Every day, gasoline prices set a new record. While some of the recent increase is attributed to uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prices have been shooting up for over a year and there’s no end in sight. That is why I am supporting legislation to suspend the gas tax and I  joined a bipartisan group of legislators urging the Governor to take advantage of California’s abundant inland natural resources. Instead, the Governor has offered only partial relief and tax rebates that will come far too late for many commuters. With no oil pipelines connecting us to other states,… read more
Assembly Bill 1031, which I introduced in 2017, is having a big impact on the welfare of California’s native wildlife. The bill provides funding to help injured, orphaned or sick wildlife receive care and rehabilitation provided by non-profit, rehabilitation organizations throughout the state. Through the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Fund set up under AB 1031, taxpayers can voluntarily check off a deductible contribution when they file their individual state tax returns. On a daily basis, California’s animal rehabilitation organizations rescue injured, sick or orphaned wildlife… read more
The recreational use of marijuana, legalized by Proposition 64 in 2016, has not eliminated illegal marijuana grow sites in many rural areas throughout the state. The illicit marijuana market continues to thrive, financed by consumers seeking to avoid taxes imposed on sales at legal dispensaries. In our own region, huge illegal marijuana farms have been seized over the past few years. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department reported that in 2 years it located 1,576 illegal grows, with 2.5 million plants. The human toll can be staggering, including murder. At a grow house east of Temecula,… read more
The electric bills just keep going up, and up. California energy costs have been high for years, even before the recent spikes. Now it’s getting much worse. Inflation nationwide is out of control, with prices rising at the fastest rate in 40 years. In California, housing is beyond reach for many, gas prices/taxes are the nation’s highest, and our overall tax rates far exceed national norms. Thousands have been priced out of California, with many fleeing the state just to make a living. Energy prices are a big factor, since Californians are charged much higher rates than the rest of the… read more
February is American Heart Month, and this year February 4th was National Wear Red Day, encouraging people to wear red to help raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death for men and women, accounting for approximately one out of every three deaths nationwide. Among women, cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer, with one death almost every 80 seconds. An estimated 44 million women in the United States are affected by cardiovascular disease each year. In California, nearly one-third of women’s deaths are also the result of… read more
Last week, Assembly Bill 1400 (AB 1400), establishing state-run healthcare for all Californians, crashed and burned in the Assembly. Opposition was widespread from all sectors of the healthcare field and citizens. There were several reasons for this, including the astronomical costs. The entire state budget is $262 billion, and cost estimates to provide healthcare for 40 million Californians range up to $400 billion more. What about the unelected 9-member board running the program? Could a unaccountable state bureaucracy really make competent healthcare decisions? Ask a million or so EDD… read more
The national blood shortage has reached our region, and the situation is critical for many local hospitals. While January has been designated National Blood Donor Month for over 50 years, people have not been stepping up to donate blood and maintain badly needed supplies as they have in the past. The San Diego Blood Bank has reported that donations have dropped significantly during the COVID crises, even though donating blood is completely safe. One contributing factor involves treatments delayed in 2020 and 2021 that are now being scheduled, leading to an unprecedented increase in demand… read more
Mobs of people have been raiding department stores and walking out with thousands of dollars in stolen goods. In some cases, up to 90 people have stormed into stores at one time, and thefts have not been confined to department stores. Union-Pacific freight trains entering Los Angeles are being systematically looted. In October 2021, the railroad reported a 356% increase in thefts over the previous year. Union-Pacific is reportedly considering bypassing Los Angeles, its major hub on the West Coast. What are the causes of this seeming breakdown in civil order, and what can be done about it?… read more
Last week the Assembly Health Committee reviewed, and passed, AB 1400, which would mandate government-run healthcare for almost 40 million Californians. Are you on Medicare?  You won’t be. Do you like your current health plan?  Say goodbye to it. Do you want to pay higher taxes, for less care? You’re in luck. AB 1400 creates an unelected 9-member board to run state healthcare with vast power to decide how much doctors and hospitals are paid, to adjust (cut) provider budgets, and much more. When a similar bill was proposed in 2017, costs were estimated at $400 billion. If the entire state… read more
One of the main responsibilities of the State Legislature is producing a budget by the June 15th  constitutional deadline that funds programs and, hopefully, makes smart investments in California’s future. Unfortunately, while we meet the deadline, expectations often fall short.  Skewed priorities in past budgets have allowed problems to fester; many are now reaching the crisis stage. The Legislature re-convened for the second half of the 2021-2022 session January 3rd. Due to the magnitude of the problems we face, priority number one will be creating a budget that addresses our most pressing… read more