Welcome to my Sacramento update, an e-newsletter for the 41st Assembly District.
I hope you have been enjoying the summer, despite the heat and the drought. It has been an extremely busy and productive summer both at the Capitol and in the district. With hundreds of bills making their way through the Legislature by the August 31 deadline, we heard a number of important issues including the fight over water.
It took months of pushing and negotiating, but in the end, I joined fellow lawmakers in approving a $7.5 billion replacement Water Bond for the November ballot – it’s good for the state and good for our district. This new bond, called Proposition 1, will be more affordable than the existing ballot measure, and eliminates the wasteful pork contained in the current measure while protecting the necessary projects to improve California's water security. This bond contains $900 million in new funding for further clean-up programs that will be available for local agencies.
The other important water issue this session is the groundbreaking package of bills that we approved that will, for the first-time, regulate the use of groundwater. California has been one of the only states not to regulate groundwater. Working late into the night, we passed the state’s first groundwater regulation legislation that will provide much-needed oversight by requiring each groundwater basin to set specific objectives for stabilizing water levels.
With these efforts, we make a big investment in ensuring safe, accessible water for generations to come.
In this issue:
- A Note from Chris
- Trade Trip to Mexico
- Legislative Roundup
- Transportation Update
- Update on 710 Freeway Homes
- State of the State Coming to Your Neighborhood
- Chris in the Community
Trade Mission to Mexico with Gov. Jerry Brown and his sister, Kathleen Brown.
It was an honor to be included in an historic trade trip to Mexico with Governor Brown this summer. We had an active cultural, social and economic exchange with Mexico that strengthened our nations’ ties. We took the first steps toward a stronger California-Mexico partnership as we identified new business opportunities that we will invest in and grow. A foundation was laid with three memorandums of understanding that will allow us to work together on everything from investing in new technologies to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. We will continue to build on this success through future trade missions and by facilitating more economic partnerships between our state and Mexico.
I was proud to stand with Governor Brown on this mission and believe our work will benefit not only Californians, but also the people of Mexico.
Legislative Roundup: An update on a number of bills I authored this year, as well as other important legislation.
Investing in Education: I authored legislation (Assembly Bill 1672) along with Attorney General Kamala Harris to create intervention strategies to help school districts deal with chronic truancy. I am proud to author a measure to help children stay in the classroom and out of the courtroom.
The Legislature also passed a bill that will generate $100 million for California’s public universities. Under a compromise worked out this summer, higher-than-expected General Fund revenues could be used to restore much-needed funds at both the University of California and the California State University.
I have worked through the legislative process this session to improve education, which I consider the best investment in California’s future. Governor Brown recently signed into law my AB 1912 encouraging the State Board of Education to provide academic curriculum on the historic election of President Obama. His election is a significant part of history and should not just be a mere footnote within textbooks.
Public Safety: My staff and I have been working with officials from several cities in the district that have been plagued with a proliferation of new massage parlors, many of them alleged to be fronts for prostitution. I was proud to co-author legislation to give local governments more control over massage parlors in their communities.
I am also principal co-author on a measure to help stop the misery of human trafficking. Senate Bill (SB) 955 will allow local law enforcement to request a wiretap when they suspect human trafficking. This has become big business, especially in California with drug cartels and gangs taking over.
Guns were another big public safety issue following the horrific shooting near UC Santa Barbara earlier this year. I supported a measure to allow removal of firearms from people deemed dangerous or mentally unstable. This would give professionals time to evaluate the situation and possibly prevent another tragedy.
Pasadena Police Agent Richard Morris
I was also proud to introduce a Resolution to honor Pasadena Police Agent Richard Morris who was killed in the line-of-duty on March 13, 1969. A portion of the 210 State Highway from Allen Avenue to Rosemead Boulevard in Pasadena will be named in his honor.
Improving the Environment: After much back-and-forth in both houses, I voted with the majority of lawmakers to ban the sale of single-use plastic bags. With so many communities already imposing a ban, it was time to have uniform regulations statewide to further protect our waterways and ocean shores.
