo County Clerk-Recorder can now conduct up to three local elections using mainly mail ballots. At least one polling location per city will remain open on Election Day for those who are unable or prefer not to vote using a mailed ballot. The county will also establish ballot drop off locations.
AB 413 will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012 and sunsets on Jan. 1, 2018. The report must be delivered to the State Legislature within six months after the date of the final all-mailed ballot election outlined in the bill.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.