Op-Eds

Congress just passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at helping Americans cope with an economy that is suddenly screeching to a halt. Small businesses, along with millions of employees, have been hit hard Under CARES, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Plan is available to virtually every small business in America. There are two qualifications – businesses must employ less than 500 workers and been in business before February 15, 2020. The loans will sustain small businesses so they can keep workers… read more
The COVID-19 outbreak is drastically affecting the lives of millions.  My offices have received calls from workers, employers, healthcare professionals and many more seeking information and guidance during this tumultuous time. As a result, I asked my leadership team to compile a list of resources available to workers, employers and others to help get us through this unexpected public health and financial crisis. Resources include the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program will provide assistance to small businesses, non-profits,… read more
As Minority Leader, I have been working with the Governor to coordinate the state’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. A number of important steps are underway.  Last week we passed bi-partisan legislation to provide $500 million in initial emergency funding expandable to $1 billion, to activate closed hospitals, increase equipment capacity for existing hospitals, provide hotel beds for the homeless, clean up child care facilities,  fund In-Home Supportive Services addressing senior isolation, backfill schools for lost Average Daily Attendance, finance expanded family leave, reimburse for… read more
California requires testing children considered at greatest risk for lead poisoning, which includes those enrolled in Medi-Cal and other programs for low-income children. We recently learned that over a nine-year period, DHCS did not ensure that millions of children were tested properly. Nearly half of 2.9 million eligible one-and two-year-old children were not tested at all, and another 740,000 missed one of the two required tests! As a member of Assembly Health Committee, I participated in a hearing of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to review findings by the California State Auditor… read more
This week California observes Arbor Day, created in 1872 by the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture.   Celebrating trees is a wonderful thing!  California’s observance coincides with the birthday of botanist Luther Burbank. My Assembly Concurrent Resolution 157, (Waldron) recognizes March 7, 2020 as California Arbor Day, and urges Californians to observe the day with appropriate tree-planting programs and activities. Tree People, California ReLeaf, and the California Urban Forests Council all support ACR 157, which passed the Assembly this week.   Our Legislature first proclaimed California… read more
The last Tuesday in February is World Spay Day, an international effort originally started by the Doris Day Animal League in 1995. To mark the day, I joined some legislative colleagues on the Capitol lawn, with representatives from animal rescue groups and shelters throughout California, including Dr. Gary Weitzman of the San Diego Humane Society, to help increase public awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering our pets. Last year, the San Diego Humane Society performed nearly 20,000 spay/neuter surgeries. This simple operation has a tremendous beneficial impact on the lives… read more
In his State of the State address, Governor Newsom made homelessness a top priority. He also noted that California is the world’s fifth-largest economy, the richest state in the richest nation, but with massive poverty in our midst. The disgraceful evidence of that poverty can be seen in homeless people on our streets with encampments stretching from Mexico to Oregon.  I applaud the Governor for taking on this issue. Over the years, I have fought for improved access to treatment for those with mental illness and substance use disorders, health care and shelter. And as the Governor stated,… read more
Our personal data is valuable, needing secure protection in this digital age.  In 2018, Governor Brown signed California’s Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), the toughest, most far-reaching data protection law ever passed in the United States. Though the law was passed in 2018, its provisions became effective January 1st of this year. The CCPA grants Californians the right to request that businesses disclose any personal information collected about them, the categories and sources of the information, data on sales of that information to third parties, and the right to request deletion of… read more
As a member of the Assembly Select Committee on Infectious Disease in High Risk Communities, I do all I can to ensure California remains at the forefront in combatting serious threats to public health.  Human-immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS), the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most serious public health issues facing our state.  That’s why I have joined Senator Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco), to co-author Senate Bill 859, requiring the development and implementation of a master plan to combat  these diseases, with the ultimate aim of… read more
This week I joined my colleagues to address a large crowd gathered on the Capitol steps to protest Assembly Bill 5, one of the most devastating pieces of legislation in California’s recent history. This ill-conceived attempt to deal with the problem of employee misclassification has jeopardized the livelihood and security of thousands. My office has received hundreds of phone calls, emails and letters opposing AB 5 from a broad cross section of workers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, newspaper publishers, freelancers, interpreters, artists, musicians, and even local community groups like… read more