Op-Eds

COVID-19 has had a disproportionately severe impact on California’s low income, African American, Latino and Pacific Islander communities, as well as on essential workers such as those in the healthcare, grocery and cleaning service industries. That’s why I am proud to support Assembly Bill 1038 (AB 1038), introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D – Carson). The bill establishes the California Health Equity Program within the Department of Public Health (CDPH) to provide grants supporting local health departments, non-profit organizations, community clinics and tribes that have been on the… read more
California is known for its innovative, entrepreneurial, think-different spirit that has born some of the most important industries and companies in the modern era. But California’s great attributes must be tethered by nuts-and-bolts basics and foundations that allow all Californians to enjoy living and working in this state. In other words, there is a time for dreaming and a time to be practical. With the governor set to unveil his revised budget proposal, we urge him to remember that now is a time to be practical. California now has tens of billions of dollars in excess funds between a… read more
May is National Military Appreciation Month, with several observances honoring our veterans and their families, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 7th, Armed Forces Day on May 15th and Memorial Day on May 31st. Honoring the service and sacrifice of our active-duty military and our veterans is important, but supporting them means more than holidays or national commemorations. This session I am very pleased that members of my Caucus have introduced important legislation that will help improve the lives and livelihoods of California’s veterans. AB 291, introduced by Assemblyman… read more
As the constitutionally mandated June 15th deadline for passing a balanced budget nears, discussions in Sacramento about spending priorities are ramping up. California is facing a variety of challenges. First of all, we must get the economy up and running again, and we can use our budget surplus to help bring back jobs. Through additional investments in the Small Business Grant Program, and by targeting surplus revenues to reduce unemployment insurance debt for employers, we can get people back to work. Our streets and roads are increasingly inadequate – we have a $6.1 billion annual… read more
Devastation from California’s wildfires has been at record levels in recent years. Last year our wildfire season resulted in over 4 million acres burned in 9,600 fires -- 31 people died. The economic costs to homeowners, utilities, ratepayers, insurers and local governments has been catastrophic. While electric utility infrastructure has accounted for less than ten percent of wildfires historically, downed power lines have been responsible for about half of California’s most destructive fires. As a result, in 2012 the California Public Utilities Commission granted electric utilities… read more
This year I am joining Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D – Arleta) to author Assembly Joint Resolution 5 (AJR 5), to urge the federal government to place a roundup moratorium on the state’s free-roaming horses and burros. Wild horses and burros can trace their North American origins way back, though current populations originated with more recent European settlement.  From the 1600s to the early 1900s, California was an ideal habitat for hundreds of thousands of these magnificent animals. In 1971, the United States Congress unanimously passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, currently… read more
Arbor Day is April 30th, an observance that began in 1872 when the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture adopted a resolution creating a day set aide to plant trees. The holiday spread throughout the United States and is observed in many countries around the world. California’s observance is March 7th, and coincides with the birthday of botanist Luther Burbank. Today, many communities organize tree-planting and litter-collecting events to coincide with the holiday. But whichever day we observe, it’s a call to action.  In California, the Legislature first proclaimed California Arbor Day on… read more
The Employment Development Department (EDD) has been mired in crisis for more than a year now. The massive backlog in unemployment claim processing hasn’t really budged, millions of daily calls go unanswered, fraud is rampant -- estimated  at $11 to $31 billion, and appeals can take over three months; the failure list is long. There’s plenty of blame to go around too. Former Governor Jerrry Brown ignored a 2011 audit that pointed out EDD’s shortcomings, and new directives from the Governor have proven to be inadequate and ineffective. So, what can be done to fix this mess?  I recently met… read more
This year California observed AG Day on March 22nd; a day we celebrate our state's unique contributions to the nation’s food supply. It’s also an opportunity for me to remind legislators from north of the Tehachapi Mountains that our region helps make California the country’s leading agricultural state. Agriculture is a major contributor to our economy. According to the 2019 Crop Report, California’s agricultural output generated $50 billion, with exports totaling $21.7 billion. Top commodities for export included almonds, pistachios, walnuts, dairy and dairy products, and of course, wine.… read more
We all know, public safety was front and center last year, and will continue to be a big issue this year. This includes things like officer records, officer training, and oversight, to name a few. The Covid outbreak within our prison system was not handled well, with well-reported outbreaks and deaths amongst prison staff, including correctional officers, and those incarcerated. In an attempt to reduce drug addiction and repeat offenses, one of my bills, AB 653 will create a county grant for substance use  treatments in county jails and for those on supervised parole. I am also introducing… read more