I hope you and loved ones are doing well during these challenging times. While June is normally a time for celebration - from graduations to Juneteenth, Father’s Day to the first day of summer - this year’s events have been under much different circumstances. I hope you were able to enjoy these special holidays regardless.
This month was exceptionally busy for the Legislature, as we returned to the Capitol to consider legislative proposals and negotiate the state budget. I am proud that the budget we agreed upon protects core services such as education, healthcare, social safety nets, and emergency preparedness and response - while also investing in our state’s small businesses harmed by the pandemic.
As always, if you have any questions about anything in this newsletter or need help with a state agency, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.
Legislative Deadline and Budget Passed
I’m proud to announce we have finalized this year’s state budget and Governor Gavin Newsom has signed it into law. The pandemic has caused unprecedented economic fallout in our nation, and California is no different. However, thanks to a decade of prudent budgeting and saving record reserves, our state is in better financial shape than it could have been and is better positioned to recover economically. This year’s state budget is intended to build upon those years of pragmatic fiscal planning and set California on a stable path of economic recovery.
On Friday June 26th, we reached an important milestone in the Senate ? the last day to hear bills introduced in our chamber. I’m happy to share my bills listed below that were approved by the Senate and will now be considered by the Assembly:
SB 1238 - Road Repairs: Plastics Recyclables: This bill seeks to mitigate the state’s unrecycled plastic surplus by asking the Department of Transportation to conduct a study assessing the feasibility, cost effectiveness and lifecycle environmental benefits of including recycled plastics in asphalt used for the construction and repair of a state highway or road. This idea was brought to us by students from Bonita Vista High School right here in the 40th Senate District!
SB 1301 - Tijuana River Valley Watershed: This bill would require the San Diego River Conservancy to create a Binational Watershed Management Plan for the Tijuana River Valley. Through a binational watershed management plan, we can create an ecosystem-based strategy to conserve, restore, and protect the Tijuana River Valley and enhance the overall health of the watershed while addressing transboundary flows of pollution across the border through goals, timelines, and potential action items.
SB 1403 - Home Weatherization for low-income customers: SB 1403 will ensure more of California’s low-income families benefit from energy savings assistance in the form of energy efficiency upgrades to their home, including weatherization and appliance replacement. These energy efficiency upgrades will help to reduce energy utility bills, increase a family’s quality of life and comfort, support economic development, and advance the state’s efforts to achieve its climate goals.
Caltrans Seeking Public Input on Coronado Bridge Suicide Deterrent Project
The Coronado Bridge is getting closer to finally having a permanent suicide barrier. This is a project that I have been deeply involved in for years, and I am happy to see that it is moving along through the environmental review phase. Last year, I fought for and secured $5 million in the state budget for this project, as well as authored SB 656 to create an advisory committee that will help select the final design (signed into law in October 2019). This advisory committee has been convened and held its first meeting in May.
Caltrans recently held a public scoping meeting on the project (recording is available online) and is currently accepting public input through July 14, 2020. The public/interested stakeholders are encouraged to share with Caltrans their opinions, ideas, questions, and/or concerns regarding the project. These comments will help shape the project and will contribute to the development of the Draft Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Assessment. To find more info, go to the District 11 Caltrans website at https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-11/current-projects/coronadobridge.