District Report - May 2021
California’s pandemic recovery is well underway this month thanks to your efforts to get vaccinated and follow public health guidelines.
Our progress is boosted by historic proposals from Gov. Gavin Newsom, providing direct financial assistance to families, small business and schools. His goal is to reopen the state by June 15.
But there is still much work to be done. I have introduced several pandemic recovery bills in the Capitol. And I will host a virtual town hall June 1 devoted to mental health during these stressful times.
Finally, this month we celebrate Memorial Day, honoring American military veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Please keep these brave men and women in mind throughout the year.
In this Issue:
- California Comeback Plan
- Special Veterans Identification Cards Ensure Better Access to Benefits
- Legislative Update
- In the News
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.
Senator, 3rd District
Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced his $100 billion California Comeback Plan – the biggest economic recovery package in California’s history – including unprecedented investments to address the state’s most persistent challenges, starting with nearly $12 billion in direct cash payments to Californians hit hardest by the pandemic.
As a senator, I am encouraged by the governor’s proposals and look forward to building on them as they make their way through the legislative process in the month ahead.
Chief among the new proposals is a major expansion of the Golden State Stimulus, providing additional direct payments to middle-class families that make up to $75,000. Under the plan, two-thirds of Californians will benefit from $600 direct payments. Qualified families with dependents, including undocumented families, will also now be eligible for an additional $500. The plan triples California’s previous investment, reaching more people and giving bigger benefits.
Another component of the California Comeback Plan is aimed at transforming California public schools into gateways of equity and opportunity. Gov. Newsom’s plan represents the highest level of state school funding in California history, investing an additional $20 billion to support the potential of every California student and make the structural change necessary to reduce barriers while increasing opportunities across the board, including massive investments in K-12 public schools, creating universal Pre-K and college savings accounts for 3.7 million low-income children in public schools.
To make college more accessible to low-income California kids, the governor proposes investing $2 billion to seed college savings accounts for vulnerable students currently enrolled in K-12 public schools, including a $500 base deposit for students from low-income families, English learners and foster youth, and a $500 supplemental deposit for foster and homeless youth. The Comeback Plan also adds 100,000 child care slots and subsidies to bring down the cost of child care.
In addition, Gov. Newsom proposed a $5.1 billion package of immediate drought response and long-term water resilience investments to address immediate, emergency needs, build regional capacity to endure drought and safeguard water supplies for communities, the economy and the environment.
Another component is investments in small business relief. Gov. Newsom’s plan expands the state’s COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant program to a total of $4 billion, representing the largest such program in the entire country. That’s in addition to a previous $6.2 billion tax cut for those businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, the largest state tax cut of its kind in history.
Through their service to our country, veterans have earned a wide range of benefits. However, it can be difficult to verify their service in order to acquire those benefits. In fact, not having proof of military service is one of the biggest obstacles veterans face gaining access to resources, benefits, and services.
Under a new California law veterans can apply for a California driver’s license or ID card with a “Veteran” designation. The new Veteran ID provides proof of military service, making it easier for California veterans to access benefits and services.
Applying for the veteran designation on your driver's license or ID card is easy:
- Stop by your local County Veteran Service Officer with your DD214 for verification. If you need help obtaining your military records, first contact your local County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO).
- Go to www.dmv.ca.gov, or call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133, to make an appointment. Bring the application form verified by your CVSO and the small $5 application fee.
Learn more about how to get your new Veterans ID card here.
I’ve written a number of bills this year addressing critical needs including pandemic recovery, education improvements and wildfire safety. The following is an update on key bills that are advancing at this time:
SB 20 Student Nutrition: Chronic hunger affects thousands of low-income college students, and this bill clarifies that they would be eligible for Cal Fresh nutritional benefits.
SB 52 Public Safety Power Shutoffs: With a high likelihood of more wildfires and preemptive utility line shutoffs, this bill would ensure local government receives financial assistance to open emergency centers.
SB 99 Energy Resilience Planning: Establishes microgrid planning to reduce the number of carbon-emitting diesel generators used during power outages.
SB 222/223 Water Shutoff Protections: Two bills providing assistance to hundreds of thousands of people who are unable to pay their water bills and are at risk of losing this valuable service.
SB 332 Prescribed Burning: Expands the use of controlled burns to prevent destructive wildfires
SB 556 Broadband Improvement: Restricts local government from putting up roadblocks for the much-needed expansion of highspeed internet service. Helps keep pace with increased demand as more people pursue remote school and work.
SB 818 Lottery: Maximizes the amount of lottery revenue going to public schools.
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.
- Controlled burn expansion bill clear Senate Judiciary committee
- Sen. Dodd’s bill creates financial assistance for cites after PSPS events
- California lottery bill would end controversy, maximize funding for schools
- Is this the year the California Legislature closes the digital divide?
- Cocktails-to-go may become a permanent fixture in California
- Sen. Dodd’s water access and equity bills advance