Pat's Perspective: September 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

Legislative Update

California State Capitol

The Legislature adjourned the 2017-18 legislative session on August 31st, after considering more than 800 bills in the final week. Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30th to sign or veto the bills that were sent to him.

At the end of this year, the Governor will have acted upon at least 1,217 bills.

In regards to my own legislation, these three key bills have made it to the Governor’s desk:

  • SB 1109 - In partnership with San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, I authored this bill that educates the public, especially those who are involved with youth, by explaining to them the risk of addiction and overdose from prescription opioids.
  • SB 1151 - In partnership with the San Diego Association of Governments, I authored this bill that authorizes San Diego County to establish Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) transportation plans to serve the mobility needs of their communities.
  • SB 1226 - In partnership with the City of Encinitas, I authored this bill that would bring unpermitted accessory dwelling units (“granny flats”) out of the shadows and direct the California Building Standards Commission to adopt a building standard that would clarify the authority for a local building official to permit an existing residential unit based on the date of construction.

To access votes and analyses on bills that are of interest to you, please click here.

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DMV Update

DMV logoNo Californian should spend an entire day off work waiting in line to take care of Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) business or wait for several weeks to make an appointment. What Californians have experienced at field offices in recent months is outrageous and unacceptable.

In an effort to provide some relief to Californians who have to go to a DMV office to conduct routine business, I introduced Senate Bill 76 that would reduce wait times at the DMV and give Californians more time to get the vital documents they need. The measure would allow individuals, with driver’s licenses expiring in 2018 to renew their driver’s license online or by mail, giving them additional time to get an appointment for a “REAL ID” at a later date. Additionally, this bill gives people 90 days to register out-of-state cars and driver’s licenses.

Four days after I introduced my bill, the DMV announced that it was redirecting 240 staff from its Sacramento headquarters to its field offices. It also expanded Saturday service and early office hours. These are steps in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the Assembly Transportation Committee refused to hear my bill, even after I amended it to try to address its concerns. Even worse, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee rejected a request for an audit of DMV’s operations. Three senators chose to not vote, dooming the request. This very disappointing outcome means that the DMV will not be audited.

The DMV says a major factor in the increased wait times is the state implementing REAL IDs. Beginning October 1, 2020, the federal government will require your driver’s license or identification card to be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it as identification to board a domestic flight or enter military bases and most federal facilities. However, REAL ID was approved in 2005. The DMV had 13 years to prepare for this law, and using REAL ID as an excuse for the long wait times can only go so far.

Fixing the DMV is not a partisan issue. The people deserve to know what went wrong at the DMV and what needs to be done to fix it. I will continue to push for timely and lasting solutions.

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San Onofre Update

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

As you may know, Southern California Edison (SCE) confirmed an incident on August 3 involving a canister containing spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

Edison officials said in a statement that “At no point during this incident was there a risk to employee or public safety, and immediate lessons learned have already been integrated in SCE’s processes.”

The continued storage of SONGS’ waste at San Onofre poses an ongoing danger to our region as I learned through my service on the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel when I was an Orange County Supervisor. I strongly believe that such waste must be placed in safe and secure locations that are as far from communities as possible.

I will continue to urge federal representatives from both political parties to focus more intensive efforts to approve a solution regarding SONGS’ waste.

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Homelessness Update

Responding to the homeless crisis in Orange County, the CalOptima Board of Directors authorized a one-time $10 million grant to the Orange County Health Care Agency to expand access to recuperative care for homeless CalOptima members.

Recuperative care settings offer a safe place for homeless members to recover after being discharged from a hospital or other facility, and studies show that recuperative care promotes quality health care and helps prevent costly rehospitalizations.

The funding will be administered through the county’s Whole-Person Care Pilot, a program focused on coordinating care and improving outcomes for vulnerable Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The pilot program served 445 homeless individuals last year, and this funding will help meet the projected needs of approximately 2,400 individuals over the next three years.

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Consumer Protection

Identity theft, investment fraud, and scams rob millions of Americans of their hard-earned money every year. But we can help protect ourselves and our families from fraud. Here is a list of websites you may find helpful:

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Upcoming Events

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.

Aliso Viejo: Trails & Creek Clean-up Event

Date: Saturday, September 15
Time: 8 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Location: Aliso Viejo Ranch (100 Park Avenue, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656)
About: Complimentary refreshments will be provided for volunteers who should come wearing sunscreen along with appropriate clothes and closed-toed shoes or hiking boots. Bring gardening or work gloves if you have them.

Mission Viejo: Inner-Coastal Clean-Up Day

Date: Saturday, September 15
Time: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Registration will be located at the Oso Creek Trailhead in the lower Potocki Center parking lot (27301 La Paz Road, Mission Viejo, CA 92692)
About: The City of Mission Viejo is looking for volunteers to collect litter and debris along Oso Creek Trail. Trash bags and disposable gloves will be provided. Snacks and water will be available for volunteers, but please bring a reusable water bottle.

Oceanside Harbor Days

Date: Saturday, September 15
Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: Oceanside Harbor (beach side)
About: The event will feature arts and craft exhibits, great food and fun activities for the entire family.

Vista: Buena Creek Clean Up

Date: Saturday, September 15
Time: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: 650 Sycamore Ave., Vista, CA 92083
About: Join the City of Vista on Coastal Cleanup Day. Each participant has to sign a waiver; anyone under 18 years needs a guardian signature to participate.

Laguna Niguel: Senior Expo

Date: Friday, September 21
Time: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: 24602 Aliso Creek Road, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
About: Health screenings, 30+ vendors, and free food while supplies last.

Carlsbad: Artwalk Carlsbad

Date: September 22 and 23
Time: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Saturday) and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Location: 5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
About: This fine art festival is part of the ArtWalk San Diego brand known for bringing together all facets of the arts in San Diego while promoting the experience of owning original art.

Dana Point: Ocean Institute: Battle of the Bands

Date: Saturday, September 29
Time: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Location: Ocean Institute (24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629)
About: The Battle of the Bands is a concert to help enable students to participate in the Ocean Institute’s marine science, maritime history, and outdoor education programs.

Encinitas Oktoberfest

Date: Sunday, September 30
Time: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Location: Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real. Free parking is available at Flora Vista Elementary School (1690 Wandering Road) with free shuttle service from the parking lot to the Oktoberfest site.
About: The event entertainment features authentic German music, the Gemütlichkeit Alpine Dancers, carnival rides, a street craft faire featuring 200 vendors and more.

San Clemente: Sea Fest

Date: Sunday, October 7
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: 7 Pier (622 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente, CA 92672)
About: The Seafest is famous for its Chowder Cook-Off Competition held on the historic San Clemente Pier. Other activities include: a surf competition (beginning at 6am), business expo, arts and craft exhibit, contests & crafts for children, and entertainment.

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36th District Highlights

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

  • Hosted the “Age Well, Drive Smart” driver safety course taught by the California Highway Patrol in North San Diego County. More than 600 residents attended.

Sen. Bates with CHP officers

  • Presented a legislative resolution signed by me and Assemblyman Bill Brough to the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group in celebration of its 10th anniversary of service.

Sen. Bates presenting a resolution

  • Hosted the Veterans Resource Fair in Oceanside. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve those who served our nation.

Sen. Bates at the Veterans Resource Fair

  • Joined Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (right) to officially recognize the 2018-19 Senate Fellows for their hard work over the past year.

Sen. Bates with Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Senate Fellows

  • Delivered a legislative update to the Orange County REALTORS in Laguna Hills.

Sen. Bates with Orange County REALTORS

  • And more!

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