Op-Eds

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
This year I was principal co-author of AB 128 (Gloria), which requires any person purchasing a horse at auction, many of which are rounded up on public lands, to sign a sworn statement that the animal won’t be sold for slaughter.  Since 1971, federal law has required the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to manage wild horses. While the BLM has prohibited the sale of healthy horses to slaughterhouses, the Forest Service has not enforced a similar prohibition. Earlier this year I also signed a letter, along with many of my colleagues, to Senators Feinstein and Harris asking that… read more
With the recent heavy rains, our water supply may not be at the top of everyone’s worry list. Even so, last week the San Diego County Water Authority gave an update on the future of water in our region. The County Water Authority was created by the Legislature in 1944. Its 24 member agencies provide about 75% of our water and serve 3.3 million people. But only 17% of our water comes from local supplies, which include the nation’s largest desalination plant at Carlsbad.11% originates in Northern California, and 72% from the Colorado River. This includes a water transfer agreement with the… read more
Last week I gave the keynote speech at the State of Reform Health Policy Conference in San Diego, one of the largest, most diverse gatherings of health care executives and policy makers in California. Health care is one of my passions, and as a member of the Assembly Health Committee, I was thrilled to be invited.   Mental health is a major topic. One in six California adults experience some form of mental illness, and two-thirds of children and adolescents suffering from depressive episodes go untreated. More empowerment for locals on the front lines of mental health treatment is a must.… read more
We’re entering the holiday season, and many people could use a little extra cash. You might be interested to know that California is sitting on unclaimed properties valued at over $9 billion. Please visit claimit.ca.gov to see if any of that money belongs to you.  Why does California have so much unclaimed property? Under our Unclaimed Property Law, businesses like banks and insurance companies are required to transfer property to the Controller’s office if it goes unclaimed for a specified period of time, usually three years. Common types of unclaimed property are bank accounts, stocks,… read more
California has many powerful state agencies that impact the lives of millions. One of the most powerful, but perhaps less known or understood, is the California Public Utilities Commission.   The CPUC was created in 1911 after a constitutional amendment was approved by voters to reorganize the Railroad Commission, which was established decades earlier to regulate the state’s powerful railroad industry. In 1912, the Legislature passed the Public Utilities Act, expanding Railroad Commission authority to regulate utilities such as gas, electric and telephone companies. In 1946, voters approved… read more
My husband and I have owned our small retail business for over 25 years. The problems we encountered running that business were some of the primary reasons I first ran for public office. Since joining the Legislature, I have supported a wide range of legislation that would stimulate business formation and provide greater employment opportunities, more work-force training and greater job growth. Reducing burdensome regulations and needless bureaucracy also remains one of my highest priorities in Sacramento.   Earlier this year, I was honored that the National Federation of Independent… read more
Last November, 60% of California voters passed Proposition 7, aimed at eliminating the bi-annual tradition of moving clocks back in the fall and forward in the spring.   Daylight saving time was first imposed as a temporary energy saving measure during World War I, and was re-instated during World War II.  After World War II ended, states were allowed to decide the issue, and in 1949, voters approved Proposition 12, permanently establishing daylight saving time in our state.  Since the voters authorized daylight saving time, only the voters could approve any changes. Under the terms of… read more
Access to a quality education is the best way to ensure our students a bright, successful future. But one size does not fit all, and not every student wants to go to a traditional college. Even so, California schools often focus on sending kids to colleges and universities, with less emphasis on trades. We have a skilled worker shortage in California, and we need to make sure that high school students have the opportunity to learn technical skills that can lead to well-paying jobs after they graduate. That’s why Career Technical Education is so important. To help meet this need, last… read more
As a member of the Select Committee on Biotechnology and Co-Chair of the Rare Disease Caucus, I’m always looking for innovative treatments that provide the greatest benefit for patients at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. That’s why I’m enthusiastic about Project Baby Bear, a $2 million Medi-Cal funded pilot program at several hospitals, including San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital, to provide rapid whole-genome sequencing (rWGS) to seriously ill newborns. To learn more about this trial program, I recently attended a hearing of the Select Committee on Biotechnology with Committee… read more