Pat's Perspective: December 2019

Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Message from Pat

Dear Neighbor,

This holiday season is a good reminder for many of us of what is most important in our lives.

Whether it is family, friends, freedom, faith, or all of the above, we should never take for granted the blessings that we have. While the latest hot consumer item bought on Black Friday may become obsolete next year, the things that we cannot put a price on last for a lifetime.

As 2020 approaches, it is never too late to make a difference in the life of another person. If you are looking for opportunities to serve, please visit or We may not be able to help everyone, but we can all help someone.

I wish you and your family the very best as we head into 2020.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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Legislative Report Cards

California State Capitol
California State Capitol

I am pleased to have received a perfect 100 percent score (“A” grade) from the nonpartisan Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) in its 2019 Legislative Report Card. HJTA is one of the state’s top watchdogs on tax and public finance issues. Click here to learn more.

The California Chamber of Commerce also gave me a perfect score in its 2019 Vote Record for my work to protect and create jobs. Click here to learn more.

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Legislative Update

California State Senate Chamber
Senate Chamber, California State Capitol

The Legislature will reconvene in Sacramento on January 6. Committees will meet to consider new bills and those left over from last year. Some of my bills that will be heard in January include:

  • SB 57 – Allows individuals to opt-in for voter registration at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) instead of automatically being registered to vote or having to opt-out of registration. The Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee will consider the bill on January 7th.
  • SB 161 – Adds fentanyl to a category of dangerous drugs, such as heroin, that are subject to penalty enhancements based on the weight an individual possesses for sale or distribution. The Senate Public Safety Committee will vote on the bill on January 14th.
  • SB 486 – Prohibits commercially-operated recovery residences from participating in patient brokering and sets a $50,000 fine for violations. The Senate Health Committee will consider the bill on January 15th.
  • SB 710 – Alleviates the unintended and dangerous consequences of recent criminal justice reform bills and initiatives by: (1) reinstating DNA collection for certain crimes that were reduced to misdemeanors, (2) reclassifying specific violent crimes as “violent felonies” to ensure individuals convicted of these crimes are not eligible for early release, (3) reforming the parole system to expand parolee oversight and strengthen penalties for parole violations, and (4) restoring accountability for serial thieves. The Senate Public Safety Committee will consider the bill on January 14th.

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Sober Living Homes Update

Sober Living Homes

On November 21st, Senator John Moorlach and I asked for federal assistance to help improve oversight of the addiction treatment industry, which includes sober living homes and rehab facilities.

We believe that clarifying existing federal laws will allow California to more effectively reduce the exploitation of patients and protect public safety. Click here to learn more.

Also on October 30th, I participated in a bipartisan oversight hearing in Costa Mesa to advocate for meaningful reforms in the industry. Click here to learn more.

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Addressing Homelessness

stock photo of an homeless person

The California Department of Housing & Community Development has awarded more than $1 million in Emergency Solutions Grants to Orange and San Diego counties to reduce homelessness. These grants are in addition to the $2.5 million in state funding that I previously announced in October.

These grants will help connect more people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness with the services they need. I will continue to work with my colleagues at every level of government to ensure that our communities receive their fair share of public funding to address homelessness.

Read more

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Sea Level Rise and Coastal Erosion

Sen. Bates participates in a legislative hearing on sea level rise at Encinitas' City Hall.
Sen. Bates participates in a legislative hearing on sea level rise at Encinitas’ City Hall.

Sea level rise and coastal erosion are two major threats to California’s coastal communities. These threats affect the local economy, tourism, and public beach access for millions of people.

On December 3rd in Encinitas, I participated in a hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy. The committee heard from experts and community members on the impacts of sea level rise and erosion.

I believe we should consider every option that can help address these challenges and will continue to engage with others on solutions.

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Fighting for a Cleaner Environment

Aliso Creek Estuary
Aliso Creek Estuary

If we are to move forward to a cleaner and healthier future in California, we need to proceed with projects such as restoring the Aliso Creek Estuary in South Orange County.

