Pat's Perspective

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

The past several weeks have been especially busy in Sacramento, as the Legislature voted on several state budget bills and hundreds of other legislation.

Most of these bills do not get much public attention, but I take seriously my responsibility to review each bill and weigh the pros and cons. You can weigh in on bills important to you by contacting me at this link.

I hope you had a happy and healthy Independence Day weekend. While our nation has not always lived up to its ideals, those ideals are worth fighting for every day. That it is why I am committed to ensuring that all Americans have equal opportunities to pursue their American Dream.

If you plan to take a vacation this summer, consider taking a vacation in the Golden State to help our small businesses recover. For vacation ideas, visit California’s official tourism website at www.visitcalifornia.com.

Finally, even though most of California’s COVID-19 restrictions on activities and businesses ended last month, we must continue to take common sense precautions to keep everyone healthy. For the latest COVID-19 information in California, visit www.covid19.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Pat


Gas Tax Increases Yet Again

As you may already know if you visited the gas pump, another gas tax increase went into effect on July 1 – despite California supposedly having the biggest budget surplus in its history.

I believe Californians deserve a break from rising prices – as the cost of gas is a major factor in the cost of many goods. My Senate Republican colleagues and I have urged the Governor and legislative leaders to enact a one-year gas tax “holiday.” Our proposal would fund infrastructure projects from the state’s budget surplus during the holiday. Click here to read our proposal.

We introduced the proposal during a July 1 Senate floor session, but it was shot down immediately on a partisan vote. Californians deserve better than a never-ending increase in the gas tax.

 

Graphic of gas tax


Rent Relief Extended

The Legislature has approved legislation to extend the state’s eviction moratorium through September 30, 2021.

Under Assembly Bill 832, tenants who have completed a declaration of COVID-19 hardship will receive three more months to pay 25% of the rent owed during the pandemic.

To address reports of potential fraud, I proposed amendments to AB 832 that the eviction protections be extended only to those who could document financial hardship from the pandemic by showing they have applied for unemployment benefits. However, the Senate rejected the amendments on a partisan vote.

Click here for the latest information on COVID-19 relief for renters and landlords.


EDD Update

Californians continue to encounter unacceptable wait times to have their unemployment insurance claims resolved by the Employment Development Department (EDD). I have and will continue to press the Governor and his Administration to fix the EDD.

In the meantime, I am pleased to report the bills that I have either co-authored or supported continue to move through the legislative process:

  • Senate Bill 58 (Wilk) would require the EDD to stop including full Social Security numbers on its correspondence. I am a co-author of this measure.
  • Senate Bill 39 (Grove) would require the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to cross-reference prisoner records with the EDD to combat fraudulent unemployment claims. I am a co-author of this measure.
  • Senate Bill 232 (Nielsen) would codify a number of audit recommendations to modernize the EDD.

Wildfire Update

An investigation by the National Public Radio’s (NPR) California Newsroom and CapRadio found Governor Newsom “misrepresented his accomplishments and even disinvested in wildfire prevention.” Click here to read the NPR article.

NRR’s investigation has raised deeply troubling issues that should concern all Californians as we go through another wildfire season. That is why I support the effort of my colleague, Senator Jim Nielsen, to call for a Senate oversight hearing to review the progress of wildfire fuel reduction activities in California. Click here to read Senator Nielsen’s letter requesting a hearing. Californians deserve the truth and a vigorous state effort to prevent wildfires.

You can do your part to help prepare for wildfires by following a few simple steps. Click here to learn more.


DMV REAL ID

Eligible Californians who received driver’s licenses or ID cards during the COVID-19 pandemic but did not get a REAL ID can upgrade now for no additional cost. Click here to learn more.


Non-Profit of the Year

I am proud to name Orange County’s Family Assistance Ministries (FAM) as the 2021 Nonprofit of the Year for the 36th Senate District.

Established in 1999, FAM is a faith-based non-profit organization assisting those in need with resources for food, shelter, and personalized supportive counsel and aid, helping clients bridge the gap from dependency to self-sufficiency. FAM is based in San Clemente and has satellite centers in San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Niguel, and Dana Point. Click here to learn more.


36th District Highlights

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

  • Celebrated Independence Day in Laguna Niguel. From left to right, I am with Congresswoman Michelle Steel, Assemblywoman Laurie Davies, and Laguna Niguel Mayor Pro Tem Elaine Gennawey.

Image of Senator Bates with Congresswoman Michelle Steel, Assemblywoman Laurie Davies, and Laguna Niguel Mayor Pro Tem Elaine Gennawey

  • Discussed the gas tax “holiday” proposal with San Diego’s KUSI-TV. Click here to watch the interview.

Screenshot of KUSI interview of Sen. Bates

  • Shared my experience as a legislator to this year’s class of Senate Fellows. Anyone who will be at least 20 years of age and a graduate of a four-year college or university is eligible to apply to become a fellow. Click here to learn more.

Screenshot of virtual meeting of Sen. Bates and Fellows

  • Discussed bipartisanship, legislation, and more during a one-on-one interview with Jarhett Blonien, the host of the “SacTown Talks” podcast. Click here to watch or listen to the interview.
  • Announced housing planning grants for the County of San Diego and City of Carlsbad. Click here to learn more.