SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill requiring government agencies to “develop a model” for wellness centers in transit agencies statewide.

The bill, SB 1294, stems from the mass shooting that happened May 26, 2021 at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Agency Guadalupe Yard, when nine people lost their lives.

The bill was authored by Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose), who is the chair of the senate labor, public employment and retirement committee. The law requires the Workforce Development Board, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, VTA, and the Health and Human Services Agency to “work together to draw from the lessons and successes of the VTA Wellness Center and develop a model for the deployment of Wellness Centers in transit agencies statewide to provide services and support to workers and their families,” according to a press release.

“Through support services such as peer-to-peer counseling, prevention and early intervention training, we can reduce stress and improve morale so that everyone can feel safe at their place of work,” Cortese stated. “I am grateful to our Governor for signing this legislation, as well as to the workers who crafted this legislation with me to prevent further tragedies and loss of life.”

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Cortese worked with VTA unions and management, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, and the district attorney’s office “to respond to the pressing needs of the employees, including through standing up a Resiliency and Trauma Recovery Center, or ‘Worker Wellness Center,’ that has provided behavioral health support to individuals and families dealing with grief.”

“Immediately after tragedy struck our place of work on May 26, 2021, heroes emerged to figure out how to provide immediate support for workers and families thrust into a mental health crisis and to make sure mental health services will be available to prevent more tragedies like ours at VTA,” John Courtney, president and business agent at Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 265 stated. “The legislation signed by our Governor does exactly what is needed to provide mental health resources and support to workers. We are forever grateful to our heroes, Governor Newsom and Senator Cortese for making this life-saving legislation a reality.”