Spring 2015: Proposed Laws and Upcoming District Events
During the first few months of this session, I introduced bills, took on new responsibilities, and met with constituents on a variety of legislative and district issues. This spring, I look forward to passing another balanced, on-time state budget, reviewing proposed laws, and hearing from you.
In this newsletter, I highlight some of the legislation I've introduced, give updates on my legislative assignments, and provide information about upcoming events in the 29th Assembly District. Please don't hesitate to contact my office if you have questions.
The following bills are just some of the issues I'm tackling this year. For a complete list of bills I am authoring, please visit my website. If you have questions about these or any other bills I've introduced, please contact staff in my Capitol office at 916-319-2029.
AB 403 (Stone) Reforming Group Care for Foster Youth: AB 403 is a comprehensive reform effort to make sure that youth in foster care have their day-to-day physical, mental, and emotional needs met; that they have the greatest chance to grow up in permanent and supportive homes; and that they have the opportunity to grow into self-sufficient, successful adults. The bill gives families who provide foster care targeted training and support so that they are better prepared to care for youth living with them. The bill also advances the state's long-standing goal to move away from the use of long-term group home care, which is associated with negative outcomes for foster youth, by increasing the number of youth who are placed in family settings and by transforming existing group home care facilities into places where youth who are not ready to live with families can receive short term, intensive treatment.
AB 206 (Stone/Medina) - Financial Aid Equity for DREAM Act Students: This measure helps eligible undocumented students at California public universities graduate with less loan debt and more job opportunities by establishing the California DREAM Work-Study program, which would provide need-based work-study grants to undocumented students who would be eligible for the program under standards set for other UC and CSU students. When students participate in such programs, they receive grants that help offset the cost of tuition. Work-study job placements can be on the campus the student attends, or off-campus with a private or non-profit employer. An important part of a university education is networking and gaining skills that will help students start their careers after graduation. Work-study programs can provide these opportunities.
AB 87 (Stone) Jury Service Equality: This bill takes an important step to enshrine the legal rights and responsibilities of all Californians regarding peremptory challenges during jury selection. A peremptory challenge is the removal of a prospective juror from serving on a jury panel without providing a reason; during a trial, the prosecution and defense are allowed a certain number of peremptory challenges. This bill updates current law prohibiting discriminatory peremptory challenges during the jury selection process by banning such challenges based on gender identity, gender expression, ethnic group identification, genetic information, and disability. California needs to align its non-discrimination laws with its jury laws to ensure that transgender individuals and others are afforded the same rights and responsibilities as other Californians.
Helen Rucker, 29th Assembly District Woman of the Year
I'm pleased to honor Helen Rucker as the 29th Assembly District's Woman of the Year for 2015.
Helen is long-serving civil rights activist, educator, and community leader from the City of Seaside. Since 1964, she has served the Monterey Bay area as a teacher, librarian, school board member, city councilmember, leader within the Monterey County NAACP, and Seaside Voter Education Center founder.
Her work has been recognized with several awards and honors including the KSBW Jefferson Award, the Stephen E. Ross Award from NAACP, the Ralph Atkinson Award from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Citizen of the Year from the Seaside/Sand City Chamber of Commerce, and the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women's Woman of the Year Award. Thank you, Helen, for your many years of service to the community!
I'm happy to announce that I've been appointed to serve as Chairperson of two Assembly Select Committees that will have the opportunity to explore specific environmental issues. Select Committees may conduct research, hold hearings on matters of interest to the state, and make legislative recommendations, but they may not consider or vote for specific legislation. The findings of these committees can be used to propose laws or request reports for more information.
Chair, Assembly Select Committee on Coastal Protection: This committee will carry forward the public conversation about ways to address a variety of potential threats to California's coast. Last session, this Committee held oversight hearings on offshore oil well drilling, coastal access, plastic pollution in oceans, problems associated with rising sea levels, and desalination.
- Chair, Assembly Select Committee on Expanding Access to California's Natural Resources: This newly-convened committee will explore issues related to fulfilling the state's vision for clean air, clean water, and open spaces for all Californians. The Committee will have the opportunity to discuss ways of guaranteeing access to coastal and natural resources for underserved communities, providing equitable access to outdoor and environmental education to more California students, and developing meaningful environmental policy processes from within underserved communities.
State Coastal Conservancy Appointment: I've also been appointed to the State Coastal Conservancy, an agency dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Californians will be able to enjoy our precious coastal resources. The Coastal Conservancy works to provide coastal access, protect and restore habitat, and improve waterfront development. As an independent body, it helps resolve complex land issues among governmental entities, citizens, and the private sector. The Conservancy coordinates with and complements the work of the Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. I look forward to adding my voice to decisions about protecting sensitive habitat and improving access to the state's beautiful coastline.
Upcoming Events in the 29th DistrictSave the Date: Fraud Prevention Town Hall
At this special Town Hall, you'll have the opportunity to hear from Santa Cruz County Sherriff Jim Hart and other experts about ways to protect yourself from identity theft, real estate and rental scams, consumer concerns, and more.
Friday, March 27, 1:30 PM
Highlands Park Senior Center
8500 Highway 9
Ben Lomond, CA 95005
Speakers include experts from the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, the Bureau of Real Estate, and the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office. It's not necessary to RSVP, but if you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact my District staff at (831) 425-1503. I hope to see you there!Open House in our new Monterey District Office
Please join me and Senator Bill Monning for a reception at our Monterey District Offices. Residents of the 29th Assembly District are invited to drop in to ask questions and discuss legislative issues or concerns. Light refreshments will be provided.
Friday, April 17, 4:30 - 6 PM
Monterey County District Office
99 Pacific Street, Suite 575G
Monterey, CA 93940
Do you own a business or are thinking about starting business? Over the next few months we will be hosting a series of coffee workshops with our partners at GO-BIZ (Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development) to explore how to manage and grow your business, increase access to capital, and more. Watch for an announcement coming soon.Reminder: San Jose Office Hours
My office holds Neighborhood Office Hours several times a month in San Jose. During Neighborhood Office Hours, you will have the opportunity to meet with my staff to receive assistance with state-related matters, gain information about upcoming legislation and to learn about other ways my office may assist you. No RSVP is necessary. Assistance will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.
South San Jose
Southside Community Center - Multipurpose Room
5585 Cottle Rd., San Jose, CA 95123
Every 1st Tuesday of the month, 11 - 1 PM
Almaden Community Center - Community Meeting Room
6445 Camden Ave. San Jose, CA 95120
Every 2nd Wednesday of the month, 8:30 - 10 AM
We've Moved! New Monterey County District Office AddressIf you've visited or sent a letter to my Monterey County District Office in the past, please be aware that the office has moved upstairs. The address is the same, but the suite number has changed. Monterey County constituents can now get their questions answered at the new office location:
Monterey County District Office
99 Pacific Street, Suite 575G
Monterey, CA 93940