Cannella's Capitol Update: January 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dear Friend,

2012 has started off with a bang! We have already seen the Governor’s proposed budget and State of the State address. January also marks the beginning of the legislative season, which is accompanied by a flurry of activity.

My priorities for this year will remain the same. I will be an ardent supporter of legislation that benefits our district and gets people back to work. I will also be doing all I can to streamline regulations that stifle business, reform our unsustainable pension system and work towards a budget that reduces our structural deficit.

I’d love to hear your ideas for what you would like to see out of Sacramento this year. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office through my website if you have any questions, comments or insight to share. And help keep your friends and neighbors informed about what ’s going on in Sacramento and around the 12th Senate District by forwarding this email so they can sign up to receive our eNewsletters as well.

Anthony Cannella

Ask Anthony

This month’s “Ask Anthony” comes from Brandy in Los Banos who wanted to know my thoughts on charter school education. I believe that charter schools play an important role in our education system and California should remain a leader in charter school education. While we should support charter schools, there is more that must be done to improve traditional public education. Click on the video below to hear my thoughts.

Senator Cannella video clip regarding improvement in traditional public education

Community Meeting on Chowchilla Prison

On January 3, Senator Cannella attended a community meeting in Madera to discuss the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) plan to convert the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla into a men’s facility. CDCR was on hand to answer questions from local elected officials about the conversion under the Governor’s prison realignment plan, which was passed in 2011. CDCR believes the prison realignment bill allows the conversion without the standard examination of the impact on the local community. Senator Cannella wanted to ensure that the district’s concerns are represented and addressed throughout the process. Read the press release to learn about the specific concerns raised in the meeting.

Since the meeting, the City of Chowchilla filed suit against CDCR to keep them from completing the conversion until the standard impact studies are completed. Just this week, it was announced that CDCR is putting its plans on hold until the court makes a decision on the lawsuit.

Governor Brown’s Proposed Budget

Every January, the Governor is legally bound to propose a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This typically lays out his major goals for the budget negotiations with the Legislature. The Governor will also issue a revision of his plan in May when we get a more accurate grasp on the state’s finances following tax season.

I saw the Governor’s proposal as a good starting point for this year’s discussion of the budget. I am glad to see the Governor continues to recognize the critical need for real public pension reform and the focus on reducing what he calls our “wall of debt ” that has resulted from years of borrowing and budget gimmickry. I also believe that before we ask Californians to raise taxes, we have to demonstrate that we are willing to pass significant reform and control our spending. Even though we see our revenues rising, we are going to continue to face shortfalls until Sacramento passes meaningful reform. Governor Brown’s proposed budget does not include all of the structural reforms I would like to see.

If you have any thoughts or concerns about the budget, please contact me through my website. I would love to hear your ideas!

State of the State

The Governor also outlined his goals for this year in his State of the State address last week. I really wanted to hear him talk about three things: jobs, water and bringing down the “wall of debt.” He did end up addressing all three issues to a certain degree and now we must execute.

It is unacceptable that California continues to face unprecedented levels of unemployment. Our main priority this year needs to be job creation. At the same time, we must be forward thinking and continue our work on fixing our water problems. The state’s water system is so complex that it was historic for a package to be passed that will comprehensively reform and rebuild the system. If we take a step back or unravel portions of it, we will lose all of that hard work and compromise.

Legislative Scorecards

In addition to the great scores I’d received from the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Taxpayers Association, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the League of California Cities, this month I received a 100% on the National Federation of Independent Business Voting Record and the top “Summa Cum Laude ” rating from the California Small Business Association and California Small Business Roundtable.

Celebrating the MLK Day of Service

“Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”–Dr. Martin Luther King

On January 16, I had the opportunity to return to Habitat for Humanity’s Hope Village for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. It was inspiring to return to Hope Village in Modesto and see the tremendous progress from last year. The work of Habitat for Humanity and the volunteers from Kaiser were a true embodiment of Dr. King’s statement, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” While I was there, we planted an olive tree to commemorate the final year of work on the project. I also met an amazing group of kids who were working on their future neighbors’ fences.

Senator Cannella's Invasive Pest Prevention hearing

Nominate Your School for the “School of Distinction” Award

Every year, Intel awards schools across the country for excellence in math and science through innovative programs that can be replicated in other schools. There are 18 awards given in three categories; elementary, middle and high school. Each of the schools receive $5,000 grants and trips to Washington DC for a four member team from the school or district. Of those schools, six will be selected receive an additional $5,000, and one will be selected as the “Star Innovator” and will receive an additional $15,000 grant for a total of $25,000!

If you believe your school has a program that is unique, innovative and would be a great model for schools across the country, this is a great chance to highlight the work they are doing. The deadline to enter the contest is February 23. You can apply on line at