AB 1566, Kitchen Grease Theft, passed both houses overwhelmingly. It gives law enforcement stronger tools to combat the growing problem of kitchen grease theft. Since kitchen grease became an essential and lucrative part of biofuel, it has become a target for thieves. The California Highway Patrol has been a big supporter of the measure and I am hopeful the Governor will sign it.
Lawmakers also approved my AB 1767, increasing penalties on vandalism and littering within Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy lands. The boost in fines will be used to fund cleanup efforts.
For Our Veterans: I was proud to author Assembly Joint Resolution 33 that calls on the Department of Defense to “set the record straight” by adding the names of 74 American sailors who died during the Vietnam War, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The men were killed when their ship, the U.S.S. Frank Evans, sank in the South China Sea during naval exercises. This request was brought to our office by Pasadena resident Tim Wendler whose father died in the incident.
Governor Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto these measures, most of which will go into effect January 1, 2015.
My biggest priority has been to make sure that San Gabriel Valley communities have a greater voice in setting transportation priorities in the coming years. That’s why I gathered leaders from throughout the San Gabriel Valley to meet with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss the need for prioritizing and fully funding the Metro Gold Line. Mayor Garcetti agreed that completing the Gold Line to Claremont was very important. You can learn more here.
“Surplus” Caltrans property, South Pasadena
Following last year’s passage of SB 416 by Senator Carol Liu and myself, Caltrans has begun the process to initiate the sale of “surplus” properties no longer needed now that a “surface route” for State Route 710 is no longer under consideration. Caltrans spent this summer taking public comment and feedback on the sales process, including a community hearing in Pasadena this past July. Although I reached out to Caltrans to support an additional 30 days of public comment on the home sales process I want to see these homes sold in a timely manner. The sooner the Caltrans Properties are sold to private owners, the sooner our community can begin to move beyond this contentious issue and hopefully reach a final resolution on the 710.
I will be addressing some of these bills when I present my “State of the State” address to city councils throughout the 41st Assembly District in the weeks and months to come. Below is a list of dates. If you can’t come to the chamber to say hello, please check with your city for TV broadcast times.
San Dimas City Council, Tuesday, September 9 at 7:00 pm
Altadena Town Council, Tuesday, September 16 at 7:00 pm
Pasadena City Council, Monday, September 22 at 6:30 pm
Sierra Madre Town Council, Tuesday, September 23 at 6:30 pm
South Pasadena City Council, Wednesday, October 1 at 7:30 pm
La Verne City Council, Monday, October 6 at 6:30 pm
Monrovia City Council, Tuesday, October 7 at 7:30 pm
Upland City Council, Monday, October 13 at 7:00 pm
Claremont, Tuesday, October 14 at 6:30 pm
Rancho Cucamonga, Wednesday, October 15, 7:00pm
My thanks to the Pasadena Humane Society and to the more than 100 pet lovers who came in during our pet adoption fair in July. It was a wonderful day; the kind of event that puts a smile on your face. Assemblymember Holden is pictured with Assemblymembers Ed Chau and Mike Gatto.
15th Annual Resource Fair and Block Party. The staff and I had a blast meeting folks from throughout the district. Thanks to the Pasadena Police for grilling hot dogs for the several hundred visitors. We had lots of fun with classic cars, the JPL crew, puppeteers, and the more than 50 community partners who made NW Pasadena a special place.
In June of this year, I was fortunate to have been appointed Assistant Majority Floor Leader by our new Speaker, Toni Atkins. I look forward to being part of the Speaker’s leadership team, helping to shape policy that strengthens our great state.
Following the devastating mudslides that ravaged parts of Mt. Baldy last month, I asked Gov. Jerry Brown to declare parts of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties disaster areas. A disaster declaration would free-up state and possibly federal funds for residents and businesses who suffered severe damage.
My HR 52 declares Saturday, October 4, 2014, and the first Saturday in October of each subsequent year, as Old Spanish Trail Day in California.