On April 26, due to time-consuming debates in previous sessions and untimely equipment failures, the Health Committee, which I serve as Vice Chair, dealt with 56 bills in a hearing that lasted well into the evening. Several important pieces of legislation made it through the committee.
The rising cost of virtually everything is costing Californians dearly. March inflation surged to 8.5%, the largest increase in 40 years. This spike, driven largely by the cost of gasoline, made March the tenth straight month with inflation over 5%.
Last November the Centers for Disease Control reported over 100,000 overdose deaths in the United States, a new record. This represented a 30% increase over the previous year, a number driven by fentanyl and related substances. 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, fentanyl is a deadly scourge.
Under California’s constitution, the Legislature must produce a balanced budget by June 15th, and it has to be signed into law no later than June 30th. Expenditures over the coming Fiscal Year are expected to be around $286 billion.
The bipartisan California Legislative Women’s Caucus (LWC) was formed in 1985 by nine Democrats and six Republicans. Today, 38 of the Legislature’s 120 members are women -- the Caucus now includes 14 Senators and 24 Assemblymembers.
This year California observed AG Day on March 23nd; a day we celebrate our state's unique contributions to the nation’s food supply. California has been recognized as the country’s number one agricultural state for over 60 years, supplying about 50 percent of our fruit, vegetables and nuts.
Californians are fed up with the state’s inability to deal with homelessness. With 12% of the nation’s population, we have 30% of its homeless and 47% of the total unsheltered population. In recent years, we have thrown $17 billion at the problem, yet there are no appreciable results. In fact, the situation has grown much worse; we have become a national embarrassment.
Every day, gasoline prices set a new record. While some of the recent increase is attributed to uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prices have been shooting up for over a year and there’s no end in sight. That is why I am supporting legislation to suspend the gas tax and I joined a bipartisan group of legislators urging the Governor to take advantage of California’s abundant inland natural resources.
Assembly Bill 1031, which I introduced in 2017, is having a big impact on the welfare of California’s native wildlife. The bill provides funding to help injured, orphaned or sick wildlife receive care and rehabilitation provided by non-profit, rehabilitation organizations throughout the state. Through the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Fund set up under AB 1031, taxpayers can voluntarily check off a deductible contribution when they file their individual state tax returns.
The recreational use of marijuana, legalized by Proposition 64 in 2016, has not eliminated illegal marijuana grow sites in many rural areas throughout the state. The illicit marijuana market continues to thrive, financed by consumers seeking to avoid taxes imposed on sales at legal dispensaries.