The spotted lantern fly, a Chinese pest first detected in Pennsylvania is headed to California.  It attacks many crops, including wine grapes and avocados.    To combat this major threat to our economy, the California Department of Food and Agriculture granted the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside, directed by Mark Hoddle, $544,000 to test how a parasitic wasp, also from China, might be used to control the fly. The wasp lays its eggs inside the lantern fly’s eggs and wasp larvae then eats and kills the host. According to Hoddle, testing on the wasp will take about three… read more
On June 5, I joined 119 State Senators and Assemblymembers on the South Lawn of the Capitol as we participated in the 4th annual California Nonprofits Day to recognize and honor the nonprofits that do so much to improve our communities and enhance the lives of thousands of Californians.   This year I was very pleased to recognize REINS Therapeutic Riding of Fallbrook as my Nonprofit of the Year. Led by Executive Director Deborah Shinner and Program Director Shauna Jopes, over the last 35 years REINS has become the largest therapeutic riding program in San Diego County and is ranked among the… read more
Every two days a young person in California dies from an opioid overdose. More and more opioid dependent children are treated in emergency departments than ever before -- increasing by 54% over the past ten years.  While there is no single treatment or remedy for substance abuse, it is clear that early intervention programs aimed at youthful abusers are comprehensive and effective. That’s why I have joined with Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D – Van Nuys) to co-author Assembly Bill 1031.  The bill establishes the Youth Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment and Recovery Program, which… read more
This year over 2,900 bills were introduced in the State Legislature, an excessive number in my opinion. All those bills had to pass by the “house of origin” deadline on May 31st. Any bills that failed to pass are held for now, though some will become two-year bills to be considered again next year.  Several of my bills beat the deadline, including Assembly Bill 1352, which strengthens local mental health boards and oversees community mental health systems to improve care to patients.  Assembly Bill 9, which I jointly authored with Assemblymembers Reyes and Friedman, extends the time frame… read more
This region plays a big part in making California the nation’s leading agricultural state. Locally grown crops that include avocados, citrus, strawberries, grapes and cut flowers have put San Diego in the top tier of the nation’s agricultural counties. According to the San Diego County Farm Bureau, San Diego is the 19th largest farm economy out of more than 3,000 counties nationwide. I am a big supporter of local agriculture, and last week I was proud to recognize John Burr, the San Diego County Farm Bureau’s Farmer of the Year. John was recognized for his decades of agricultural innovation… read more
The Governor just released his “May Revise,” which updates the preliminary budget he released in January to serve as a discussion starter leading up to the legislative deadline for final budget approval on June 15th.   There’s a lot to like in the Governor’s $214 billion budget proposal. First of all, raising the child tax credit to help families cope with our skyrocketing cost of living deserves support. And with California’s population expected to expand to 50 million by 2030, decades-old infrastructure including dams, reservoirs and water conveyance systems that were built for half our… read more
Small Business drives our local and state economies, a fact recognized by Governor Newsom last week when he issued a proclamation declaring May 2019 Small Business Month in California. California’s small businesses employ over 7 million people, and most have less than 100 employees. According to recent studies, small businesses make up over 95 percent of all businesses in this region, with businesses employing 4 or less employees comprising 65 percent of the total. Over the past two years, almost three-quarters of all local companies experienced growth, and 85 percent expect to continue… read more
May is National Military Appreciation Month, and includes several national observances honoring our veterans and their families. These include Victory in Europe (VE) Day on May 8th, Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 10th, Armed Forces Day on May 18th and Memorial Day on May 27th.   But supporting our veterans involves more than holidays or national commemorations. This session I have joined with Assemblyman William Brough (R – Dana Point) to co-author Assembly Bill 427. The bill would exclude military retirement pay from the state’s income tax.  20 states do not tax military benefits… read more
Since joining the Legislature I have authored, co-authored and supported numerous bills aimed at protecting pets and wildlife. Fortunately, most of this legislation is now law.  My bills include legislation that created the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Fund, allowing taxpayers to check off contributions on their tax returns to support injured or sick wildlife. Another bill prohibits the sale or transfer of shelter animals to research facilities for experimentation or testing.  I co-authored legislation limiting the use of mile-long gill nets and encouraging the… read more
Over the past few years, the Cedar, Witch, Cocos, Guejito, Paradise and Lilac fires have taught us a lot.  The need to be proactive is critical. That’s why I introduced Assembly Bill 19, for fire prevention and roadway vegetation management.  Auto-related wildfires are a major problem in California. In 2016 and 2017, almost 25% of local wildfires were vehicle-related. The seventh most destructive fire in state history, last year’s Carr Fire in Northern California, killed eight people, burned over 229,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,500 structures. The fire started when sparks caused by a… read more