California’s new Legislature convened for the first time at the State Capitol in Sacramento on December 3rd. I had the honor of taking the oath of office to begin my second term as the state senator for South Orange and North San Diego counties, where I look forward to continuing my work to represent our diverse district. Click here to learn more.
Thank you to everyone who voted in this year’s primary and general elections. Whether you voted for me or not, I took the oath to serve all the residents of our district and state to the best of my ability. Californians deserve representatives that will work across party lines while maintaining their core principles. I have worked hard to be such a representative over the past four years and I will continue to do so in my second term.
Please do not hesitate to contact me on state-related issues important to you. Your feedback helps inform my work in the Senate.
Finally, as 2019 approaches, it is never too late to make a positive difference in the life of another person. Every act of kindness helps. If you are looking for opportunities to serve, please visit www.californiavolunteers.ca.gov and www.serve.gov.
I wish you and your family the very best as we head into 2019.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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 measuring stick to judge their legislator’s effectiveness on various issues.
I’m pleased to report that I received high marks or perfect scores from the organizations below.
- California District Attorneys Association (100 percent)
- California Manufacturers and Technology Association (“Champion of Manufacturing”)
- California Chamber of Commerce (100 percent)
- Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (“A” grade)
On October 24th, the President signed bipartisan legislation that creates new resources and better policies to help millions of patients and families affected by opioid abuse.
I welcome the new federal law, which compliments state laws such as SB 1109 that I authored and Governor Brown approved this year to increase opioid education for Californians, especially young people. Other laws that I have authored and co-authored this year address patient brokering and create best practices for sober living homes.
Sen. Bates with Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett (holding resolution), former Supervisor Thomas Wilson (right) and representatives of Dana Point Harbor Partners.
Dana Point Harbor is a California treasure. I was proud to be a part of the Master Lease Signing ceremony last month with current Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, former Supervisor Thomas Wilson, and others to help keep the harbor a treasure for decades to come.
Revitalizing the harbor was one of my top priorities when I was a county supervisor and I’m glad to celebrate this important milestone which will protect the harbor’s environment, improve recreational opportunities, and provide a family-friendly atmosphere to all of the surrounding businesses.
I authored SB 367 last year to help make the revitalization possible. Governor Brown signed the bill into law, which extends available lease terms for public trust lands at the Dana Point Harbor from 50 to 66 years.
Special thanks to Donna Kalez, Jim Miller, and James Lenthall for their tireless efforts over the years to improve the harbor.
Tax Return Assistance
With tax season coming up soon, free tax return preparation is available for qualifying taxpayers.
IRS-certified volunteers can help people with household incomes of $54,000 or less prepare and electronically file a basic tax return for free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. To find a VITA site near you, click here.
Appointments fill up fast and the wait list for assistance can be long. So schedule an appointment as soon as possible!
State Earned Income Tax Credit Program
The 2018-19 state budget expands, for the second year in a row, the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program. The 2018-19 expansion allows workers between the ages of 18 and 25 and those above 64 to be eligible for the tax credit and also revises the credit’s income limits to reflect the minimum wage increase to $12 per hour in 2019.
For 2018-19, the state will provide approximately $420 million in tax credits to 2 million low-income working California households. I support the EITC as a more effective way to reduce poverty and assist families than traditional welfare programs.
Text Message Tax?
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was scheduled to consider a proposal next month to tax text messages to increase funding for phone service programs. Fortunately, the CPUC has withdrawn its proposal due to a recent ruling from the Federal Communications Commission. I opposed the text message tax because the state has a $15 billion surplus it can use to fund phone service programs and the Legislature has already significantly increased gas and car taxes.
Governor Brown approved several new laws this year that will affect businesses of all sizes in 2019. From sexual harassment training to lactation accommodation, employers should plan ahead to ensure compliance with the new laws. Click here to learn more.
California’s voters approved Proposition 7 this year to express their preference to switch to year-round Daylight Saving Time (DST). Does this mean we can stop changing our clocks twice a year?
The short answer for now is “no.” Federal law does not allow states to unilaterally shift to permanent DST. The next step is for the Legislature to approve by a two-thirds vote and the Governor to sign a bill that establishes year-round DST. If that happens, Congress and the President must then approve a bill allowing California to switch. Only then will the switch happen.
The Legislature will consider a bill in the 2019-20 legislative session that will try to honor the will of the voters that was expressed in the November election.
The events below are just a sample of what’s happening in our beautiful district. While my office strives to include accurate information at the time of publication, event details are subject to change by their organizers.
Mission Viejo: Noon Year’s Eve
Date: Monday, December 31
Time: 11:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.
Location: City Hall Saddleback Room (200 Civic Center, Mission Viejo, CA 92691)
About: No need to stay up late! Ring in the New Year at the library with crafts, music, and fun for the whole family. All ages. Children must be accompanied by parent/guardian.
Dana Point: Headlands Nature Walk
Date: Saturday, January 5
Time: 9 a.m. — 11 a.m.
Location: Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center (34558 Scenic Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629)
About: Learn more about the unique flora and fauna of the Headlands, including rare and endangered plants and animals that call the area home. Walks are subject to cancellation due to inclement weather.
Vista: Free Flu Shot Clinic
Date: Monday, January 7
Time: 2 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Location: Vista Library (700 Eucalyptus Avenue, Vista, CA 92084)
About: Palomar Health Care is providing free flu shots to children and adults 9 years of age and older at the Vista Library.
Laguna Niguel: Pizza with Police
Date: Thursday, January 31
Time: 5 p.m. — 7 p.m.
Location: Sea Country Senior and Community Center (24602 Aliso Creek Road, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677)
About: The Laguna Niguel Youth Committee, together with Laguna Niguel Police Services, is hosting this event for 9-12th graders. Break down the barriers by getting to know your local deputies, ask questions about their jobs, and enjoy pizza with other high school students.
Encinitas: Senior Health & Wellness Expo
Date: Saturday, February 2
Time: 10 a.m. — 2 p.m.
Location: Encinitas Senior Community Park (1140 Oakcrest Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024)
About: Event will have experts speaking on topics that are important to the senior citizen community.
Oceanside: Enlisted Recognition Reception
Date: Thursday, February 28
Time: 6 p.m. — 8 p.m.
Location: 1617 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92058
About: The Oceanside Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee created the Enlisted Recognition Program in 2001 as a way for the business community to recognize the excellence of local enlisted personnel. This event is open to the public.
In addition to many meetings, briefings and other Senate activities, I also:
- Took the oath of office to begin my second term in the California State Senate.
- Joined Bye Bye Mattress and the Mattress Recycling Council to sponsor a mattress recycling event in Vista. We collected more than 70 mattresses that were properly recycled!
- Congratulated the students of San Juan Capistrano’s Del Obispo Elementary School. Its 5th grade student volunteers painted a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) mural that was made possible by Cox Communications and the non-profit Operation Clean Slate. The goal of the mural is to inspire more students, especially young girls, to pursue STEAM careers.
- Accepted an award for bipartisan efforts to help create the Orange County Housing Finance Trust to alleviate homelessness. I shared the award with Senator John Moorlach, Assembly Members Tom Daly and Sharon Quirk-Silva, Fullerton City Council Member and ACC-OC President Jennifer Fitzgerald, OC Supervisor Andrew Do, and community leader Dan Young.
- Delivered a legislative update to the Rotary Club of Laguna Niguel.
- And more!