During the pandemic, the Employment Development Department (EDD) virtually collapsed, and legislative offices like mine stepped into the breach. My office alone handled over 3,000 unemployment cases. Solving that immediate crisis was critical for constituents needing their unemployment benefits, but the bill to cover those payments has come due. Twenty-two states, including California, were forced to borrow billions from the federal government because of a federal law requiring EDD claims to be paid whether or not states have the funds. Currently, California owes the federal government $18.9… read more
California’s $310.6 billion budget for the new Fiscal Year was approved in mid-June. Trailer bills that make specific funding allocations for state agencies and programs are receiving approval and in many cases are still under review. As often happens, politically expedient wants are often placed above essentials. For example, spending plans still include $4.2 billion for the high-speed rail boondoggle. Even so, the budget contains positives that I was pleased to support. Chief among these are funding to improve usability and safety of existing dams. Even though the measure inexplicably… read more
As the Assembly representative for the 75th District, which includes the eastern and northern two-thirds of San Diego County, I’m reaching out to let you know about the services available through my District Office (DO). My staff and I are honored and excited to represent you, and to provide any assistance you may need when dealing with state agencies. Navigating the state’s bureaucracy can be a challenge, and helping people bypass the busy signals and long wait times is an important function of my DO. The most common issues involve problems with agencies like the Department of Motor… read more
As Vice Chair of the Assembly Emergency Management Committee, I participated in a Joint Informational Hearing with the Assembly Insurance Committee on June 14. Discussions involved the current crisis facing the state’s insurance industry, specifically related to wildfires and the usefulness of Catastrophe Modeling to assess risks for homeowners. Catastrophe modeling is a combination of modeling catastrophe footprint on exposures and linking them to insurance and reinsurance business activities. The process uses computer-assisted calculations to estimate the losses that could be sustained due… read more
The 75th Assembly District, which I am honored to represent in Sacramento, covers the largely rural eastern two-thirds of San Diego County, and is home to much of our agricultural areas and tribal governments. Unfortunately, much of that area lies within a Very High Fire Risk Severity zone and needs reliable, sustainable water infrastructure. Given our region’s vulnerability to recurring droughts, diminishing groundwater resources and wildfires, I am very pleased to support AB 1567 (Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, and others). Once approved by voters, projects including wildfire… read more
On June 7, California’s annual Nonprofits Day ceremony was held on the South Lawn of the State Capitol. The ceremony salutes nonprofits that do so much to improve our communities and enhance our lives. This year, 113 nonprofits from throughout California were honored. For a full list of honorees by region, please click here. I was very pleased to recognize the Southern Indian Health Council (SIHC), based in Alpine, as the 75th Assembly District’s Nonprofit of the Year for 2023. SIHC serves seven local tribes in southeast San Diego County, including Barona, Campo, Ewiiaapaayp, Jamul, La Posta… read more
This year, the “House of Origin Deadline” was June 2nd, the final day for bills to pass the house in which they were first introduced. Any bills that failed to pass by the deadline have died. Legislation that made it through included AB 1741, which I introduced to help solve the shortage of clinical laboratory personnel that has impacted test processing for patients here locally and throughout California. The bill passed without opposition and expands the duties that unlicensed personnel who meet specified education/training criteria can perform under direct supervision of licensed personnel… read more
May was Wildfire Preparedness Month, with the danger of wildfires increasing as we head into summer. Last winter’s record rainfall generated a massive amount of fuel throughout California, and San Diego County is no exception. Drive down almost any road in the backcountry and you’ll see overgrown and increasingly dry vegetation everyplace you look. Summer is coming, and the new growth is just waiting for a spark. Defensible space around homes is absolutely essential, especially for those living in the backcountry. Minimum requirements are 100 feet around each structure – your local fire… read more
Last week was Wine Week in San Diego County, a celebration of the contributions our local vintners make to our economy and lifestyle. As a member of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine, I do all I can to support this vital part of San Diego’s agricultural industry, sustaining San Diego County’s position as the 19th largest farm economy in the United States.  San Diego County has a well-established history in the wine industry. The first vineyards in California were planted by the Friars at Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. In 2022, County wineries generated about $49.1 million in gross… read more
On Tuesday, May 9th, we recognized National Fentanyl Awareness Day.  Each month, fentanyl claims the lives of 500 Californians and nationally, fentanyl overdose deaths more than tripled over the past few years. I serve on the state’s first Select Committee on Fentanyl, Opioid Addiction, and Overdose Prevention. I intend to bring attention to the fentanyl trafficked through the Southern Border, mostly through our district, and the thousands of lives lost in San Diego County, many from accidental overdoses. We are looking forward to our first hearing this month. We need to focus on… read more