Pat's Perspective

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A Message from Pat

Dear Neighbor,

The recent domestic terrorist shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, are heart wrenching and underscore the need to combat extremism in all its forms. Offering thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families is appropriate – but we must do more to prevent future shootings and save lives.

While finding common ground on solutions can be difficult, I hope we can at least agree that removing guns from high-risk individuals with criminal histories and mental health challenges should be a top priority. I wrote about this in an op-ed last March as California already has a powerful bipartisan law at its disposal to reduce gun violence. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that this law is vigorously enforced by our state Department of Justice.

In other news, our community mourns the victims of the tragic Encinitas bluff collapse on August 2. The actions of our first responders and others who came to help deserve our thanks. My office is looking into the incident to see what the state can do to prevent future tragedies and save lives.

Stay tuned for legislative developments in Sacramento over the next few weeks. As always, please feel free to contact one of my offices if my staff and I can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Pat

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Education Update

image of chalkboard and books

With students heading back to school, here is a brief update on issues related to public K-12 education in California:

State Budget

The 2019-20 state budget will provide an all-time high for per-pupil funding with more than $12,000 dedicated to each student. The budget also provides $148.4 million to help address the teacher shortage, and nearly $500 million for facilities improvements, professional development, and data systems.

Charter Schools Under Attack

Unfortunately, the Legislature is still considering several bills that would harm public charter schools. For example, AB 1505, AB 1507, and SB 756 would create an effective moratorium on charter schools and allow school districts to close successful schools. Charter schools give parents more choices in education and I will oppose efforts that would limit their choices.

Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

People have expressed concern about a draft “2020 Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” that is highly ideological and deeply biased. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board calls the curriculum “jargon-filled and all-too-PC” and the San Diego Union-Tribune’s editorial board calls it “political activism.”

I share these concerns as I opposed legislation in 2016 that led to the draft curriculum. Those concerned about this issue can submit a public comment to the State Board of Education by August 15 at ethnicstudies@cde.ca.gov. After the comment period closes, the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), which is an advisory body to the State Board of Education, will review all comments and make adjustments to the draft curriculum. More information about the public comment period can be found here.

Sex Education

Many parents have expressed concern about their children participating in sexual education classes where highly controversial content is taught.

That is why I co-authored SB 673 that would require school districts to make any approved curriculum on sexual health and HIV prevention for students in transitional kindergarten to 6th grade available on their websites. This would allow parents adequate opportunity to review the material.

SB 673 would also restore a school district’s discretion to implement an “opt-in” process for parents regarding sex education. SB 673 will be considered in the Senate next year.

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Legislative Update

The decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
California State Capitol

The Legislature reconvened on August 12th to consider hundreds of bills before September 13th, the last day for both the Senate and Assembly to approve regular session bills this year.

One bill that is no longer awaiting consideration is AB 127, which I co-authored that will allow the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to conduct realistic research on driving under the influence of cannabis in order to develop more accurate sobriety tests. The Governor signed it into law on July 10th.

I currently have five bills and one resolution in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. For the latest updates on my legislation, please click here.

Clean Tap Water for All Californians

Besides passing California’s annual budget, the Legislature approved SB 200 (which I supported) to provide clean tap water to Californians who do not have it ― without raising taxes.

The Governor originally wanted to impose a new water tax on Californians to pay for the law despite claiming a $22 billion budget surplus. But after my Senate colleagues and I held firm, the Governor relented and signed the bill that will use existing tax dollars to pay for water upgrades. It is a rare victory for taxpayers who are accustomed to seeing more taxes and fees tacked onto their bills each year.

Wildfire Recovery and Preparedness

The Legislature and Governor also approved AB 1054 that will help California prevent and respond to wildfires.

Under the new law, electrical utilities will be required to invest $5 billion to prevent future fires. A new wildfire fund will include $10.5 billion from utility shareholders and $10.5 billion for the extension of an existing surcharge on electric bills. The law will help compensate fire victims, reduce the severity of future wildfires, keep the lights on, and stave off massive rate increases that would have resulted if credit rating agencies downgraded the utilities.

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DMV Update

Graphic of DMV logo

Double Voter Registrations and Other Irregularities

On August 9th, the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets reported the release of an audit finding that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) produced almost 84,000 duplicate voter registrations and an even higher number of erroneous party registrations due to the state’s automatic “motor voter” program. Click here to read my response.

In the same article regarding registration irregularities, the Los Angeles Times highlighted my legislation (Senate Bill 57) that would return DMV voter registration to an opt-in system. An opt-in system would help prevent these errors from occurring again.

New Leadership

On July 23rd, the Governor announced new leadership at the DMV and the release of the “DMV Strike Team” report. The Governor’s actions are steps in the right direction to help fix the DMV, but much more needs to be done to gain the confidence of Californians. Click here to learn more.

