Your Legislative Update From Sacramento

Thursday, April 7, 2022
Dear Neighbor,

The legislative session is underway‚ I wanted to reach out with some important updates from the state and local level. 

For the 2022 Legislative Session‚ 2‚020 bills were introduced – 1‚361 in the Assembly and 659 in the Senate. In the Senate‚ each senator is allowed to introduce up to 40 bills per 2-year legislative session; however‚ as you’re well aware‚ not every issue requires a new law. 

For this legislative session‚ my staff and I actively engaged with people throughout the district during the interim recess to listen to their needs and coming up with ways my office could help. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of my offices – we are here to help. 



End of the Year Legislative Update: 2021

Image of the Senate Chamber
Senate Chamber‚ California State Capitol
The Governor signed several meaningful bills this past October (two of which I authored) which I believe will increase public safety and improve quality of life in California – especially in Southern California. These include:
  • SB 434 (Bates): Prohibits an operator of rehabilitation treatment facilities from providing any form of false advertising or marketing services. This bill‚ also known as “Brandon’s Law‚” was named after Brandon Nelson‚ who passed away in 2018 at age 26 in an unlicensed rehab home.
  • SB 248 (Bates): Provides a process for reevaluating and recommitting State Hospital SVP’s who are convicted of felony offenses so they serve the remainder of their state hospital commitments. 
  • SB 303 (Borgeas): Extends from five to seven years the time period for a taxpayer to transfer their base year value of property damaged or destroyed by disaster to a comparable replacement property within the same county if specified conditions are met. I was a co-author of this measure. 
Sea Level Rise (SB 1)

Concerns about erosion have become especially acute in San Diego and Orange Counties. Coastal erosion has wreaked havoc on communities along California’s coastline for years as increasing sections of bluffs are collapsing onto our beaches. In August of 2019‚ a deadly tragedy took place at Encinitas’ Grandview Beach in which an oceanfront bluff suddenly collapsed without warning and killed three members of a family. This tragedy followed similar bluff collapse fatalities in 1995‚ 2000‚ 2002‚ and 2008. Additionally‚ this past September‚ an unexpected shift of ground beneath the railroad tracks in San Clemente temporarily shut down Metrolink passenger service between the Oceanside and Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo stations. We must do more to address this alarming trend along our coasts.

That’s why I supported SB 1 (Atkins) last year to enact the Sea Level Rise Mitigation and Adaptation Act. This bipartisan law directs the California Coastal Commission to take into account sea level rise in its planning‚ policies‚ and activities. Additionally‚ the bill also establishes funding for local governments and communities to plan for and mitigate sea level rise. SB 1 is a step in the right direction and I commend Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins for her work on this issue. 

In addition to supporting SB 1‚ I authored SB 627 to help address coastal erosion. This bill would have required the Coastal Commission to approve a public agency’s or homeowner’s application for erosion mitigation efforts – but only if they meet certain requirements. SB 627 would have helped save lives‚ preserve beach access and essential infrastructure‚ guarantee local control‚ and protect property rights. The commission’s coastal management strategy does not prioritize erosion mitigation. They prefer “managed retreat” which‚ in my opinion‚ is unacceptable as the primary response to erosion issues. SB 627 provides a better alternative to protect our public and private properties and facilities. Unfortunately‚ my bill was rejected by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources even with compelling testimony from residents in the district; however‚ I plan to continue my efforts on this issue this year. 

