In the News

September 5, 2017

By Heather Knight

When he was a San Francisco supervisor, Sen. Scott Wiener got a lot of flak from progressives for being the buttoned-up, boring moderate who mandated that the city’s naked people cover their genitals.

Now that he’s a Sacramento legislator, he’s getting even more flak — this time from the far right. Not only is he a San Francisco liberal (shocking!), but he’s also gay (good heavens!). And he’s spending a lot of time — grab the smelling salts! — writing laws to help the LGBT community.

August 31, 2017

“President Trump sent a shockwave through the immigrant community and this country by pardoning a convicted criminal who illegally profiled and jailed people based solely on suspicions about their immigration status,” he said. “Today, the California Senate sent a message to our immigrant neighbors that unlike this President, we stand with you in working to keep our communities safe. Making immigrants fearful that testifying in court may get you deported isn’t how we ensure justice and public safety. California’s courts are houses of justice, not ad hoc detention centers where ICE agents can round up law-abiding immigrants.”

August 30, 2017

It’s time to give local governments more control over when, where and how alcohol is served. A city like Los Angeles, for instance, shouldn’t have to shut down its bars early each night in deference to a fusty, 80-year-old law. Letting responsible establishments in appropriate neighborhoods stay open later would help create a fun, bustling, vibrant, big-city atmosphere attractive to younger people and tourists — while also generating tax revenue, creating jobs and increasing the earnings of small businesses.

August 29, 2017

“This isn’t just a threat to San Francisco,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. “Sometimes housing gets portrayed as a San Francisco/Bay Area problem. This is a contagion that is moving around the state and spreading like wildfire. Parts of California that have always been considered affordable aren’t anymore.”

August 14, 2017

Thanks to these efforts, legislators in California are now poised to modernize that state’s HIV criminalization law. In February, State Senator Scott Wiener introduced legislation that would repeal the felony provisions and make deliberate intent to expose — which very rarely happens, according to most public health and policy experts — a simple misdemeanor. 

August 6, 2017

This year’s Senate Bill 35, by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would streamline the approvals process for new construction by limiting local officials’ authority — but only when they are failing to meet established housing goals.

July 30, 2017

Many California communities could open centers inviting addicts to shoot up hard drugs under a bill that has cleared the state Assembly and now awaits a vote on the Senate floor.

The goal is to reduce deaths. Here’s how the concept — modeled after a supervised drug injection center in Vancouver, British Columbia — works:

A user walks into a government-run clinic with heroin in his pocket. He’s greeted by a nurse who directs him to wash his hands before offering an array of clean needles. He sits down at a sterile booth, rolls up a sleeve and shoots up.

July 26, 2017

That didn’t sit well with state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat who represents San Francisco and northern San Mateo County, who called Trump’s decision a “bigoted move.”

“First, Trump attacks transgender children trying to use the restroom. Now he’s attacking trans soldiers who are putting their lives on the line for our country. This man has no shame,” Wiener said in a statement.

July 17, 2017

Now here in Sacramento, lawmakers are considering extraordinary legislation to, in effect, crack down on communities that have, in their view, systematically delayed or derailed housing construction proposals, often at the behest of local neighborhood groups. The bill was passed by the Senate last month and could be acted on as soon as this week.

“The explosive costs of housing have spread like wildfire around the state,” said Scott Wiener, a Democratic senator from San Francisco who sponsored the bill. “This is no longer a coastal, elite housing problem. This is a problem in big swaths of the state. It is damaging the economy. It is damaging the environment, as people get pushed into longer commutes.”

July 14, 2017

California’s housing emergency can be measured in many ways — its 78,000 unsheltered homeless, nearly half the nation’s total; the 180,000 additional units a year the state needs but has no apparent prospect of producing; the tensions over urban gentrification that some are blaming for a spate of East Bay apartment building arsons.

But perhaps the most remarkable sign of the crisis is that the Legislature is at long last on the brink of doing something about it.