Self-Service Terminals

For North San Diego County residents, the DMV has installed a new self-service terminal at Vons in Oceanside (845 College Blvd., 92057). The terminal allows you to conduct many DMV transactions without waiting in line. Many terminals are now up and running throughout the state. Click here to find a terminal near you.

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Data Breach Settlement

laptop computer showing unspecified data.

Equifax has agreed to pay $700 million to settle federal and state investigations into how it handled a 2017 massive data breach that affected nearly 150 million people.

Consumers who had their private information compromised may be able to claim up to $20,000 for their trouble. For more information, visit www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com or call 1.833.759.2982.

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Earthquake Preparedness

earthquake seismometer

The recent earthquakes in Ridgecrest underscore the risk of living in a region that is susceptible to them.

Do you know how to prepare for and survive a major earthquake? Click on the links below for more information.

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Small Business of the Year

Sen. Bates presents a resolution honoring PJ Graphics as Small Business of the Year to owners Tom Hartley (2nd from left), Helen Hartley (right) and daughter Debbie Hartley (left) inside the Senate Chamber

It was a pleasure to honor Oceanside’s PJ Graphics as the 2019 Small Business of the Year for the 36th Senate District. The recognition was part of the Legislature’s celebration of California Small Business Day in Sacramento.

PJ Graphics provides printing, engraving, and wide format print and silk screening services to its customers. Owners Tom (a Vietnam War veteran) and Helen Hartley have owned the business for four decades and are active in their community. Click here to learn more.

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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.

Laguna Niguel: 30th Anniversary Carnival

Date: August 16 to 18
Time: Varies each day, click on link below for specific times.
Location: 23084 El Lazo, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
About: Games, rides, music, food, and fun.
More Information: Click here.

Vista: Save Your Scraps Workshop

Date: August 24
Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Alta Vista Botanical Gardens (1270 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista, CA 92084)
About: Learn how to love your leftovers, cultivate compost, and fight food waste at the workshop. Activities include vermicomposting bins (while supplies last) and kids’ crafts. The workshop is FREE and open to Vista residents (proof of residency is required.)
More Information: Click here.

Rancho Santa Margarita: Patriot Day Ceremony

Date: September 11
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Location: Civic Plaza (22112 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688)
About: Join the City of Rancho Santa Margarita, local Scouts, and the adopted USMC unit 2nd Battalion 5th Marines as we pay tribute to those that lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and observe the National Day of Service and Remembrance. Please bring a lawn chair for personal comfort.
More Information: Click here.

Aliso Viejo: Trails and Creek Clean-up

Date: September 21
Time: 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Location: Aliso Viejo Ranch (100 Park Avenue, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656)
About: Free refreshments are provided for volunteers who should wear appropriate attire and closed-toed shoes or hiking boots. Bring gardening or work gloves if you have them.
More Information: Click here.

Oceanside Harbor Days

Date: September 21 and 22
Time: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: Oceanside Harbor (Beach Side)
About: Two event filled days of sun, sand, and surf. Free to the public.
More Information: Click here.

Long Beach: Walk to End Distracted Driving

Date: October 5
Time: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Marina Green (386 East Shoreline Drive, Long Beach, CA 90803)
About: The Automobile Club of Southern California is hosting a community walk to end distracted driving and raise awareness of the risks and dangers related to cellphone use behind the wheel.
More Information: Click here.

Oceanside Senior Expo

Date: October 10
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Civic Center Plaza (300 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054)
About: This free event will feature over 60 health-related businesses, non-profits and senior organizations.
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 Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce.

Senator Bates pictued with city officials and American Legion membersSenator Bates speaks to American Legion members

  • Presented a legislative resolution to Laguna Niguel Councilmember Elaine Gennawey recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Laguna Niguel Woman’s Club. The club is a philanthropic organization involved with several community initiatives, such as promoting environmental conservation and awarding scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

Senator Bates pictured with Laguna Niguel Councilmember Elaine Gennawey

  • Participated in the proceedings of the Senate Rules Committee. The committee reviews the Governor’s appointments to state boards and commissions and handles other matters relating to the business of the Senate.

    From left to right: Sen. Richard Roth, Sen. Scott Wilk (vice chair), Senate President pro Tem Toni G. Atkins (chair), me, and Sen. Bill Monning.

From left to right: Sen. Richard Roth, Sen. Scott Wilk (vice chair), Senate President pro Tem Toni G. Atkins (chair), me, and Sen. Bill Monning.

  • Sent congratulations to San Clemente’s Bernice Ayer Middle School (left) and Mission Viejo’s Carl Hankey K-8 Academy (right) on being recognized as California Distinguished Schools by the CA Department of Education! My office presented each school a Senate certificate honoring their achievements.

San Clemente's Bernice Ayer Middle School staff and Mission Viejo's Carl Hankey K-8 Academy staff

  • And more!

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