In 2000, Assemblyman Ortiz achieved passage of the nation’s first law to ban the use of hand held cell phones while driving a motor vehicle. In 2001, he introduced a bill that would lower the drinking age to 18; he cited unfairness and difficulty with enforcement as his motivations.
Assemblyman Ortiz serves as President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, Vice-President of COPA USA, Chair of the Labor and Workforce Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and Executive Committee Board Member of the Council of State Governments(CSG). He is a former Chairman of the Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition. Currently he is the Chair of the Veterans' Affairs Committee.