District Report - February 2021
Recognizing the history and achievements of African Americans -- as well as the continuing struggle for civil rights, equal opportunity and prosperity -- is the focus of February’s Black History Month. This year, it comes at a time of great reckoning, redemption and hope.
As of this writing, 6 million Californians have received COVID-19 vaccinations and the infection rate is declining. However, we must remain vigilant by wearing masks and observing social distancing as more of our state reopens.
As always, my office is available to help you with a state agency or answer any questions you might have. You can contact me by visiting my website.
In this Issue:
- Free Tax Help/Earned Income Tax Credit
- Black History Month
- Work for Warriors
- My Legislation
- In the News
Senator, 3rd District
Tax Day, April 15, is fast approaching. You may qualify for tax credits or free tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, which is supported by the Franchise Tax Board.
You may qualify for tax credits. California’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program will benefit millions of low income working families and can result in thousands of dollars for qualifying families. Each year millions of dollars in tax credits go unclaimed, so see if you’re eligible.
For a list of upcoming workshops, please click here. I urge you to call the contact numbers listed to verify your eligibility, make appointments, and to learn what documentation may be required.
This year we celebrate Black History Month with a series of firsts – our country has elected its first African American vice president and we now have the first Black secretary of defense. In California, the first African American secretary of state recently took office. More and more, the diversity of our nation is being reflected in our leadership.
I am pleased to see this, just as I was proud three years ago to join my colleagues in the Legislative Black Caucus to vote for Senate Resolution 70, recognizing February as Black History Month.
The first observances go back to 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson established a one-week reflection on African American history. Fifty years later, the United States adopted it as a monthlong event.
Today, Black History Month is observed all over America, as schools, churches and communities honor the countless contributions that African Americans have made to our society.
We’ve made much progress in raising awareness of the issue of equity and discrimination but there is still so much work to do.
I encourage you to join me in reflecting on the immense contributions African Americans have made to our nation and to dedicate ourselves to continuing the fight for civil rights, equal opportunity and prosperity that so many African Americans have fought for over the centuries. You can learn more about African American history here.
California’s Work for Warriors program matches employers with highly trained veterans who are ready to leave the military for civilian life. For more on how we can help serve those who have served us or how veterans can connect with job resources, click here.
I have been at work in the Capitol this month on a variety of measures to address the coronavirus pandemic and other critical areas such as wildfire safety. Along with my fellow lawmakers, I’m also considering budget proposal to help Californians in this time of need.
Some of the highlights of my legislative package are:
SB 99 Power Grid Planning: To ensure California plans for continuous electricity during wildfire-driven power outages without relying on fossil fuel-powered backup generation.
SB109 Wildfire R&D: Creates Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development under the auspices of the California Office of Emergency Services. Would identify more effective ways to address wildfires, studying, testing and advising state and local agencies on new tools and techniques to prevent and suppress them. It would also serve as a central hub for promising, new ideas.
SB 222/223 Water Access & Affordability: Establishes a water assistance fund for low-income rate payers experiencing economic hardship. Expands protections and protocols for customers who are faced with having their water shutoff because of an inability to pay their bills.
SB 389 To-Go Cocktails: Allows restaurants to continue to sell take-out cocktails with to-go food orders to help small businesses struggling through the pandemic.
SB 440 Disaster Prevention: Helps prevent catastrophic destruction from natural disasters that too often strike California communities by leveraging existing funds to provide a new, continuous funding source for wildfire home-hardening earthquake retrofitting
Current proposal makes a substantial investment in Covid-19 response and recovery while supporting essential services including schools, wildfire safety, housing and homelessness mitigation.
- $85.8 billion investment in schools with a focus on the safe reopening of in-person instruction.
- $4.4 billion in emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic. Included is $372 million for vaccines, $2 billion for testing and $473 million for contact tracing.
- $4.5 billion economic recovery package and $2.4 billion in economic stimulus. The proposal includes $575 million in small business grants and $71 million in fee waivers.
- Individual stimulus checks of $600 to more than four million Californians.
Here are some of the latest news stories that may be of interest to you. As always, please contact my office if you have any questions about state policy or want to express your position or ideas for legislation.
- Dodd introduces disaster prevention bill
- Bill to change California liquor laws could benefit bars, restaurants
- Farm Bureau Federation: Insurance access emerges as top wildfire priority
- Dodd introduces elderly and disabled assistance bill
- Dodd proposal would help Californians struggling to pay water bills