In 2014 voters approved a $7.5 billion water bond, which included $2.7 billion for construction of new dams and reservoirs. Unfortunately, few projects are underway, or even being planned.  Our largest dams and reservoirs were built before 1979, most between 1945 and 1968, when our population was less than half its current size.  I have long supported efforts to increase water storage and conveyance capacity, to expand water recycling, and increase use of desalination. However, bureaucratic hurdles have delayed or prevented most new projects for decades. One example is the proposed Sites… read more
Most business of the Legislature is conducted by committees. Committees have jurisdiction over specific policy areas, and usually have a Democratic chair and Republican vice chair. Most legislation must pass several committees before a final vote on the Assembly floor. This session, Assembly Speaker Rendon has appointed me to six standing committees. Ensuring access to affordable healthcare, including covering pre-existing conditions, expanding mental health/substance use disorder treatments and children’s healthcare are important parts of my healthcare  advocacy in Sacramento. I look… read more
Last week, the Governor introduced his proposed budget for the coming Fiscal Year. The final budget must be approved by the Legislature no later than June 15th, and must be signed into law by June 30th. The new 2023-2024 Fiscal Year begins July 1st. Budget bright spots include funding for mental health services, including preventing cuts for service providers for the Developmentally Disabled. The budget increases safety net services for individuals like those with autism spectrum disorders and continues funding for foster youth services through the state’s Regional Centers. In an… read more
On January 4, 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators returned to Sacramento for the 2023-2024 legislative session. Hundreds of bills will be introduced over the coming weeks.  Most won’t be controversial, and many will probably never become law. Most bills must be submitted to the Office of Legislative Counsel by January 20, and February 17 is the final bill introduction deadline. Bills will be referred to their respective committees for hearings in March or April, where many will be amended significantly. Legislative deadlines throughout the year must be met -- bills that don’t meet these… read more
California is increasingly unaffordable. We have the nation’s most expensive housing and the highest energy costs.  We must reform policies that increase costs and impose burdensome fees on every home built, including rental units, making it difficult or impossible to find a place for many to live. State energy policies that drive up electricity costs, and our highest-in-the-nation gas prices/taxes, need serious reform. Water is another problem. Bureaucratic hurdles blocking new dams must be revised. Current storms may fill existing reservoirs, built for a much smaller population, but… read more
Holiday celebrations began in the State Capitol in1869. Though the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington DC is well-known, many may not be aware that a similar ceremony continues to take place each December in Sacramento at our State Capitol. Past Governors decorated the Capitol with wreaths and their offices with trees, but in 1931 the tree was moved from the Governor’s office to the Rotunda and later to a spot near the Lt. Governor’s office, where it remained until 1984. Concerns about fire safety resulted in the tree being moved outside, where it has remained ever since.… read more
Bills passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor usually go into effect on January 1st of the following year. For better or worse, here are just a few new laws that go into effect New Year’s Day: Laws impacting businesses include an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour for businesses with less than 25 employees. Previously, only larger companies were required to pay the increased amount. Another new law requires California businesses with more than 15 employees to make pay scales for each job publicly available to all employees. Still another law prevents companies from… read more
On December 5th the Legislature met for a formal organizational session. The main purpose was to swear in members for the 2023-2024 session, which reconvenes on January 4th. Despite the day’s formalities, my Caucus introduced a package of bills to address many significant problems that are affecting all Californians. The rising cost of living was addressed through legislation lowering income tax rates to help working families afford child care, expanding the renter’s tax credit, and lowering income tax rates for the middle class. Other legislation imposes a gasoline tax holiday, and suspends… read more
California has 30% of the nation’s homeless and over half of its unsheltered homeless. $17 billion has been thrown at the problem, yet homeless numbers continue to grow. Between 2019 and 2022, the homeless population increased by over 22,000. We have become a national embarrassment. So what can be done? Last session, my caucus introduced a comprehensive bill package with real Homelessness Solutions. The package included 15 significant pieces of legislation designed to deal with the root causes of homelessness, including substance use disorders, mental illness, affordable housing. If passed,… read more
As the Assemblymember for the new 75th Assembly district, I want to reach out and let you know how my office can be of assistance to you.  We are honored and excited to be able to represent you in Sacramento and we are here to be of assistance. Helping people navigate the state’s massive bureaucracy is an important function of my District Office (DO). The most common constituent issues involve state agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Employment Development Department (EDD). For example, during the pandemic we were able to assist over 3,000 constituents with problems… read more