2022 Senator Bates Legislative Package

Part of Legislative Republican’s ACT on Homelessness Package.
  • SB 1282 Opioid Settlement Funds – Directs the $2 billion settlement with major pharmaceutical distributors of opioids to be spent on homeless individuals experiencing and recovering from addiction.
  • SB 1283 Reform the Mental Health Services Act – Reforms the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) by redirecting existing funds to treat the mentally ill homeless population and provide more flexibility and transparency for local governments who use the funds.
  • SB 1284 Eliminating barriers to Shelter First – Helps local governments plan‚ fund and accelerate Shelter First initiatives to alleviate the homeless crisis sweeping California. These reforms will make it easier for local entities to create interim housing by building on legislation that is working‚ lowering costs and providing a more consistent‚ longer term regulatory and planning framework.
  • SB 904 Education for parole‚ probation and diversion – Broadens and aligns curriculum for controlled substance education for people who are diverted from criminal trials‚ people on probation‚ prisoners and people on parole.
  • SB 1053 GBI enhancement – Will hold drug traffickers accountable for any death or great bodily injury that results from the drugs they illegally sold.
  • SB 1060 Fentanyl weight enhancement – Will combat the trafficking and distribution of highly potent and lethal narcotics in our communities by ensuring that fentanyl‚ like heroin and methamphetamine‚ gets appropriate additional deterrents based on the weight a person possesses for sale or distribution.
Public Safety
  • SB 1333 SVP Reform – Provides critically needed transparency‚ fairness‚ and safety to the release process of releasing sexually violent predators (SVP) into California’s communities.
  • SB 1108 Retail Theft – Will curb the wave of theft in our state by restoring the law as it was before 2014’s Proposition 47. A person with three or more convictions for petty theft‚ grand theft‚ elder financial abuse‚ auto theft‚ burglary‚ carjacking‚ robbery or felony receiving stolen property‚ can be sentenced to up to three years in jail when convicted of theft a fourth time.
  • SB 925 Drug Testing after Fatal Accidents – Will help law enforcement understand and quantify the causes behind fatal car collisions by expanding current law to require drug testing in those cases.
  • SB 1224 South Orange & North San Diego Counties Watershed Grant Program – Creates a grant program to provide vital funding for restoration and conservation efforts to protect‚ restore‚ and enhance habitat for sensitive wildlife populations in watersheds in Southern Orange County and Northern San Diego County.
  • SB 1077 Coastal Native Plant Act – The California Coastal Native Plants Act. Creates a grant program that will encourage the removal of nonnative plants and replacement with‚ or restoration of‚ native plants.
  • SB 1025 Business Tax Credit for Blood Donations – Creates a tax credit for employers that sponsor blood drives to increase blood donations.
  • SB 473 Insulin Cost Sharing – Caps the co-payment that health plans and health insurance plans can charge a diabetic patient for their insulin.
  • SCR 71 TBI Awareness Week – Since many traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed‚ it is crucial to raise awareness about the condition to encourage early screening‚ diagnosis‚ and care for Californians who sustain a traumatic brain injury.
  • SB 1191 Medi-cal: pharmacogenomics testing – Establishes Medi-Cal coverage of pharmacogenomic (PGx) panel testing to reduce adverse drug events‚ improve clinical outcomes‚ reduce healthcare spend‚ and create more equitable access to better medication management.
Social Services
  • SB 1342 Older Adult Care Coordination – Allows each county to create a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) for aging service provider agencies to share information about older adults so they can holistically address their needs‚ develop coordinated case plans to wrap services around them‚ provide support to caregivers‚ and improve service delivery.
Sober Living Homes
  • SB 1165 Update Brandon’s Law to include disclosure on medical treatment – Forbids rehabilitation facility operators from making false or misleading statements about the medical treatments or services they offer.

Response to Vaccine Bills

Below is my response to SB 866 (Weiner) and SB 871 (Pan). My offices have received thousands of calls and emails in opposition to these bills.

SB 866 would allow minors as young as 12 years old to consent to vaccines without parental approval. SB 871 would add the Covid-19 vaccination to the list of immunizations mandated for school enrollment. Additionally‚ SB 871 would repeal the personal belief exemption for the Covid-19 vaccine. 

My office has received thousands of calls and emails from parents expressing their concerns with these bills. As your state senator‚ I want you to know I strongly oppose both SB 866 and SB 871. 

While I encourage everyone to get vaccinated‚ I understand some families may not feel comfortable taking the vaccine. With more than 83 percent of Californians vaccinated‚ it is not necessary to alarm parents of school children with these types of measures.

Furthermore‚ allowing a minor to consent to a vaccine without parental consent is unacceptable. By giving this authority to minors‚ we run the risk of endangering their lives. A minor may not fully be aware of their medical history and any potential risks.

Toll Road Update

The County of Orange‚ the City of San Clemente‚ and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) agreed to a multi-agency cooperative agreement to prevent the SR-241 Toll Road extension through protected open space in both San Mateo State Park and the City of San Clemente. This agreement came after more than two decades of debate over the proposed extension.

This cooperative agreement supports three ongoing traffic relief projects in South Orange County that will address congestion relief needs and minimize impacts on our local communities. These projects include: 
  • Construction of the Los Patrones Parkway Extension as a non-tolled county arterial from its current terminus at Cow Camp Road to Avenida La Pata in San Clemente
  • OCTA’s and Caltrans’ efforts to complete high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane improvements on Interstate 5 between Avenida Pico and the San Diego County Line
  • The Ortega Highway (SR-74) widening in San Juan Capistrano from two lanes to four lanes between Calle Entradero and the city/county border
I am encouraged by the spirit of cooperation that has allowed transportation leaders to come together to address the environmental concerns of residents and local businesses in South Orange County. I am happy to withdraw Senate Bills 760 and 761‚ which were the impetus for regional leaders to come together to author this cooperative agreement. To learn more about the agreement‚ please visit the OCTA website

OC Sheriff’s Award

It was an honor to be presented with the “Sheriff’s Award” by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes at a meeting of the Department’s Division Commanders. The Sheriff’s Award is given at the discretion of the Sheriff to individuals who make significant contributions to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the community. Specifically‚ Sheriff Barnes stated the award was in recognition of my legislative efforts to improve public safety‚ including my work over the years to reduce fentanyl-related deaths.

