Pat's Perspective: March 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Message from Pat

The arrival of March has brought milder temperatures and more sunlight in the early evening, which is especially nice whenever I am in Sacramento for legislative business. Sacramento is a wonderful city, but there is no place like home back in the 36th Senate District.

In this issue, I highlight some of the events and issues that affect our region, such as an update on San Clemente Hospital and my efforts to protect the American flag at state-funded colleges and universities. The unfortunate decision by UC Irvine’s student government to ban the display of the American flag in its offices was thankfully reversed, but I have co-authored legislation to ensure that future student governments will never consider a ban again.

There are also other items in my newsletter that you may find useful, such as free tax preparation assistance. My goal is to provide information that is helpful to our communities, so feel free to contact my office if there is something you want to see featured.

Sincerely,

Pat

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Free Tax Prep Assistance

Tax Form and April 15

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs provide free assistance to individuals with limited income and/or over the age of 60 who need help in completing simple federal and state income tax returns. Assistance is limited to full-year residents.

Trained volunteers at more than 1,000 VITA/TCE sites throughout California provide free help by completing tax forms for those who make $53,000 or less as well as any senior, disabled, or non-English speaking people who need to file simple federal and state tax returns. Many military bases such as Camp Pendleton provide this service for members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Assistance is generally available from now through April 15. The VITA program specializes in assisting taxpayers with disabilities, low incomes, or limited English skills. The TCE program provides free income tax assistance for middle- or low-income taxpayers, giving special attention to those aged 60 and older.

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Legislative Update

California State Capitol

I have introduced my legislative package for this year. Two bills that I am especially proud to carry are:

Senate Bill 479 Applied Behavior Analysis Licensing

Children with autism deserve quality treatment from qualified professionals. As a former social worker, I’m pleased to have introduced Senate Bill 479 to establish licensing for applied behavior analysts.

These analysts work with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities to help improve their daily lives. Research shows that proper treatment by qualified analysts can produce significant improvements for young children with autism.

My bill would help ensure basic treatment standards by rooting out people claiming qualifications they don’t possess.

Senate Bill 473 Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse

Senate Bill 473 is a work in progress, but it would ensure that home care workers who work with elders and dependent adults have not committed financial, physical, mental, or any type of abuse.

To learn more about my legislation, please visit my website.

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San Clemente Hospital Update

Saddleback Memorial Medical Center

Assemblyman Bill Brough and I have introduced legislation intended to help preserve life-saving emergency care services at San Clemente’s Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, acting on behalf of thousands of residents concerned about the hospital’s future.

The people of South Orange County deserve convenient access to emergency health care services, and we are committed to doing everything we can in the Legislature to preserve that access. Our legislation is meant to facilitate a consensus between MemorialCare (the hospital’s operator) and the community, and we will continue to work with everyone in the weeks ahead.

We have introduced identical legislation in our respective chambers to jumpstart a dialogue with our colleagues. I have authored Senate Bill 787 and Assemblyman Brough is sponsoring Assembly Bill 911.

Both of these bills are intended to authorize San Clemente Hospital to operate a stand-alone emergency room for purposes of stabilizing patients prior to transfer to any other hospital in the region.

There’s still work to be done, but I am hopeful we will achieve our shared goal: protecting emergency care services for South Orange County.

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UC Irvine Flag Controversy

Senator Bates speaks at a press conference introducing legislation to bar state-funded colleges and universities from banning the American flag on campus property.
Senator Bates speaks at a press conference introducing legislation to bar state-funded colleges and universities from banning the American flag on campus property.

On March 9th, I joined Senator Janet Nguyen and several of our colleagues to introduce a Senate Constitutional Amendment to prohibit state-funded colleges and universities from banning the American flag on campus property. Several military veterans were on hand to show their support.

The introduction of this legislation was prompted by a March 5th vote at the University of California, Irvine, where its student council passed a resolution banning the displays of all flags, including the American flag, citing efforts to be “inclusive” of others.

To its credit, the student government’s Executive Cabinet vetoed the flag ban on March 7th. Nevertheless, this event draws attention to a potential problem that could reoccur at another state-funded college or university campus.

Our Senate Constitutional Amendment would prevent incidents like this from happening again. It would ensure our flag - and the veterans who sacrificed so much to defend the ideals that it represents - are given the proper respect they deserve.

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Teacher of the Year Nominations

teacher in front of chalkboard

The LegiSchool Project is pleased to announce it is seeking nominations for its 2014-15 Teacher of the Year! The Project is looking for teachers who are committed to civic education in the classroom and beyond, inspiring students to be active and engaged in their communities.

Any full-time classroom teacher in grades K-12 in California is eligible for the award. One selected winner will receive a commemorative plaque and recognition from the State Legislature. Teachers may be nominated or they may nominate themselves.

Full details and fillable forms are available online: www.csus.edu/calst/contests.html. The application deadline is March 20, 2015.

