Pat's Perspective: February 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

A Message from Pat

Dear Neighbor,

The California Legislature is back in session and committee hearings are underway on hundreds of new bill proposals.

While only a few bills attract significant media attention, many others that fly under the media radar can have significant effects on Californians should they become law. As your state senator, I take seriously my responsibility to review each bill that comes up for a vote. We may not always agree, but the input I receive from constituents helps inform how I vote. If there is a bill or issue that concerns you, click here to send me a message.

As always, feel free to contact one of my offices if you have a question or need help with a state agency.



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Global map of countries having confirmed cases of coronavirus

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus first identified in China.

There are at least six confirmed cases in California. The CDC says the health risk in the U.S. from the coronavirus is considered low at this time.

For the latest information, visit the CDC at and the California Department of Public Health at

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Legislative Update

California State Senate Chamber
Senate Chamber, California State Capitol

As I anticipated, a new law (Assembly Bill 5) has hurt many Californians who want to continue working as independent contractors. I voted against AB 5 because it undermines the principle of equal treatment under the law and deprives many Californians the right to be their own bosses.

As a first step to help the many who have been affected, I have introduced legislation to help newspapers and freelance journalists continue to operate in California by exempting them from AB 5. Click here to learn more.

Fixing AB 5 is a work in progress. My colleagues and I are continuing to work on legislation to help workers in all occupations who have been hurt by the new law. Click here and here to learn more about other legislative efforts to help workers.

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Sober Living Homes Update

Drawing of a one-story home with “Sober Living Homes” text below

The Senate Health Committee blocked my SB 486 that would have prohibited sober living homes from engaging in patient brokering. Click here to learn more.

However, there is some good news to report. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Insurance have shut down an alleged health care fraud ring which preyed on vulnerable substance abuse patients in order to cheat an insurance company. Click here for details.

Additional legislation is still needed to protect patients and public safety. I will continue to fight to ensure that California has the tools to address the issues surrounding sober living homes.

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State Budget Update

2020-21 State Budget pie chart of “Total State Funds” by spending category

Governor Newsom released his 2020-21 budget proposal on January 10th. Click here to read my thoughts and click here to read highlights and analysis on the budget proposal.

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San Onofre Update

The decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo Credit: Southern California Edison.
The decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
Photo Credit: Southern California Edison.

Dismantlement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) will begin this month, a process that will continue for the next eight years. Click here to learn more.

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Presidential Primary Election

California Secretary of State’s “Election 2020” logo

California’s Presidential Primary Election will take place on March 3, 2020. You can register to vote, check your voter status, learn how the state’s presidential primary works, and do more by clicking here to visit the California Secretary of State’s website.

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U.S. Census

“Census 2020: California for All”

Every 10 years, people across the country fill out the Census in order to have an accurate count of all people in the United States. The Census determines California’s federal funding for community services and its fair share of representation in California and Washington, D.C.

The next Census is this Spring. Click here to learn more from the State of California.

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Earned Income Tax Credit

File photo of $100 bills

If you work and have low income, you may qualify for the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). This credit gives you a refund or reduces your tax owed.

If you qualify for CalEITC and have a child under the age of 6, you may also qualify for the Young Child Tax Credit. Together, these state credits can put hundreds of dollars back in your pocket.

Filing your state tax return is required to claim both of these credits. Click here to learn more.

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“ScholarShare 529” logo

ScholarShare is California’s official state-sponsored 529 college savings plan to help young people afford college. Click here to find out about the plan benefits, how it works, the tax advantages, and how the funds can be used.

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Formerly Used Defense Sites Program (FUDS)

During the past two centuries, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has used land throughout the country to both train Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines, and test new weapons to ensure the nation’s military readiness. As training and testing needs changed, DOD obtained property or returned it to private or public uses.

Today, DOD is responsible for the environmental cleanup of properties that were formerly owned by, leased to or otherwise possessed by the U.S. and under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Defense prior to October 1986.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting notification and safety education activities within California. There is one area in the 36th Senate District that is affected: the former Trabuco Bombing Range in South Orange County. Information has been or will be mailed to affected landowners whose property may be subject to environmental or safety concerns linked to past DOD activities.

Click here to learn more. You may also call the toll-free FUDS information telephone line at 1.855.765.3837.

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Citizens Water Academy

“Citizens Water Academy” logo

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Citizens Water Academy is now accepting applications for its Spring 2020 class.

The Academy is an opportunity for San Diego County residents to learn about critical projects and programs related to water. Click here to learn more. Applications are due by February 17.

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Internships Available

“ScholarShare 529” logo

I am seeking interns for my Encinitas and Laguna Hills district offices. This is a great opportunity for college students who are thinking about public service.

Interns will be able to understand how government works and the power of civic engagement for both local and state issues. Interns will be given a firsthand look into the ways in which government works for the people. Additionally, interns will gain valuable life skills including business and professional etiquette.

Those interested in interning should send a resume to

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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.

Mission Viejo: Oso Fit Community Health Fair & 5K Fun Run

Date: February 29
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Location: Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center (24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA 92692)
About: The event features a 5K and quarter- and half-mile runs along with a popular community health fair.
More Information: Click here.

San Clemente Day & Fishing Derby

Date: February 29
Time: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: 7 Pier (622 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente, CA 92672)
About: The community is invited to celebrate the history of the San Clemente Municipal Pier and its fishing legacy.
More Information: Click here.

Carlsbad: North County Heart & Stroke Walk

Date: March 7
Time: 6 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Location: Carlsbad Flower Fields (5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008)
About: Get your heart pumping with a brisk walk through the beautiful spring flowers and help make a difference in the fight against heart disease and stroke.
More Information: Click here.

Santa Ana: Casa Romantica Art Exhibit

Date: Now through June 2020
Location: John Wayne Airport, walkway between Terminals B and C, before security screening.
About: John Wayne Airport is pleased to share the story of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, an award-winning center for arts and culture. The exhibit features Casa Romantica’s original commissioned works and site adaptations in the visual and performing arts that highlight its location perched atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in the historic Spanish Colonial Revival home of San Clemente founder Ole Hanson.
More Information: Click here.

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36th District Highlights

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

  • Delivered a legislative update to the Orange County Business Council in Irvine. Photo Credit: Dirissy Doan.

Pictures of Senator Bates delivering a legislative update

  • Met with Rima Nashashibi, the President of Global Hope 365, at my Laguna Hills office to discuss efforts to end both human trafficking and child marriages in California.

Senator Bates and Rima Nashashibi

  • Congratulated Rob Zampino (left) on his retirement from the City of Laguna Niguel. Rob has faithfully served Laguna Niguel’s residents for 33 years.

Senator Pat Bates congratulating Rob Zampino

  • And more!

On my behalf, my staff also:

  • Accepted an award from Alcohol Justice, an alcohol industry watchdog, for my efforts to oppose policies that would weaken statewide protections of a uniform 2 a.m. last call in California’s bars, restaurants, and clubs. My legislative director, Sarah Couch (2nd from right), accepted the award on my behalf from Alcohol Justice representatives and Assemblyman Tom Lackey (right).

Photo of Sarah Couch accepting an award on my behalf

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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