Pat's Perspective: September 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Message from Pat

Dear Friends,

Just as summer starts turning into fall, the Legislature has reconvened in Sacramento to consider hundreds of bills before it adjourns the regular session on September 11. I appreciated the opportunity to spend most of the Legislature’s summer “recess” back in the district attending various events and meeting constituents, which you can learn more about in this newsletter.

During the recess, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 241 into law, my measure to support the use of neighborhood electric vehicles. You can learn more about the bill in my press release here. In addition, the governor also signed Assemblyman Brian Maienschein’s Assembly Bill 1403, which I am proud to have co-authored. This bill will help the homeless and mentally ill through public-private partnerships.

Legislators are not the only ones headed back to their desks. With the back-to-school season in full swing, my newsletter has a special focus on K-12 and college students. Please share any articles that may be of interest to those you know.

As always, please know that my district offices in Orange and San Diego counties are open to assist you with any problems you may have with a California state agency. It’s an honor to serve you and our great state.

Sincerely,

Pat

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Veterans Fair

service members, veterans and American flags

Assembly Member Bill Brough and I are hosting our first annual Veterans Resource Fair at Mission Viejo’s Capistrano Valley High School (26301 Via Escolar, 92692) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 3. The fair will have many resources from businesses, government agencies and non-profits on the benefits that veterans have earned. Lunch will be provided to the first 500 attendees.

You can also watch a 30 second Public Service Announcement that I recently taped with Asm. Brough here.

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Transportation Special Session Update

traffic stock photo

My colleagues and I recently introduced several common sense solutions to address California’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure, which can be found below. They are in response to the transportation special session that Governor Brown called for.

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently highlighted the transportation debate in a column by Steven Greenhut titled “Roads: State spends more, gets less,” highlighting the different ways Democrats and Republicans are addressing road repairs. It is worth the read.

As a member of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Development Committee, I have authored SB X1 10 to bring more local control to the transportation funding process by converting the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) into a grant program. This transition would give local agencies the flexibility to use the funds like a block grant and prioritize the projects that are important to them.

I also strongly support SB X1 3 authored by Senator Andy Vidak, which would allow Californians to vote on whether they want to continue funding the High-Speed Rail project that is estimated to cost $100 billion to complete. The bill would immediately freeze any further spending on the project until after the vote. If approved by the voters, any unspent High-Speed Rail dollars would be redirected to repair and/or construct new state and local roads. Unfortunately, the majority party rejected the bill in committee.

Other measures from my colleagues include:

SB X1 2 (Sen. Bob Huff) dedicates cap-and-trade taxes derived from gasoline production to improving California’s roads. I am a co-author of this bill.

SB X1 9 (Sen. John Moorlach) starts to change the culture at Caltrans by making sure California does not use temporary funding such as bond funds or loan repayments to support permanent, ongoing state positions that continue with full salary and benefits long after all the work is done. This bill would also utilize more private contracts to get transportation construction projects completed in a timely fashion. I am a co-author of this bill. Unfortunately, the majority party rejected it in committee.

SB X1 11 (Sen. Tom Berryhill) exempts vital road repair and maintenance projects on the existing right of way from the needless delays associated with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review while still protecting the environment. I’m a co-author of this bill.

SB X1 12 (Sen. Sharon Runner) brings more accountability and transparency to the process by making the California Transportation Commission independent and giving it the power to approve individual repair and maintenance projects. The measure is intended to ensure that Caltrans is actually putting its resources into the top priority projects and achieving its efficiency goals. The bill passed its first committee with bipartisan support.

SB X1 13 (Sen. Vidak) creates a Transportation Inspector General to examine Caltrans and the High-Speed Rail Authority for waste, fraud and abuse. The bill passed its first committee with bipartisan support.

SB X1 14 (Sen. Anthony Cannella) eliminates the sunset provision in legislation passed in 2009 that allowed regional transportation agencies and Caltrans to enter into an unlimited number of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and eliminated the number and type of projects that may be undertaken. I’m a co-author of this bill.

SCA X1 1 (Sen. Huff) would constitutionally guarantee that billions in transportation taxes collected each year are used only for transportation purposes. I’m a co-author of this bill.