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Senate Art Contest

art gallery stock photo

My office is now seeking entries for the California State Senate art show, which features local artwork from every corner of California. Artists from the 36th Senate District can submit as many works as they would like, and I will select the entry that best represents the 36th Senate district. The winning entry will be displayed at the Capitol from May 2015 to September 2016. For more information, please click here.

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Caltrans QuickMap

Caltrans QuickMap Logo

Are you a driver seeking the latest information to help avoid traffic jams? If so, check out QuickMap!

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has developed the QuickMap system to allow drivers to plan ahead and reach their destinations faster by providing them with real-time traffic and travel information. QuickMap visitors can monitor traffic congestion, California Highway Patrol incidents, Amber Alerts, travel time information, and lane closures due to highway roadwork.

Using QuickMap can ensure a smoother driving experience for you and your passengers, while reducing congestion and pollution. Check out QuickMap at quickmap.dot.ca.gov.

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Girl Scouts' 103rd Anniversary

Girl Scouts logo

Congratulations to the Girl Scouts of the USA on its 103rd anniversary!

Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. From that point on, the Girl Scouts has grown to a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults today, helping them to realize their full potential. Many thanks to the Girl Scouts for helping make our state and nation stronger.

To learn more about our local Girl Scouts, please visit the Girl Scouts of Orange County or Girl Scouts San Diego.

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Upcoming Events

San Juan Capistrano: The Swallows Day Parade (The Fiesta de las Golodrinas)

Date: Saturday, March 21
Time: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Mercado Street Faire) 11 a.m. (parade)
Location: Downtown San Juan Capistrano
About: The Swallows Day Parade is part of the much larger Fiesta de las Golondrinas or Festival of the Swallows. The Fiesta de las Golondrinas is tied to the legendary return of the swallows to the Mission San Juan Capistrano on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19th. The fame of this event and the yearly return of the Swallows have reached all parts of the world.

Carlsbad: Facebook Online Safety Seminar - Sponsored by Senator Bates

Date: Thursday, March 26
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa, 5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
About: This presentation provides a thorough description of the tools available to members of the Facebook community to report inappropriate content, harassment, and other forms of cyber bullying.

Vista: Affordable Pet Licensing, Vaccination, and Microchip

Date: Saturday, March 28
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Brengle Terrace Park (1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista, CA 92084)
About: The San Diego Humane Society’s Vet Mobile and Vera Heidolph, DVM, MIM of VetBus will be on site providing affordable vaccinations and microchips. If you are a resident of Oceanside or Vista, you can stop by to renew or purchase a new license (late fees will be waived).

Dana Point: Free Community Electronic Waste Day

Date: Saturday, March 28
Time: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: 28 Monarch Bay Plaza, Dana Point, CA 92629 (Pacific Coast Highway at Crown Valley Parkway)
About: Monarch Bay Plaza is sponsoring this day to safely dispose of old computers, printers, monitors, cell phones, TVs and more! Clear the clutter while keeping Dana Point clean!

Laguna Niguel: Support Our Marines Car Wash

Date: Saturday, April 4
Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Plaza De La Paz Center (27241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677)

Dana Point: Free Community Shred Day

Date: Saturday, April 18
Time: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: 28 Monarch Bay Plaza, Dana Point, CA 92629 (Pacific Coast Highway at Crown Valley Parkway)
About: Shred your sensitive documents and know that the cross-cut remnants will be recycled. Services provided by Paper Recycling & Shredding Specialists - licensed/bonded/insured. On-site destruction takes only minutes.

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36th District Highlights

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

  • Met with students and representatives of UC Irvine (pictured below) and UC San Diego regarding higher education funding.

Senator Bates with UC Irvine students and representatives at the Capitol
Senator Bates with UC Irvine students and representatives at the Capitol

  • Met with the students and staff of Cal State Fullerton to talk about their innovative Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Met with the San Diego County Medical Society
  • Participated in a meeting with the American Lung Association
  • Met with MemorialCare officials and concerned citizens regarding San Clemente Hospital
  • Joined the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce in congratulating its honorees at its annual business awards dinner

On my behalf, my office staff also:

  • Participated in the Ribbon Cutting of LMFT Inc. in Encinitas
  • Attended the San Diego North Business Chamber State of the Region event
  • Presented certificates to six outstanding high school seniors at the Vista Rising Stars Breakfast
  • Participated in the 25th Anniversary Ribbon Cutting of Costco in Laguna Niguel
  • Participated in the ribbon cutting of Golden Crown Men’s Grooming and Barber Supply in Laguna Niguel
  • Participated in the ribbon cutting of Club Pilates in Mission Viejo
  • Participated in the ribbon cutting of MV Transmission and Auto Repair in Mission Viejo
  • Participated in the ribbon cutting of New American Funding in Mission Viejo
  • Participated in the ribbon cutting of Treasure Box in San Clemente
  • Attended the Joint Government Affairs Reception for UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton

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Connect on Social Media

Facebook logo  Twitter 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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