Last week, the Legislature passed the Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 -2025. The Governor will have until June 30 to sign the budget, which goes into effect July 1st.  Over the coming weeks/months, a series of trailer bills to fund specific programs must be passed, and since the Governor has line-item veto powers, additional programs may still be cut.   The state’s constitution mandates a balanced budget. This budget eliminates the $45 billion deficit for FY 2024-2025, along with the projected $30 billion deficit forecast for 2025-2026. Obviously, cuts are necessary.  Despite these… read more
As with so many issues involving medical research and healthcare, San Diego County is ground zero in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, it is estimated that 84,000 persons are living with Alzheimer’s disease in San Diego County, a number that is expected to increase to 117,000 by 2030. Another 250,000 San Diegans are caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s, which is the county’s third leading cause of death. California now has over 720,000 residents living with the disease, more than any other state. That number is expected to grow by 127 percent over the next 20… read more
This year, the “House of Origin Deadline” was May 24th, the final day for bills to pass the house in which they were first introduced - either the Assembly or the Senate.  Any bills that failed to pass by the 24th have died. Bipartisan bills that benefit all Californians often receive little press attention. This year, these include my bill, AB 1819 (Waldron), authorizing the establishment of  Infrastructure Financing Districts in high fire severity zones to finance heavy equipment used for brush clearance, firebreaks, undergrounding utilities and other measures that reduce the threat of… read more
California’s gas taxes are the highest in the nation, and they are set to go even higher. Most of you probably know that we have yearly, built in gas tax increases, and they are scheduled to go up by another two cents per gallon on July 1st. But many may not know that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) plans to increase gas prices by up to 47 cents a gallon next year, and up to 52 cents in 2026. A hearing on the scheduled increases was scheduled for March, but was postponed. After Hawaii, Californians are burdened by the nation’s highest cost of living. Unfortunately, this burden… read more
Last week, the Governor released his “May Revise,” which is based on revenues received since January when the preliminary $291.5 billion budget proposal ($208.7 General Fund) was released. The Revise now estimates a $27 billion budget deficit, even though a report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office forecasts a much higher deficit of $55 billion. The new budget proposal is aimed at creating a balanced budget over two years. Expanding some programs will be paused temporarily, and other savings will result from the targeted elimination of 10,000 unfilled positions. The budget seeks to reduce… read more
Encouraging young women to fulfill their life’s potential by taking full advantage of available educational opportunities is one of my passions. As a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, I am happy to spread the word about the Minerva Scholarship program, established by the Women in California Leadership Foundation to educate, support and empower young women and girls. The Foundation is committed to providing select young women of good character and demonstrated accomplishments with scholarships to help them achieve their objectives. Applications for the Minerva Scholarships for the… read more
As many of you know I have served on the Assembly Health Committee for most of my term in the State Legislature, and I am now the Committee’s Vice Chair. The Committee’s jurisdiction includes healthcare, behavioral and mental health, medical insurance, Medi-Cal and other public healthcare programs, and long-term care licensing. The lives of millions of Californians are impacted by legislation that comes before this committee. For example, several important health-related bills were passed by the Committee on April 23rd. These include AB 2563 (Essayli) which requires the California Department… read more
As you know, the placement of Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in rural areas of California, including San Diego County, has been an ongoing problem. SVPs have been placed in Jacumba Hot Springs, Campo, Boulevard, Borrego Springs and other locations, often near homes, parks and schools. Currently, the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) oversees placement and contracts with Liberty Healthcare, which then seeks court approval. Courts sometimes intervene to deny inappropriate placements, but by then the leasing process is often already underway, increasing costs and delays. Since the 75th… read more
In 2011, the legislature worked in an effort to abolish California’s Redevelopment Districts (RDAs). Although some RDAs were poorly managed, their abolition deprived cities of an important tool that had often been successfully used to stimulate business, create new housing and revitalize blighted areas, especially for older cities   Last Week, the Assembly Local Government Committee, on which I serve as Vice Chair, passed Assembly bill 2945 (AB 2945) introduced by Assemblyman David Alvarez (D – Chula Vista). The bill establishes Reconnecting Communities Investment Agencies (RCIAs), to… read more