Summer 2017 – Legislative and Budget Updates
Happy summer! In this newsletter, I update you on the state budget and some of the legislation I've authored this year. Please don't hesitate to contact my office if I can help you.
Once again, our state is leading the nation — this time by moving forward with a compassionate, progressive, and balanced budget that hammers away at poverty, inequality, and injustice. Here are the highlights:
- Supporting and Funding Education: We continue to invest in our students with funding increases to K-12 schools through Proposition 98, as well as providing more opportunities for families to access early childhood education. We're also increasing enrollment spots at UC and CSU schools so that more Californians can earn higher education degrees that will help maintain our state's economic strength.
- Fighting Poverty: We are helping more Californians get out of poverty by expanding the CalEITC tax credit to more low-income working families, and we are providing additional funds to programs that will reform services and placements for vulnerable youth in foster care.
- Accessing Justice: As Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, I'm pleased to announce that the budget includes new funds for Dependency Counsel, which represents children who have been removed from their homes for abuse or neglect. We have also provided additional funds for the Equal Access Fund, which improves access to legal aid services for those who can't afford it.
Additionally, I am pleased to announce that several of this year's budget provisions will have a direct and immediate benefit to our Central Coast community:
- Veterans Cemetery: I joined my Senate colleague Bill Monning to secure $1.5 million in state funds for the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at the former Fort Ord Army Base, which will ensure it receives matching federal funds.
- Water Quality: This year's budget provides $12 million to assist communities without safe drinking water to update their infrastructure and provide safe, temporary supplies. Locally, this will help our smaller water districts to tie into other water lines during emergencies.
- Gang Violence Prevention: The budget provides $9.5 million to deter and prevent gang violence through the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) program (formerly CalGRIP). The Cities of San Jose and Seaside have utilized these grants to fund violence and gang prevention programs.
Overall, my voice, and by extension, the voices of my constituents in the 29th Assembly District, was heard throughout the budget process.
I'm pleased to report that the Assembly has approved several of my bills, which now go to the Senate for consideration.
AB 38 (Stone) Protections for Student Borrowers: While the federal government is rolling back protections for student borrowers, I am working to secure California's oversight of student loan servicers. Assembly Bill 38 builds upon the 2016 Student Loan Servicing Act and helps ensure that student borrowers have reliable information, receive quality customer service, and have meaningful access to repayment and loan forgiveness programs. Higher education degrees and certificates should help secure California families' futures, not send more people into poverty.
AB 1269 (Stone) Mobile Home Park Dispute Mediation: This bill assists residents of mobile home parks resolve disputes with park owners without going through expensive civil litigation. Specifically, the measure balances the relationship between residents and park owners by establishing a process for the investigation and mediation of the Mobile Home Residency Law at the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Residents would be able to more quickly and less expensively resolve issues relating to home sales, complaint responses, and charges leading to eviction.
AB 684 (Stone) Coastal Commission Transparency: This measure will allow the public to access key information on who commissioners have met with prior to making important land use decisions. The bill increases transparency and accountability at the California Coastal Commission by requiring ex parte communications with commissioners to be available to the public on a searchable database. It also requires commissioners to disclose these communications at hearings. Ex parte communications are currently required to be filed in meeting reports, which are made available to the public online and at the meetings, but the information is not available in a form that the public can readily search.
You can find all of my bills, or any other proposed laws of interest, at the California Legislative Information portal.
2017 Small Business of the Year — 29th Assembly District
Congratulations to Mountain Feed & Farm Supply for being designated Small Business of the Year for the 29th Assembly District. Owners Jorah and Andi Roussopoulous provide our Santa Cruz County region with invaluable resources for sustainable, independent living and homesteading. Like so many small businesses across California, they are an important part of our local economy. Thank you for your dedication to our community!
2017 Non-Profit of the Year — 29th Assembly District
I'm proud to designate the Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County (VTC) as Assembly District 29's Non-profit of 2017. The VTC has helped over 15,000 homeless veterans and their families for the past 19 years. From transitional housing, to food pantry access, to case management, the VTC provides a host of services to honor, support, and give back to the men and women who have given so much to all of us.
Contacting My Office: Sharing Your Views, Getting Assistance, and Visiting My Office
Do you need assistance with a state agency like the DMV, Employment Development Department, or Franchise Tax Board? Do you have questions about state legislation? Would you like to share a concern or suggestion with one of your state representatives?
I have two district offices to serve Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties:
Santa Cruz County District Office
701 Ocean Street, 318-B
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Tel: (831) 425-1503
Fax: (831) 425-2570
Monterey County District Office
99 Pacific Street, Ste. 575-G
Monterey, CA 93940
Tel: (831) 649-2832
Fax: (831) 649-2935
Santa Clara County residents may contact our district staff by calling (408) 782-0647.
Santa Clara County Mobile Office Hours: Coming soon!
You can also send me a question or comment through my website. Click the Contact Mark tab on the menu to send me a message. I'll respond as soon as I can.