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Public Transportation Grants

California State Transportation Agency Logo

I’m pleased to report that the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) has given two grants to regional agencies that will benefit residents living in the 36th district. They are:

  • $41,181,000 to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority to buy nine fuel-efficient Tier IV EMD locomotives

  • $1,675,000 to the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency’s Pacific Surfliner Transit Transfer Program

While we have much work to do with repairing our roads and highways, these grants will help make public transportation in Southern California more efficient and affordable.

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Wildfire Public Service Announcements

I recently filmed two 30-second public service announcements (PSAs) regarding wildfire prevention - one for San Diego County and one for Orange County. Thank you to our state and local firefighters for their hard work to keep our families and communities safe this wildfire season!

Click on the image below or here to watch the PSA with Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall (3rd from right), Carlsbad Fire Chief Mike Davis (5th from left) and local firefighters.

Wildfire Public Service Announcements

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Back-to-School Safety

National Night Out logo
Click on the image above to watch a short video on school bus safety.

With back-to-school season in full swing, it is important for students to stay safe.

The National Safety Council has provided important tips regarding backpacks, playgrounds and more that you may find useful.

With more young children using the internet and social media, it is also very important to stay safe online. That is why I hosted an online safety seminar with Facebook in March to underscore the importance of protecting against online threats and authored SCR 70 to promote Student Safety Month in June.

You can learn more about online safety tips for you and your child on Facebook’s dedicated webpage and www.StaySafeOnline.org.

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Back-to-School Tax Credits

school supplies stock photo

With another school year soon beginning, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding parents and students that now is a good time to determine if they will qualify for either of two college tax credits or any of several other education-related tax benefits on their 2015 federal income tax returns.

Taxpayers may be able to claim a tax credit on their federal tax return for educational expenses incurred for their children or even for themselves. Here are some key tips from the IRS about tax credits related to educational expenses.

IRS.gov offers an Interactive Tax Assistant tool to enable individual taxpayers to determine if they are eligible to claim education credits. The IRS Education Credits web page provides more detailed information along with IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

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College Financial Aid Deadlines

Photo Credit: www.studentaid.gov
Photo Credit: www.studentaid.gov

Deadlines for college financial aid will come faster than you realize.

Many families and students believe they do not qualify for financial aid. However, that may not be true. Financial assistance is not always based on a family’s income. Myths About Financial Aid answers many questions families have about paying for college and dispels myths about financial qualifications and the application process.

The first step in applying for financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet provides information about the kinds of aid available and how to fill out the online form.

A new financial aid program, the Middle Class Scholarship, offers students whose families earn up to $100,000 per year a scholarship of up to 40 percent off state tuition and fees. The maximum award amount is a percentage of mandatory systemwide tuition and fees for each academic year.

Cal Grants, a state-funded financial aid program, are one option in-state students have to fund their college education. However, Cal Grants are income based. The Cal Grant Award filing deadline is March 2, 2016. For community college Cal Grants, the filing deadline is September 2, 2016.

Special scholarship programs also are available for foster children. Dependents of fallen or disabled police officers may be eligible for scholarships through the California Law Enforcement Association or the John F. Duffy Scholarship/Grant Program, sponsored by the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation. Children of firefighters killed in the line of duty may be eligible for the Daniel A. Terry Scholarship.

Students and their parents are urged to begin the financial aid process as early as possible.

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Senate Fellows Program

2014-15 California Senate Fellows
2014-15 California Senate Fellows

Do you know a college senior or a recent college graduate interested in public service? If so, ask them to consider applying for the California State Senate Fellowship program. The program is among the highest-ranked paid internship programs in the United States.

The program is a one-year, full-time internship that pays $2,627 per month and provides benefits as well as graduate credit from California State University, Sacramento. Applicants must be 20 years of age by the beginning of the fellowship, have completed their undergraduate degree by September of the fellowship year, and be prepared for full-time employment.

Senate Fellows work directly with a state senator or a Senate policy committee, researching and analyzing legislation, responding to constituent concerns, and writing speeches.

In my first year in the Senate, I am fortunate to have Sarah Couch serve as a Senate Fellow in my Capitol office. A Sacramento State alum with a Master’s degree in English Literature, Sarah is part of my Capitol team. Prior to entering the fellows program, she served as President of the California State Student Association, the largest statewide student association in the nation.

For more information about the Senate Fellowship, and similar programs in the State Assembly, executive branch and the judicial branch, please visit the Capital Fellows Program website.

