Op-Eds

At the San Diego County Farm Bureau’s annual celebration, I was proud to present Ken Altman with an Assembly Resolution honoring him as "Farmer of the Year".  As owner of Altman Plants, the largest nursery in the United States, located right here in the 75th Assembly District, Ken has been active in California agriculture for decades. He represents the best of San Diego agriculture. His service includes the Dean’s Advisory Committee for California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and the San Diego County Farm Bureau Executive Committee, with two years as President. Committed… read more
Many people ask me what is the State Assembly and where is our district? I'm always proud to talk about our amazing district and the wonderful people who live here. The 75th Assembly District, which I am honored to represent, is a "healthy" district - with avocados, citrus, grapes and sunshine for example. From San Marcos and Escondido to Temecula, and every rural community in-between, including De Luz, Pauma Valley, Fallbrook, Bonsall, and Valley Center, we are lucky to call this beautiful region home. The ties that bind us are strong. Escondido and Temecula are both railroad towns dating… read more
California has the highest gasoline prices in the country, and at 51.1 cents per gallon, our gasoline tax is also the highest. Keep in mind we have the country’s worst poverty rate, with many living just barely above the poverty level, and thousands have real problems just making ends meet. Making matters worse, SB 339 has been signed into law by the Governor. It pilots implementation of a “Road Usage Charge” (RUC), to eventually charge motorists a "per mile driven" tax. We already pay over twice what other Americans pay for fuel and vehicle maintenance – SB 339 adds to the burden. Remember… read more
By Assemblymember Marie Waldron 2020 was California’s worst year ever for wildfires – 3  Specif3 people died and 4.2 billion acres burned. This year is on track to be even worse. Thankfully, the Legislature has responded to this crisis with a historic investment in wildfire prevention and response. With $200 million per year in ongoing funding, California’s land managers and firefighters will have the resources to turn the tide against our state’s deadly wildfires. Until recently, this funding was in doubt. The Governor’s budget proposal contained little for wildfires, and the… read more
Many can remember recent San Diego wildfire disasters, including the Cedar, Witch, Cocos, Guejito and Lilac fires which devastated so much of this region. North County Fire Protection District, Valley Center Fire Protection District, and the Rincon Fire Department all serve communities with designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones. There is a clear need to support our rural fire agencies. This year, in light of the state’s $38 billion budget surplus, I made three funding requests from the Assembly Budget Committee. Though questions have arisen involving funding for statewide fire… read more
Historically, the relationship between federal and state governments and Native Americans has been fraught with violence, mistreatment and neglect. In 1887, the General Allotment Act broke up reservation lands and resulted in the uncompensated loss of 90 million acres nationwide. Taking steps toward restoring tribal lands through fee-to-trust transfers is one way to correct past injustices, restore tribal sovereignty, self-determination and economic independence. I have joined Senator Ben Hueso (D–San Diego) to co-author Senate Bill 712. The federal fee-to-trust application process… read more
Reality is setting in for the high-speed rail project. Cost overruns, construction delays and false promises may have finally doomed the project. In 2008, voters passed Prop. 1A, a $9.5 billion bond measure to help finance high-speed rail. Promises included keeping costs under $40 billion, the state’s maximum investment would be 30%, funding from federal, private and local sources would pay the rest. Additional taxpayer subsidies were prohibited, and construction could not begin until all revenues were in hand for the first segment. But projected costs now range as high as $100 billion,… read more
During California’s disastrous 2020 fire season, almost 4.2 million acres burned. Tragically, 33 people died, thousands of homes were lost, and an estimated 112 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere. Now we’re in the second year of a drought and the 2021 fire season has begun. The Dixie Fire is raging across the Northern Sierras and Cascades, and the Concord Fire, southwest of Lake Tahoe, has ravaged the community of Grizzly Flats. An oversight hearing in the Assembly Budget Sub 3 Committee was scheduled for August 18 to review strategy and goals for… read more
I have long been an advocate for expanded access to mental health care as way to restore lives and to save taxpayer dollars by reducing costs associated with treatment, along with many related societal costs including homelessness and public safety. This session I have joined Senator Scott Weiner (D – San Francisco) to co-author Senate Bill 221. The bill closes loopholes in current law by ensuring that HMOs and health insurers provide patients with timely follow-up care, avoiding lengthy delays in treatment that often lead to longer recovery times, worse overall outcomes, and even increased… read more
The crisis at the Employment Development Department (EDD) is continuing. Many claimants had to wait months for their benefits, thousands have had their finances devastated, while others filed phony claims that reportedly defrauded the state of over $30 billion. The Executive Branch administers state agencies, but has taken no significant steps toward reforming EDD. The Legislative Branch has stepped into the breech, and I’m very happy that my office has been able to provide assistance to thousands of constituents. Since March of 2020 when the shutdowns began, we have handled over 2100 EDD… read more