A push for colleges to reveal student loan debt, courts to provide language access

Requiring colleges to post the average graduate's student loan debt on their website, establishing a statewide language access plan to assist non-English speakers in the court system, and creating a system that would hold polluters accountable for contaminating the San Gabriel Basin are at the top of Assemblyman Ed Chau's (D-Alhambra) legislative priorities. 

Chau, who replaced Mike Eng as Alhambra's state assemblyman in November, held a press conference Friday in Alhambra a package of bills highlighting education, language access, and clean water.

Speaking in front of mostly ethnic media outlets and representatives from local organizations, Chau stressed the importance of making education information easily accessible to California residents. Assembly Bill 330 would make it a standard for all colleges to display the average student loan debt of graduates on their website. Because private loans are uncapped and have variable interests, he said, families may not be informed about the financial investment they are making.

“This measure will provide more comprehensive and meaningful consumer information to students and parents so they can make the best financial and educational decision about which post-secondary education institution to attend,” Chau said.

Chau also raised the issue of miscommunication in city courts, where non-English speakers sometimes face challenges explaining themselves to judges. He is proposing AB 1127, which would create a statewide language access plan to “provide English learners and other non-English-speaking litigants with full and equal access to our justice system without regard to language," he said. 

Penalizing water polluters and giving the money to the state is another of Chau's priorities. With AB 1043, Chau proposes polluters be held accountable for contaminating the San Gabriel Basin and will be required to send funds to local agencies for clean up. During World War II, leaks from jet factories flowed into the basin and have still not been fully cleared. Once the basin is clean, the San Gabriel Valley will no longer be dependent on the San Joaquin and Colorado Valley for water, according to Chau.

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