Pat's Perspective: December 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Message from Pat

Dear Neighbor,

The Christmas and Hanukkah season is one of my favorite times of the year. One reason is that I enjoy seeing the faces of children cheer up when they view festive displays and open presents from loved ones. Their good cheer reminds us of what is truly important in the world.

Another reason I am enjoying this season is that this year’s divisive presidential election has finally come to an end. In an election that has sometimes pitted neighbors, friends and family members against one another, it can be difficult to see how relationships can be mended. But I have confidence in our nation. America has been in existence for more than 240 years thanks in large part to our system of checks and balances. As long as we uphold the values of the U.S. Constitution, we will be fine.

This season also reminds us about the importance of serving others. Whether volunteering at a food bank, writing cards to our troops or even just donating to your favorite charity, every act of kindness helps. You can find opportunities to serve at We may not be able to change the world overnight, but we can make someone’s world better.

The Legislature will reconvene on January 4. My staff and I are busy preparing for the new legislative year by considering scores of bill ideas and planning ways on how we can better serve you. Thank you for the opportunity to represent the 36th Senate District!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

Image of marijuana plant

More than 57 percent of California’s voters recently approved Proposition 64, which legalizes marijuana for recreational use, including 52 percent of Orange County voters and 57 percent of San Diego County voters.

While I did not support the proposition due to public safety concerns, it is now the law of California. Some residents are wondering how the new law will affect their neighborhoods.

The Legislative Analyst Office – which is the California Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor – has provided a helpful chart showing what activities Proposition 64 allows and prohibits:

Figure 2
(“Prop. 64 Legalizes Nonmedical Marijuana Activities, With Restrictions.” Source: Legislative Analyst’s Office)

The Orange County Register also recently published an article highlighting what is legal and illegal under Proposition 64. I have excerpted the following items below of what remains illegal:

  • Smoking weed on the street or in a bar, since public consumption is banned.
  • For now, buying or selling recreational cannabis. Licensed shops won’t open for another year. So anyone who doesn’t have a doctor’s recommendation and wants to get cannabis legally needs to either wait until their homegrown supply is ready or get an ounce (or less) for free from another adult.
  • Consuming in a vehicle or getting high and driving. Drugged driving laws still apply and, as with alcohol, it’s not legal to have an open container of pot in a car.
  • Going to work high. Employers can still enforce their own drug policies, including firing workers who test positive for weed.

We are in uncharted territory in California with the legalization of recreational marijuana. As the state implements Prop. 64, we must vigilant to ensure that it does not jeopardize the safety of our communities.

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Veterans Update

honoring all who served

National Guard Bonus Repayments

As you may have heard, the Los Angeles Times has reported that thousands of California National Guard troops were being forced to repay enlistment bonuses years after going to war.

After a major public backlash, the U.S. Secretary of Defense suspended the bonus repayments. I co-signed a letter calling on Congress to pass a permanent solution. Recently, the U.S. Senate approved a bill letting most of the troops keep their bonuses. The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk.

Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet

The California Employment Development Department offers employers assistance and a variety of tools to hire qualified veterans. It has setup a webpage where employers can learn more about hiring qualified veterans.

Veteran Driver License Program

Veterans Day 2016 marked the first anniversary since the State of California offered veterans the opportunity to place a printed “VETERAN” designation on a California driver license or identification card. 38,000 California veterans have begun the process. To learn how to obtain the “VETERAN” designation, click here.

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Legislative Report Cards

California State Senate Chambers
California State Senate Chambers

Each year, several non-partisan organizations issue “report cards” of legislators on how they vote on bills important to their membership. The scores provide Californians a key measuring stick to judge their legislators on how they vote on bills related to jobs and taxes.

I’m pleased to report that I compiled perfect scores from the:

Finally, I also earned an “A” grade from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for my record on fiscal responsibility and protecting Proposition 13 for homeowners and job creators.

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Business Tax Credit Workshop

Image of California Competes Tax Credit Logo
California Competes Tax Credit Logo

I am pleased to co-host a workshop sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) regarding the California Competes Tax Credit. Small, medium and large businesses are encouraged to attend the workshop and receive instructions on how to apply for this tax credit program.

Event Details:

Date: December 15, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


City of Mission Viejo
Council Chambers
200 Civic Center
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Workshop Co-Hosts:

Senator Patricia Bates – 36th Senate District
Assemblymember Bill Brough – 73rd Assembly District
CalAsian Chamber of Commerce
California Association for Local Economic Development
California Manufacturing & Technology Association
City of Mission Viejo
Japan Business Association of Southern California
Latin Business Association
National Association of Women Business Owners - Orange County Chapter
North Orange County Chamber of Commerce
Orange County Business Council
Orange County Small Business Development Center

What is the Credit?

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to locate in California or stay and grow in California.

Who Can Apply?

Any business can apply for the CCTC and there are no geographic or sector-specific restrictions that impact eligibility. In addition, twenty-five percent of the total credits available each fiscal year are specifically reserved for small businesses.

Mark Your Calendars!

The next application period begins January 2, 2017, and closes January 23, 2017. Go to to apply.

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Youth Art Contest

2016 Youth Art Contest logo

The California State Parks Foundation’s 2016 Youth Art Contest is now open! The theme of this year’s contest is “Discover State Parks” and it invites youth ages 4-18 to participate by creating artwork that shares their experiences in state parks and what they have discovered during their visits.

First, second, and third place winners will be announced for each age category. Winners will receive prize packages from the foundation’s E-Store, and their artwork will be showcased online, in print, and in venues throughout California.

Entries must be postmarked by December 17, 2016.

