Op-Eds

The last Tuesday in February is World Spay Day, an international effort originally started by the Doris Day Animal League in 1995. To mark the day, I joined some legislative colleagues on the Capitol lawn, with representatives from animal rescue groups and shelters throughout California, including Dr. Gary Weitzman of the San Diego Humane Society, to help increase public awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering our pets. Last year, the San Diego Humane Society performed nearly 20,000 spay/neuter surgeries. This simple operation has a tremendous beneficial impact on the lives… read more
In his State of the State address, Governor Newsom made homelessness a top priority. He also noted that California is the world’s fifth-largest economy, the richest state in the richest nation, but with massive poverty in our midst. The disgraceful evidence of that poverty can be seen in homeless people on our streets with encampments stretching from Mexico to Oregon.  I applaud the Governor for taking on this issue. Over the years, I have fought for improved access to treatment for those with mental illness and substance use disorders, health care and shelter. And as the Governor stated,… read more
Our personal data is valuable, needing secure protection in this digital age.  In 2018, Governor Brown signed California’s Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), the toughest, most far-reaching data protection law ever passed in the United States. Though the law was passed in 2018, its provisions became effective January 1st of this year. The CCPA grants Californians the right to request that businesses disclose any personal information collected about them, the categories and sources of the information, data on sales of that information to third parties, and the right to request deletion of… read more
As a member of the Assembly Select Committee on Infectious Disease in High Risk Communities, I do all I can to ensure California remains at the forefront in combatting serious threats to public health.  Human-immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS), the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most serious public health issues facing our state.  That’s why I have joined Senator Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco), to co-author Senate Bill 859, requiring the development and implementation of a master plan to combat  these diseases, with the ultimate aim of… read more
This week I joined my colleagues to address a large crowd gathered on the Capitol steps to protest Assembly Bill 5, one of the most devastating pieces of legislation in California’s recent history. This ill-conceived attempt to deal with the problem of employee misclassification has jeopardized the livelihood and security of thousands. My office has received hundreds of phone calls, emails and letters opposing AB 5 from a broad cross section of workers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, newspaper publishers, freelancers, interpreters, artists, musicians, and even local community groups like… read more
Earlier this session I spoke on the Assembly Floor on House Resolution 7 (HR 7), that I jointly authored with Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D – San Bernardino). HR 7 declares January Human Trafficking Awareness Month in California, part of a nationwide effort to combat this growing menace. A form of modern slavery, human trafficking has grown 842% in the United States since 2007. Worldwide, there are over 40 million victims of human trafficking, 75% of the victims are women and girls, and 25% are children. Unfortunately, California, with its harbors, coastlines and international border… read more
It’s easier to prevent wildfires than to control them once they’ve started. That’s why I introduced Assembly Bill 19, which will provide $25 million for vegetation management along county-maintained roads.   Auto-related wildfires are a major problem in California. In 2016 and 2017, almost 25% of local wildfires were vehicle-related. The Carr Fire, the state’s seventh largest, began when sparks from a flat tire ignited brush along a highway in Northern California. The fire killed eight people, burned over 200,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,500 structures, and cost over $1.6 billion.   We… read more
In 2018 Governor Brown signed two bills which will have a major impact on water use in our state. AB 1668 and SB 606, which I opposed, created stringent water use mandates for all Californians.   One regulation involves a 55 gallon per day indoor water use limit. Contrary to some news reports, this is not an individual mandate. No one will be told they can’t take a shower or do laundry on the same day. The 55 gallon mandate requires water suppliers to meet that standard over the entire agency. Penalties for violations of these standards will fall directly on the agency, not individual… read more
The State Legislature returns January 6 to complete the 2019-2020 session. 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators will gather in the State Capitol to begin work on some of the most consequential issues that have ever faced California.    It’s likely that around 3,000 bills will be introduced over the next few weeks. All legislation must be submitted to the Office of Legislative Counsel by January 24 so that bill language can be drafted by the final introduction deadline on February 21. Bills must be passed to the alternate House by May 29, and all work must wrap up August 31st, when we finally… read more
Effective January 1st, hundreds of new laws went into effect. Some you may have heard about, but others possibly not. Several of the new laws impact veterans. Among these are legislation that makes honorably discharged veterans exempt from paying state or local business license fees for selling or providing services, if the veteran is sole proprietor. Another law exempts automotive adaptive equipment sold to veterans with service-connected disabilities from sales and use taxes. Pro bono civil legal assistance for veterans has been enhanced, and animal adoption fees at shelters for veterans… read more