Applications are due February 8, 2016!

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Hunger Action Month

Hunger Action Month banner

September is Hunger Action Month, an annual initiative to raise awareness, understanding and commitment to tackling hunger across the nation. Please join organizations throughout San Diego and Orange counties in this month-long effort to raise awareness about the hunger that occurs in our communities.

In San Diego County, over 435,000 people are “food insecure” while the number in Orange County is approximately 349,000 people. These numbers include those working full-time jobs, students, senior citizens, people with disabilities and even military families.

While more work needs to be done at the state and federal levels to encourage more economic opportunity for all, we can help alleviate hunger by partnering with local food banks and other organizations. Visit California Volunteers, Orange County 211 or San Diego 211 to find opportunities near you to help during Hunger Action Month.

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Senior Summit Recap

Senior Summit speakers

Senior Summit audience
A packed audience listened to the Summit’s speakers (top photo)

I had a great time co-hosting the South County Senior Summit at Laguna Woods Village on July 24 with Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. Working with event partners, we provided resources to more than 1,000 seniors. Thanks to everyone who attended!

Attendees listened to fabulous speakers such as UC Irvine’s Dr. Claudia Kawas speak on aging-related issues. They also had the opportunity to connect with local organizations. The Orange County Register has an article and photo gallery on the summit that you can view here.

Seniors are a huge part of California’s population and the number of people over the age of 65 is estimated to double in the next two decades. As a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, I’m committed to keeping senior issues a priority at the State Capitol.

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Honors for Orange County Hospitals

Logo for Orange County Global Medical Center Logo for Anaheim Global Medical Center

Two Orange County hospitals, Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana and Anaheim Global Medical Center, have been recognized by Heathgrades as top hospitals in the United States for coronary intervention, cardiac surgery and coronary bypass surgery. Using Medicare patient data, Healthgrades independently analyzed over 4,500 hospitals throughout the United States comparing actual performance against predicted performance for specific patient clinical outcomes.

Congratulations to both hospitals on their honors, as it underscores the fact that South Orange County and North San Diego County are home to some of the best medical facilities in the nation.

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Upcoming Events

The events below are just a taste 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.

Oceanside: Beach Cleanup Surfrider San Diego Chapter

Date: Saturday, September 5
Time: 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Location: Oceanside Pier, North Side
About: Join the Surfrider Foundation, San Diego County Chapter, for an Oceanside Pier Beach Cleanup. Meet on the north side of the pier on the beach. Look for the blue Surfrider Foundation tent.

Carlsbad: 3rd Annual La Costa Film Festival

Date: September 10-13
Location: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa (2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad, CA 92009)
About: The film festival showcases work around documentaries, shorts, feature films, and extreme sports.

Rancho Santa Margarita: Patriot Day Remembrance Ceremony

Date: Friday, September 11
Time: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: RSM Civic Center Flagpoles (22112 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688)
About: This ceremony will honor those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on the United States on 9/11, and pay tribute to those who rose to service in response to the tragedy.

Dana Point: 31st Annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival

Date: September 12 and 13
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Ocean Institute, Dana Point Harbor
About: Every year a fleet of historically significant sailing vessels comes to join ships at Dana Point. They come not only to display their beauty and majesty but also to share with the public a maritime history that is part of California’s past.

Cardiff-By-The-Sea: Greek Festival

Date: September 12 and 13
Location: Sts Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church (3459 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff-By-The-Sea, CA 92007)
About: Be Greek for the day and enjoy authentic food, music, live entertainment, dancing, children’s activities and more for the entire family at the Annual Greek Festival held at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church.

Escondido: SDG&E Community Spotlight

Date: Tuesday, September 15
Time: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Location: California Center for the Arts (340 North Escondido Blvd., CA 92025)
About: This is a great opportunity for North County community members to meet and speak with Caroline Winn, Chief Energy Delivery Officer for SDG&E and Chief Customer Privacy Officer. You’ll also hear from other SDG&E experts on projects happening in North County communities and programs that directly benefit North County residents.

San Juan Capistrano: San Juan Summer Nites Concert Series

Date: Wednesday, September 16
Time: 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: Historic Town Center Park (31852 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675)
About: Featuring live music, dancing, free activities for kids in the youth zone, a business expo with information booths and local restaurants.

