Op-Eds

Last month I introduced House Resolution 7 (HR 7), which is 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. Unfortunately California and Nevada have become the primary location for human trafficking in the western United States. Worldwide, it is a $150 billion per year industry, with 40.3 million victims -- 25% are children, and 75% women and… read more
California has been transitioning from residential to community-based care for people with developmental disabilities, with the state expecting to see substantial cost savings.  While Gov. Newsom’s budget proposal diverts that money to pay for other state programs, myself and other legislators want to provide a secure source of funding for some of the most vulnerable people in the state.  We are calling on the Governor to support Californians with developmental disabilities and their caregivers by permanently dedicating savings from the closure of developmental centers to increase pay for… read more
California appears to be flush with cash. Last November, the Legislative Analyst’s office reported a $14.8 billion surplus for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. That was later updated to a projected $20.6 billion, while Governor Newsom’s finance department is predicting a surplus of $21.4 billion.   Unfortunately, that surplus can quickly disappear. During the Great Recession, California faced annual budget deficits over $20 billion, a situation that could be repeated when another economic downturn hits. A recession is inevitable; we just don’t know when it will come.  That’s why I… read more
We have a new Governor, a new budget plan and a new legislative session that just began. Needless to say, many very important issues will be discussed in Sacramento over the coming months.  The budget’s education initiatives would freeze UC and CSU tuition, make the first two years at community colleges free, make Cal-Grants more widely available and expand other aid programs. K-14 education funding would grow, including plans for universal preschool and efforts to help districts resolve their unfunded pension liabilities.  The budget includes a proposal to create a statewide purchasing… read more
As most of you know, Proposition 13 limits annual property tax increases to a maximum of 2% each year and continues to save California homeowners money ever since it was overwhelmingly passed by voters in 1978.  Unfortunately, proposals to weaken Prop. 13 protections are on the table this year. Under the ‘split roll’ proposal, Prop. 13 would remain in place for homeowners, but would be eliminated for many commercial properties; allowing their property taxes to increase beyond the 2% cap annually based on inflating market values.    In reality, it won’t be just business owners who are forced… read more
On January 7, 120 California legislators will assemble in the State Capitol to begin the 2019-2020 session.  Almost 3,000 bills will probably be introduced over the next few weeks. Some will be controversial, though I’m hoping that many important issues that face us, regardless of party, including disaster preparedness, water infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, education and many more, will generate bi-partisan solutions.  Proposals for new legislation must be submitted to the Legislative Counsel’s office by January 25 so that bill language can be drafted by February 22, this year’s… read more