2018 is shaping-up to be an exciting year at the State Capitol and in the 21st Senate District. April is the time of year when committees at the Capitol are in full swing considering new legislation introduced by legislators over the past few months. In the District, we are helping constituents with a variety of issues in dealing with their government, and recognizing individuals and groups for personal triumphs and their contributions to our community.
Before voters approved a $7.5 billion water bond in 2014, we were assured that above-ground water storage would be part of the strategy to keep the water flowing in California. Well, it seems we were all wet. Having been part of the negotiations for the final agreement to put the measure on the ballot, I am bitterly frustrated that staff of the California Water Commission has only recommended a fraction of those bond dollars for storage, like building the Temperance Flat project. On May 2nd, the Water Commissioners will consider the staff recommendations and I intend to make my views abundantly clear that Californians expected their tax dollars would provide for our future needs. You, too, can attend the meeting to make your voice heard. Click here to view the agenda, or watch the meeting via webcast.
Delay in Issuing School Bond Funds
In November 2016, voters approved Proposition 51, which authorized the sale of $9 billion in bonds to pay for building and modernizing K-12 schools and community colleges. Yet, most of these funds remain untouched. Only $600 million in school bonds have been sold for K-12 school projects, and the governor’s budget only proposes slightly higher bond sales this year. This would leave shovel-ready school construction projects across California and dozens of schools in our communities still waiting for critical funding. It’s time to stop withholding Proposition 51 funds that will benefit our schools, our children, and our communities.
My Legislation, Your Legislation
Although the Legislature has just started committee hearings on newly introduced legislation, my office is working hard on important legislation. Here is an update:
Senate Bill 707 — On the suggestion of a report by the Little Hoover Commission in 2016, this measure creates an advisory group with the specific purpose of studying and overseeing Denti-Cal policies and priorities to raise annual utilization rates among children to the 60% range, and to provide assistance and advice to the Department of Health Care Services, the legislature, and the governor.
Senate Bill 903 — This bill authorizes StanCOG, a transportation planning agency, to consider population density when allotting transit funds. Since Stanislaus County has relatively fewer residents, some transit providers are disadvantaged when trying to meet the needs of their diverse communities. SB 903 is currently being considered in the State Assembly after passing the Senate.
Senate Bill 907 — With the support of Merced County, this measure would continue the practice of transferring the duties of the county road commissioner to the Department of Public Works Director. This measure is passed two Senate committees and will soon be considered by the entire Senate.
Senate Bill 920 — This bill would continue the practice of allowing persons who are licensed design professionals (architects, engineers and land surveyors) to form limited liability partnerships (LLP). These forms of LLP’s increase the flexibility and stability in this industry. SB 920 was approved by two Senate committees and is now before the Senate’s fiscal panel for review.
Other measures can be found on my website.
ACEC Scholarship Winners
Congratulations to all of the American Council Of Engineering Companies scholarship recipients, including Linda Lim who is attending CSU Fresno. It was also an honor for me to be recognized by ACEC as their Legislator of the Year.
New Amtrak Morning Express — Fresno to Sacramento
Amtrak San Joaquin is launching a “Morning Express Service” on Monday, May 7th that reconfigures its schedule in order to bring riders throughout the San Joaquin Valley north to the state capital by 8:00AM. This new schedule is expected to be transformative for the service — making it a much more convenient option for business travelers and same-day leisure travelers alike. Check-out this new service here.
Donate Life Month - April
April is #DonateLifeMonth! Did you know you can save 8 lives and heal 75 more by being an organ and tissue donor? Each day 22 people die instead of receiving lifesaving organ transplant. Help us grow the list of donors in California by signing up at http://donatelifecalifornia.org/
Office Hours In Your Neighborhood
The mobile district office allows my constituents to receive personal assistance on a variety of issues, including help with the DMV, the Employment Development Department, or matters involving other state agencies or state legislation. Appointments are not necessary, but can be made by calling my district offices. Click here for upcoming dates, times and locations.