Sheriff Barnes said‚ “Senator Pat Bates has been a steadfast advocate for policies that keep our community safe. As one example‚ over the last five years the Senator has been my partner in sounding the alarm about fentanyl and the need to enact legislation to hold accountable those trafficking this deadly substance. The Senator’s efforts are worthy of recognition. I am pleased to honor her with the Sheriff’s Award for her continual defense of our public safety mission.”

I give my heartfelt appreciation to Sheriff Barnes for this prestigious award. I thanked him and all the members of the Sheriff’s Department for their ongoing efforts to keep Orange County residents safe. I look forward to working with these outstanding professionals in their ongoing efforts to keep Orange County one of the safest counties in California. To learn more‚ please click here.

Biocom California Elected Official of the Year Award

I was honored to receive the Biocom California Elected Official of the Year Award at the Biocom California Annual Celebration of Life Gala. The gala celebrates the monumental progress of the life science industry in California and recognizes public servants who have demonstrated unwavering support for the life sciences industry. Chris Marsh‚ a member of my district staff‚ accepted the award on my behalf.

36th District Highlights

  • Each month‚ the Vista Chamber of Commerce honors and recognizes outstanding students from local high schools. The core of the Rising Star of the Month is the student who makes a difference in their home‚ school & community with sincerity and passion. I was represented at February’s and March’s Rising Star event by my district field representative‚ Max Wernher. I am proud of each of these students and encourage them to keep up the good work. 
Diego Rios from Guajome Park Academy‚ Rebekah Christoffersen from Major General Raymond Murray High School‚ Julian Bush Torres from Mission Vista High School‚ Takoma Kunz Rosario from Rancho Buena Vista High School‚ Noah Bailey from Trade Tech High School‚ and Matt Draves from Vista High School.
Alyssa Crevoiserat from Guajome Park Academy‚ Ana Cabrera from Alta Vista High School‚ Ji In (Olivia) Song from Mission Vista High School‚ Macey Smith from Rancho Buena Vista High School‚ Charlotte Williams from Tri City Christian School‚ and Abigail Blakesley from Vista High School.
  • I met with Col. Brown from US Army Reserves to discuss the Minuteman Scholarship Program for students looking for funds to pay for college. The Minuteman program is a Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) scholarship. All qualified applicants for ROTC scholarships may apply for consideration for a Minuteman. The scholarship covers full tuition and fees (uncapped) or $10‚000 per year toward room and board at any college or university served by an Army (ROTC) program. Scholarship recipients also receive a yearly book allowance of $1‚200 and a monthly stipend of $420 while attending school enrolled in the ROTC program. For more information‚ please click here
Senator Bates with Col. Brown
  • I sadly adjourned the Senate in the memory of Don Hansen who passed away earlier this year at the age the age of 87. Don spent his life advocating for sustainable fishing practices while encouraging and expanding opportunities for folks to enjoy the ocean either by fishing or seeing blue whales up close. In 2021 he received the Coastal Conservation Association of California’s Anthony Hsieh Conservation Award in recognition of decades of work and dedication to improve California sport fishing and making angling accessible to everyone (pictured below). Don Hansen will be greatly missed but his legacy and the impact he had on Orange County will never be forgotten. 
Senator Bates (mid-right) with Don Hansen (bottom) among others celebrating Don Hansen
  • I joined Avanir Pharmaceuticals to help pack 1‚000 care packages for family caregivers. I also presented them with a Senate Resolution to recognize their commendable efforts. It was a pleasure to take part in this event and learn more about Avanir’s mission.
Senator Bates speaks at the Avanir packaging event for family caregivers
  • I took part in the first ever “Women Who Mean Business Luncheon” in Laguna Niguel. It was an honor to be presented with the “Legacy Award” by the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce and to be recognized alongside three other outstanding women. I will continue to advocate for sensible policies in Sacramento that will foster business growth and encourage more local job creation.
Senator Bates (middle) is presented with the Legacy Award alongside Mayor Pro Tem of Laguna Niguel Elaine Gennawey (far left)‚ honoree Mary Smith (left)‚ honoree Michelle Endo (right)‚ and honoree Joone Kim-Lopez (far right)