As February came to a close, so did our time to introduce new legislation for this year. I’m excited to start working on the bills I’ve presented. My bills this year reflect my goals of strengthening public safety and education while eliminating unnecessary regulation.
One of those bills, SB 58, which I highlighted in last month’s newsletter, freezes community college, CSU and UC tuition while Prop 30 taxes are in effect. We owe it to California voters to ensure that the new taxes are going to the programs they voted to support. To that end, we have started a petition drive to show public support of the bill.
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.
SB 302, the School Lunch Protection Act
In February, the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes issued a report titled “Food Fight: Small team of state examiners no match for schools that divert student meal funds.” The report found some school districts had improperly diverted nearly $200 million dollars from school lunch programs into other projects. The report only investigated a sampling of school districts and found that statewide oversight for the programs was lacking and the problem could be much larger.
I was shocked by the report. I couldn’t believe that a school district would literally take food from the mouths of children. The purpose of a school lunch program is to provide our students the same opportunity for a quality education as every other child in California. Studies show that students that receive proper nutrition will do better in school.
The report provided a set of recommended changes to current policies that would help ensure the money is used as intended, to feed California schoolchildren. I introduced SB 302, the School Lunch Protection Act, to make those recommendations into law. To read the recommendations, click here.
Youth Violence and Gang Prevention Town Hall in Salinas
As I’d mentioned earlier, one of my primary focuses this year is public safety. I want to know what government can be doing in order to make our communities safer, whether it is changing our priorities on the state government level or providing more resources.
I held a town hall in Salinas to address gang and youth violence and was excited to see 200 members of the community turn out to listen to the panel, ask questions and provide feedback.
The panel included Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter, Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin, the Monterey County Chief Probation Officer Manuel Real, the California Justice Department’s Chief of the Bureau of Investigation Kent Shaw and Univision 67 news anchor and producer Erandi Garcia, who lost her father in a senseless act of violence. Each of the panelists discussed their work in the community and their challenges.
This is not the end of the discussion. We all understand the problem and now we need to work on the solutions.
Mobile Office Hours in March
Please join my staff for mobile office hours in Newman 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.
Wednesday, March 13
Newman City Hall
1162 Main Street
Feel free to call my Modesto office at (209) 577-6592 to make an appointment in advance.
In the District
With Sheriff Mark Pazin, Merced County Probation Chief Scott Ball, District Attorney Larry Morse, and Supervisors John Pedrozo and Hub Walsh where we played basketball in the Merced’s Boys and Girls Club “Hoops for Kids” tournament.
Speaking at the Merced County Office of Education annual education report
Salinas Gang and Youth Violence Town Hall