Op-Eds

Throughout my term in the legislature I have advocated for those most vulnerable. I authored a bill to safeguard children who witness domestic violence incidents, and to allow counties to provide court approved mental health treatments for persons who have completed their sentences if they are a danger to themselves or others.   I have introduced legislation to increase penalties for those convicted of child pornography-related offenses when those crimes take place on government owned computers Other co-authored legislation requires background checks for adults in youth sports, increased… read more
One of the most important lessons from the pandemic is the need to prioritize reliable prescription drug manufacturing. California, especially this region, has long been a center for medical research, and one of our top priorities should be to encourage more drug research, innovations, and manufacturing, especially for generic drugs. That’s why I support Senate Bill 852. While the main benefit of SB 852 will be to make medication available for thousands of Californians at a more reasonable cost, as we emerge from the pandemic-induced recession we can also create thousands of new jobs to help… read more
Since joining the Legislature I have authored and supported many bills protecting pets and native wildlife, most of which are now law. This session, I co-authored AB 128, which prevents the sale of wild horses for slaughter when purchased at auction. I also supported SB 469, which allows the California Horse Racing Board to quickly suspend events when necessary to protect the health and safety of horses or riders, along with AB 1565 to speed adoptions of kittens in animal shelters. SB 397 facilitates the evacuation of pet owners and their animals during emergencies. Unfortunately, SB 64 to… read more
I recently joined my legislative colleagues to recognize over 100 nonprofits that work tirelessly to enhance our communities and the lives of our citizens. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to have the usual ceremony at the Capitol, but the lack of a formal celebration cannot diminish the important contributions made by California’s nonprofits. This year I am very pleased to recognize the Assistance League of Inland North County as my Nonprofit of the Year. Serving communities from Fallbrook to Rancho Bernardo, and from Warner Springs to San Marcos, Assistance League’s 150 members… read more
This session, I am honored to be recognized as a “Mental Health Super Hero” by the Steinberg Institute, because of my work on mental health policy, advancing mental health parity to physical health and working to expand access to care.  In addition I supported 9 bi-partisan bills, which were all forwarded to the Governor for his signature.  I co-authored three of these bills, signed by the Governor on September 25th. Senate Bill 855 (Wiener) expands Californians’ ability to obtain treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders by requiring insurers to pay for medically necessary… read more
This year, devastation from California’s wildfires is at record levels of destruction - about 3.4 million acres already burned!  We have some of the toughest environmental standards in the nation, but our success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is wiped out by tons of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere by these fires.   The Legislature recently passed legislation to help prevent wildfires and deal with their aftermath. Two years ago, I supported a bi-partisan plan with then Governor Jerry Brown to increase vegetation clearance funding, and to empower CalFire and the California… read more
With the final adjournment of the Legislature on August 31, hundreds of bills were forwarded to the Governor, who now has until September 30 to decide their fate. There’s often lots of controversy in Sacramento, but contrary to what may be a common impression, many bills pass with overwhelming support from both parties. This session was no different. For example, we passed AB 1710 (Wood) to allow pharmacists to administer FDA-approved COVID-19 Vaccines. We also passed AB 1577 (Burke) conforming state law to federal law to exclude CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program loans from state… read more
The 2019-2020 legislative session ended on August 31. During this two-year period, 5,423 bills of all types were introduced. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had two unexpected shutdowns, and in the last weeks some members were absent and Senators were forced to vote remotely. At one point, there was an unsuccessful attempt to limit Senate debate to save time. In a normal year, the fate of much important legislation is often decided during the final few days, but this year was even more hectic. Even so, two of my bills passed right at the end. AB 1304 supports successful reentry for… read more
California has already reached historic levels in acres burned - 700 fires with over 1.3 million acres burned!  As always, California’s first responders are on the job, protecting our lives, our property, our families, everything we hold dear. We owe them our cooperation, our respect and our support. Last winter’s heavy rainfall generated a huge amount of fuel in our arid region. Now that summer is winding down, that fuel is dry and just waiting for a spark. With Santa Ana wind season approaching, each of us needs to be prepared, and to have a plan for fires or any disaster that’s likely to… read more
August marks a huge milestone. In 1920, women were granted the right to vote nationwide when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. The amendment reads: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Just to be clear, millions of women had already been voting.  Fifteen states had granted women full suffrage, and limited voting rights had been granted in another twelve. In some states like Colorado and Oklahoma, women’s suffrage passed by elections that were only open to male… read more