Op-Eds

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
Millions of children and young adults throughout the nation are active social media users. Last week two bills dealing with social media’s impact on child and adolescent mental health passed the Assembly Health Committee. Worldwide, there are 34 social media platforms, with at least 100 million users. According to a U.S. Surgeon General’s report last year, 95% of teens aged 13 to 17 use social media, and more than one in three report they use it “almost constantly.” Most social media platforms require users to beat least 13, but 40% of children ages 8 to 12 report they use social media… read more
Last week Assembly Bill 1965 (AB 1965), introduced by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park), passed the Assembly Health Committee, where I serve as Vice Chair. Once implemented, AB 1965 will take aim at the public healthcare crisis impacting tribal communities throughout California. Health disparities impacting American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities include opioid overdose death rates, which are higher among the AIAN population than any other group. Diabetes prevalence and mortality are two times higher than the non-Hispanic white population, and AIAN women have higher… read more
There are 99 legislative chambers throughout the 50 states.  Of these, 16 states have enacted term limits, including California. Other term limited states include Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Arizona, Kansas and Nevada. Proposition 28, which was approved by 61% of California’s voters in 2012, established our current term limit system. California legislators may serve a total of twelve years -- Senate terms are 4 years and Assembly terms are two. I’m now serving my 6th Assembly term – my 12th and final year. Prior to 2012, legislators could serve a total of 14 years, but only three… read more
California is the country’s leading agricultural state. In recognition of the importance of agriculture to our economy, ceremonies recognizing Ag Day were held at the State Capitol March 19th. California has over 83,000 farms and ranches, 4 percent of the nation’s total. But we produce over one third of the country’s vegetables and almost three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts. San Diego County plays a big part. From cattle grazing on East County hillsides, to avocado and citrus groves in Pauma Valley and Fallbrook, much of that agriculture is located right here in the 75th Assembly… read more
Summer is fast approaching, for many a time to take out the boat and head for the ocean, the nearest lake, or over to The River. But there’s more to boating than just recreation. The industry supports thousands of jobs, and has a major impact on our state’s overall economy.   California is one of the top ten boating states in the nation. Recreational boating has a $13 billion annual economic impact on California’s economy, supports over 41,000 jobs and over 2,800 businesses statewide. More than 700,000 boats are registered in California, and contrary to what many may think, boating is not… read more
March is Women’s History Month, and it serves as an important reminder of the progress we’ve made in the past 100 years. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified granting women the right to vote nationally. California had granted women the right to vote in 1911, but it wasn’t until 1918 that the first four women were elected to the Legislature. Women’s Suffrage was not a partisan issue. When the 19th Amendment passed Congress, over 80% of Republicans and 50% of Democrats supported the measure in both houses. Nor was it a male vs. female issue. In some states, including Colorado and Oklahoma… read more
I am a strong advocate for expanded access to healthcare, including mental health and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatments.  These issues frequently come before the Assembly Health Committee, where I serve as Vice Chair. This session I introduced Assembly Bill 1944, which seeks to create a safe pathway for patients with rare and ultra-rare diseases seeking investigational treatments designed just for them, despite the usual costly and extremely time-consuming FDA approval process.  I also supported SB 496, which requires health insurers including Medi-Cal to cover biomarker testing that… read more
The placement of Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in rural areas of California, including San Diego County, is an ongoing problem. Since the 75th Assembly District covers most of rural northern and eastern San Diego County, I am very pleased to join Senator Brian Jones (R – San Diego) as co-author of Senate Bill 1074. In San Diego County, SVPs have been placed in Jacumba Hot Springs, Campo, Boulevard, Borrego Springs and other locations, often in residential neighborhoods or near parks and schools .Currently, the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) oversees placement and contracts with… read more
San Diego County’s tribal communities are all located within the 75th Assembly District – we have more sovereign tribal governments than any county in the nation. Their safety, security and prosperity are very important to me, and for our region. That’s why the second annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) summit, which took place in Sacramento February 12th and 13th, was so important. The event was sponsored by the Yurok Tribe and the Wilton Rancheria from Northern California. Participants included state legislators, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, U.S. Senator Alex… read more