Encinitas: Classic Car Nights

Date: Thursday, September 17
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: S. Coast Highway 101 from D Street to J Street, Encinitas
About: The streets of Downtown Encinitas will be rockin’ and rollin’ when Encinitas Classic Car Nights arrive.

Aliso Viejo: Trails and Creek Clean-Up

Date: Saturday, September 19
Time: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Aliso Viejo Ranch, 100 Park Avenue
About: Help make Aliso Viejo’s creek and trails more usable and beautiful by removing trash and debris. Please wear appropriate clothes and close-toed shoes or hiking boots. Also, if you have them, please bring gardening or work gloves as well as a hat and sunscreen. Complimentary bottled water and refreshments will be provided for participants.

Mission Viejo: Free Drive-thru Document Shredding

Date: Saturday, September 19
Time: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Mission Viejo High School Parking Lot (25025 Chrisanta, Mission Viejo, CA 92691)
About: Free drive-thru document shredding for Mission Viejo residents and business owners. Participants may bring up to 10 file size boxes of sensitive documents for immediate shredding. All documents must be free of bindings, sheet protectors or binder clips.

Laguna Hills: 19th Annual Inner-Coastal Watershed Cleanup Day

Date: Saturday, September 19
Time: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Community Center & Sports Complex (25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653)
About: Join us for a day to help clean local creeks, watersheds, and trails and preserve the beauty of Laguna Hills. Come with your family and join your neighbors to learn more about regional water quality issues and pick up trash to improve water quality within the watershed.

Vista: Vista Library Centennial Celebration

Date: Saturday, September 26
Time: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Location: Vista Library (700 Eucalyptus Avenue, Vista, CA 92084)
About: Every year a fleet of historically significant sailing vessels comes to join ships at Dana Point. They come not only to display their beauty and majesty but also to share with the public a maritime history that is part of California’s past.

San Clemente: 15th Annual SC Open Skate Contest

Date: Saturday, September 26
Time: 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: Ralph’s Skate Court (247 Ave. La Pata, San Clemente, CA 92672)
About: The contest will take place at the San Clemente Ralphs Skate court located in Richard T. Steed Memorial Park and is open to boys and girls, 7 years old to adult. Registration closes one week prior to the event and must be received by 5:00 p.m., Friday, September 19, 2015 as spaces are limited per age category.

Laguna Niguel: NFL, Punt, Pass & Kick Local Competition

Date: Sunday, September 27
Time: 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Vista Library (24802 Marina Hills Drive, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677)
About: Kids can show off their football skills at the, NFL Punt, Pass & Kick local competition! Top finishers of each age group from the boys and girls division will advance to the sectional competition. Age will be determined as of December 31, 2015.

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

  • Participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony of Laguna Niguel’s upgraded Crown Valley Community Park. Learn more about the park in the Orange County Register.

Senator Bates at Crown Valley Community Park

  • Co-hosted a Craft Brewers’ Roundtable Discussion with Senator Joel Anderson at Escondido’s Stone Brewing with local brewers and state officials.

Image of Roundtable discussion

  • Met with members of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and talked about jobs and transportation.

Image of Senator Bates with the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce

  • Toured the Carlsbad Desalination Project to see how it is to supplying the San Diego region with a reliable source of water while addressing environmental concerns.

Image of Senator Bates at the Carlsbad Desalination Project

Image of Senator Bates at the Carlsbad Desalination Project

  • Spoke at the Richard Henry Dana Bicentennial to celebrate the 200th birthday of Richard Henry Dana, Jr., the author of the classic sea journal “Two Years Before the Mast” and for whom Dana Point is named. Read more about the event in the Dana Point Times.

Image of Senator Bates at the Richard Henry Dana Bicentennial

On my behalf, my office staff also:

  • Participated in an event that recognized the Encinitas Union School District and its Farm Lab for receiving a $10,000 grant from Mars Incorporated. The grant will help teach elementary school students principles on farming, nutrition and sustainability.
  • Attended the Governor’s Drought Task Force Meeting in El Cajon with state and local officials.
  • Participated in various ribbon cuttings of new businesses hosted by the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce.
  • Attended a ribbon cutting hosted by the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce for the one year anniversary of the La Colombiana restaurant.
  • And much more!

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Connect on Social Media

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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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