That is why I have asked the California State Coastal Conservancy to approve the Laguna Ocean Foundation’s request for funding to help restore the estuary. Approval would be a win-win for the environment and local quality of life.

Read more

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Toll Road Town Hall

Sen. Bates participates in a San Clemente toll road town hall.
Sen. Bates participates in a San Clemente toll road town hall.

I participated in a town hall in San Clemente on November 13th regarding a potential toll road extension. I spoke in opposition to a plan that would cut through the city and tear communities apart.

Traffic relief is needed, but it must take local concerns into account. I will continue to work with local officials and residents to improve transportation mobility.

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Tax Return Assistance

tax form 1040

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 $56,000 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!

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Senate Fellows Program

Photo of California State Capitol with 'California Senate Fellows Program' text below

If you or someone you know is a college senior or graduate, consider applying for the 2020-21 California Senate Fellows program. It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain public service experience!

For more information, click here. The deadline to apply is February 3, 2020.

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Upcoming Events

The events below are just a sample of what’s happening in our beautiful region. While my office strives to include accurate information at the time of publication, event details are subject to change by their organizers.

Dana Point: 45th Annual Boat Parade of Lights

Date: December 13 and 14
Time: Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m., boat parade starts at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Dana Point Harbor
About: One of Orange County’s most festive celebrations, the event offers something for everyone.
More Information: Click here.

Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade

Date: December 14
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Crown Valley Parkway (between Nueva Vista and Central Park Drive); Parade route will end at Central Park Drive
About: Experience the unique sights and sounds of the annual Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade. View over 100 exciting entries including marching bands, floats, special guests, youth groups, equestrian units, exotic cars military members, local heroes, and fun attractions!
More Information: Click here.

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

Date: December 14
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Oceanside Harbor
About: A fun spectacle with boats of all shapes and sizes decorated in their finest holiday attire, including lights, ornaments and lots of holiday trimmings.
More Information: Click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita: New Year’s Eve Celebrating Family & Friends

Date: December 31
Time: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Location: Bell Tower Regional Community Center (22232 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688)
About: The City of Rancho Santa Margarita invites you to attend its annual New Year’s Eve event as it celebrates the City’s 20th birthday and anniversary of incorporation!
More Information: Click here.

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36th District Highlights

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

  • Presented a resolution authored by me and Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath to Mellano & Company for its efforts to make its business a family-friendly workplace. The company grows and distributes flowers of exceptional beauty for famous events such as the Rose Parade and the Academy Awards.

    Mellano has locations in Carlsbad and Oceanside, providing jobs and revenue for our region. Accepting the resolution was CEO Michael Mellano. We are with Kim Speckhahn (left) and Lisa G. Bandong, MPH.

Kim Speckhahn, Senator Pat Bates, Mellano and Co. CEO Michael Mellano and Lisa G. Bandong, MPH

  • Hosted a meeting of leaders from South Orange County chambers of commerce to discuss economic issues important to their communities.

two photos of Sen. Bates leading a meeting of chamber of commerce leaders; Sen. Bates and three chamber leaders pose for a photo

  • Congratulated CHP Officer Steve Miles on his 31 years of service. He has lived and served in Orange County his entire life. Best wishes on a happy retirement!

Senator Pat Bates with CHP Officer Steve Miles

  • And more!

On my behalf, my staff also:

  • Presented a certificate at the grand opening of the Flip Flop Shops at the Outlets at San Clemente. Candice Burroughs (center) from my Laguna Hills office represented me.

Certificate presented to Flip Flop Shops' grand opening

  • Attended the Cibo Italiano ribbon cutting in Rancho Santa Margarita. Rhonda Reardon (4th from right) from my Laguna Hills office represented me.

Senator Bates staff attended the Cibo Italian ribbon cutting

To learn more about Sen. Bates’ work in the Senate, please “follow” her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. To contact her, click here.

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