Along with Spring comes the start of bill hearings in Sacramento. Now that all of the legislation has been introduced, the work on getting bills through the committees begins in earnest. It is during this time that I meet with my fellow legislators to explain the need for the legislation I have introduced this year.
My primary focuses this year for legislation are to improve public safety and education and create jobs. My bills such as SB 58, which freezes public college tuition; SB 302, the School Lunch Protection Act; SB 144, the Realignment Reinvestment Act; and SB 339, which will make it easier for new businesses to use the former Castle Air Force Base all reinforce those goals. If you have bills that you are interested in following through the legislative process, you can find the latest actions taken on them at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.
I want to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office through my website if you have any questions, comments or insight to share. And help keep your friends and neighbors informed about what’s going on in Sacramento and around the 12th Senate District by forwarding this email so they can sign up to receive my eNewsletter as well.
Senate District 12 Art Competition
This month, I am sponsoring a contemporary art competition! I will choose the piece of art that best represents the 12th District. The artist will receive special recognition from the Senate and have their piece displayed in the State Capitol as part of the Senate California Contemporary Art Collection.
Submissions must be original artwork by a resident of the 12th Senate District. Oil paintings, works on paper, weavings, wall hangings, and sculpture are all acceptable. The overall size of a piece is to be no larger than 3’ x 5’. A biography of the artist must accompany the submission. The deadline for submissions is April 25.
The artist must also agree to loan their art to the exhibit for approximately 18 months. The planned schedule for the exhibit is May 2013 to September 2014.
Artwork will be accepted by mail or email. For mail submissions, please send attention “SD 12 Art Competition” to one of the district offices, which are located at 1640 N St., Suite 210 in Merced; 918 15th St. in Modesto; or 369 Main St., Suite 208 in Salinas. Email submissions and questions regarding the competition can be sent to District Director Steven Nascimento at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “SD 12 Art Competition.”
State Water Board Changes to the Bay–Delta Plan
The State Water Resources Board is planning to make drastic changes that will have a significant negative affect on the Central Valley. The plan requires increased flows of water would be on the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers.
On March 20th, the Water Board held a hearing where I was able to express my dissatisfaction with the plan. Here is what I told them:
Thank you for the opportunity to address an issue of critical importance to my district. Your proposal to dedicate 35 percent unimpaired flow to fish and wildlife will devastate the district that I represent.
As you well know, our region is still feeling the effects of the recession. Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin counties have among the highest unemployment rates in the state. Agriculture has been one of the only bright spots. And now this proposal stands to devastate an already troubled region.
Your own staff’s impact analysis forecasts “significant and unavoidable” damage to the region’s economy including: reductions in water deliveries that would require fallowing 128,000 acres of farmland; agriculture sector income losses that could amount to $187 million; and job losses that would exceed 1,200 a year.
Your proposal would also adversely impact hydropower production by taking water from reservoirs during the spring, which would leave less water available in the summer when it’s critically needed to irrigate crops and take pressure off the state’s power grid.
This proposal takes water at a time when it is most valuable and sends it down river with only a hope that it will benefit the fish population. Water is too valuable to waste on the hope that it will make a difference. I hope that you will rethink the approach you have advocated and develop a plan that works to the mutual benefit of the region rather than one based on faulty science.
Mobile Office Hours in April
Please join my staff for mobile office hours in Patterson and Le Grand this month, where you can receive personal assistance on a variety of issues, including help with the DMV, the Employment Development Department, or matters involving other state agencies or state legislation.
Le Grand Office Hours:
Wednesday, April 3
10am – Noon
Le Grand Community Services District
13038 Jefferson Street
Patterson Office Hours:
Thursday, April 11
9am – 11am
City Hall, 1 Plaza
Feel free to call my Modesto office at (209) 577-6592 to make an appointment in advance.
In the District
Testifying at the State Water Board hearing on the Bay–Delta Plan.
Speaking to constituents at a Merced community coffee
Meeting with local business owners on Main Street in Merced
Speaking to the Ceres Rotary Club.