Gas prices are rising again and Californians need relief. Completely eliminating our highest-in-the-nation gas tax would be an important step, but that’s a non-starter as far as the Sacramento majority is concerned. But, with the Governor’s approval, other steps can be taken immediately. Last week my colleagues and I wrote a letter to the Governor asking him to take concrete steps to help reduce the gasoline price spikes we’ve seen in recent weeks and to reduce or eliminate the cost increases likely to occur this summer. First of all, we ask that the transition from winter to summer-blend… read more
San Diego County has more tribal governments than any other county in the nation. Since these communities are all located within the 75th Assembly District, tribal issues are very important to me, especially regarding their safety and prosperity. With approximately 110 federally recognized tribes, California is home to more Native American and Alaska Native people than any other state. Four in five Native American and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime, and one in 130 Native American children are likely to go missing every year. According to the Center for… read more
For years California has had the nation’s highest energy costs. Recent price increases for natural gas have added to the misery, and have led to renewed interest in the California Public Utilities Commission, which has held hearings on the price increases under its authority to regulate and oversee utilities.   The CPUC was created in 1911 when voters approved a constitutional amendment to reorganize the Railroad Commission. Commission authority was expanded in 1912 to cover utilities such as gas, electric and telephone companies, and in 1946, voters approved renaming the Railroad Commission… read more
Public safety should be government’s top priority. That’s why I’m supporting a new legislative initiative in Sacramento that will enhance public safety by restoring felony penalties for many crimes now plaguing California. Obviously, serious crimes demand serious consequences. One day last week, Border Patrol agents seized fentanyl, cocaine and heroin valued at $4 million from smugglers on I-8 in San Diego County, and near the Murrieta Border Patrol checkpoint in Riverside County. In 2021 fentanyl was responsible for over 6,000 deaths in California alone. Unbelievably, the Sacramento… read more
In 2014 voters approved a $7.5 billion water bond, which included $2.7 billion for construction of new dams and reservoirs. Unfortunately, few projects are underway, or even being planned.  Our largest dams and reservoirs were built before 1979, most between 1945 and 1968, when our population was less than half its current size.  I have long supported efforts to increase water storage and conveyance capacity, to expand water recycling, and increase use of desalination. However, bureaucratic hurdles have delayed or prevented most new projects for decades. One example is the proposed Sites… read more
Most business of the Legislature is conducted by committees. Committees have jurisdiction over specific policy areas, and usually have a Democratic chair and Republican vice chair. Most legislation must pass several committees before a final vote on the Assembly floor. This session, Assembly Speaker Rendon has appointed me to six standing committees. Ensuring access to affordable healthcare, including covering pre-existing conditions, expanding mental health/substance use disorder treatments and children’s healthcare are important parts of my healthcare  advocacy in Sacramento. I look… read more
Last week, the Governor introduced his proposed budget for the coming Fiscal Year. The final budget must be approved by the Legislature no later than June 15th, and must be signed into law by June 30th. The new 2023-2024 Fiscal Year begins July 1st. Budget bright spots include funding for mental health services, including preventing cuts for service providers for the Developmentally Disabled. The budget increases safety net services for individuals like those with autism spectrum disorders and continues funding for foster youth services through the state’s Regional Centers. In an… read more
On January 4, 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators returned to Sacramento for the 2023-2024 legislative session. Hundreds of bills will be introduced over the coming weeks.  Most won’t be controversial, and many will probably never become law. Most bills must be submitted to the Office of Legislative Counsel by January 20, and February 17 is the final bill introduction deadline. Bills will be referred to their respective committees for hearings in March or April, where many will be amended significantly. Legislative deadlines throughout the year must be met -- bills that don’t meet these… read more
California is increasingly unaffordable. We have the nation’s most expensive housing and the highest energy costs.  We must reform policies that increase costs and impose burdensome fees on every home built, including rental units, making it difficult or impossible to find a place for many to live. State energy policies that drive up electricity costs, and our highest-in-the-nation gas prices/taxes, need serious reform. Water is another problem. Bureaucratic hurdles blocking new dams must be revised. Current storms may fill existing reservoirs, built for a much smaller population, but… read more
Holiday celebrations began in the State Capitol in1869. Though the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington DC is well-known, many may not be aware that a similar ceremony continues to take place each December in Sacramento at our State Capitol. Past Governors decorated the Capitol with wreaths and their offices with trees, but in 1931 the tree was moved from the Governor’s office to the Rotunda and later to a spot near the Lt. Governor’s office, where it remained until 1984. Concerns about fire safety resulted in the tree being moved outside, where it has remained ever since.… read more