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Community Spotlight: San Juan Capistrano

Photo of San Clemente Pier
Mission San Juan Capistrano. Photo Credit: Mission San Juan Capistrano

Located in South Orange County, the City of San Juan Capistrano is home to more than 36,000 people.

Perhaps best known for the Mission established by Franciscan missionaries in 1776, San Juan Capistrano is marked by its vibrant history and diverse culture. When the Mission was founded, the area was populated by the Acjachemen band of Native Americans, called Juaneños by the Spanish.

Incorporated in 1961, San Juan Capistrano has grown from a small community to a developed city with recreation, jobs and shopping. Yet, the city maintains its historical character, inviting residents and visitors alike to learn about its past.

Learn more about San Juan Capistrano by visiting its government website at and its chamber of commerce website at

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Upcoming Events

The events below are just a sample of what’s happening in our beautiful district. Do you have an event that you would like me to include in my newsletter? Please let me know by sending me a message on my website.

Encinitas: Farmers Market

Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Location: 600 S. Vulcan – Downtown Encinitas
About: The market is comprised of 40+ vendors selling local farm fresh produce, specialty meats and cheeses, and flowers in addition to an array of artisan products including breads and gluten-free goods.

Oceanside: Holiday Gift Market

Date: Thursdays in December
Time: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Location: Downtown Oceanside
About: Featuring 140 artisans and merchants, and an international food court.

Dana Point: 42nd Annual Boat Parade of Lights

Date: Saturday, December 17
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Dana Point Harbor (24650 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629)
About: Festive family activities will get you into the holiday spirit before the parade begins. Then join boaters from all around Orange County as they decorate their boats and vie for awards.

Laguna Niguel: Chanukah Wonderland & Menorah Lighting

Date: Thursday, December 29
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Location: City Hall Community Room (30111 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677)
About: Enjoy live entertainment, activities and crafts as well as Chanukah treats – latkes, dreidles, and more.

Carlsbad: Family Friendly New Year’s Eve Futuristic Bash

Date: Saturday, December 31
Time: Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Location: 5480 Grand Pacific Dr., Carlsbad, CA 92008
About: Enjoy a night filled with superb food, drinks, entertainment, children’s activities and unforgettable memories.

Rancho Santa Margarita: New Year’s Eve “Celebrating Family & Friends” 16th Annual Event

Date: Saturday, December 31
Time: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Location: Civic Plaza (22232 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688)
About: The mission of the Annual New Year’s Eve Celebrating Family and Friends event is to provide a safe and fun event that brings the community together in an alcohol-free setting.

Aliso Viejo: Snow Fest 2017

Date: Saturday, January 21
Time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Grand Park (Corner of City Lights Drive & Grand Avenue, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656)
About: This popular annual event provides an opportunity for young and old to enjoy the experience of snow in Aliso Viejo!

Note: While my office strives to include accurate information at the time of publication, events are subject to change by the organizers/sponsors.

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36th District Highlights

In addition to many meetings, briefings, and other Senate activities, I also:

  • Sat down for an interview with NBC Bay Area regarding my effort to deter parolees from tampering with their GPS devices. You can watch the video report here.

Image from NBC video

  • Celebrated FedEx’s impressive new ground facility in Oceanside with FedEx employees, Congressman Darrell Issa, Mayor Jim Wood and Councilmembers Jerry Kern and Jack Feller. The facility employs 200 people and can process 15,000 packages per hour!

Photo from FedEx new ground facility

  • Toured VSP Vision Care’s prescription eye wear lab facility in Vista with Matthew Phy from my Encinitas office (2nd from left). The facility is a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship!

Photo from VSP Vision Care's eye wear lab

  • Delivered a legislative update to the Laguna Hills Chamber of Commerce.

Photo from Laguna Hills Chamber of Commerce

  • Met with representatives from local chambers of commerce in Laguna Hills on how we can make our local economy stronger and create more jobs.

District Highlights photo 6

  • Spoke at the Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce’s Daybreakers event.
    Photo Credit: Takata Photo & Design.

Photo from Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce Daybreakers event

  • Celebrated the completion of the Advanced Purified Water Facility in Mission Viejo. The facility will help Lake Mission Viejo switch to advanced purified water and end nearly 40 years of using drinking water for lake refill. I am pictured with Mission Viejo Mayor Frank Ury, who spearheaded the partnership for the project.

Photo from Advanced Purified Water Facility Photo 2 from Advanced Purified Water Facility

  • Met with San Diego members of the American Council of Engineering Companies.

Photo from American Council of Engineering Companies

  • Honored Susan Hinman on her retirement as District 7 Director of the Municipal Water District of Orange County.

Photo from American Council of Engineering Companies

  • And more!

On my behalf, my staff also:

  • Honored veterans at Mission Viejo’s Veterans Day ceremony. Rhonda Reardon of my Orange County office is pictured at the right.

Photo from Mission Viejo's Veterans Day ceremony

  • Congratulated Kenneth Lopez (center) on opening his own affiliate of North Hills Insurance. Amir Mansour (right), who is an intern in my Encinitas office, presented Mr. Lopez with a certificate celebrating the occasion.

Photo of certificate presentation

  • Attended the opening of the Pages of Tyme store and Orchard Supply Hardware in Mission Viejo.

Photo of store opening

  • And more!

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Connect on Social Media

Facebook logoTwitter Logo

To learn more about my work in the Senate, please “follow” me on Twitter and “like” me on Facebook.

To contact me, you can send a message on my website or mail a letter to:

Senator Patricia Bates
State Capitol, Room 4048
Sacramento, California 95814

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