The Morrell Report: January 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

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To find out more about what I'm working on in Sacramento, or events happening in my district, please visit my website, Facebook or Twitter pages. You can also contact me via e-mail at senator.morrell@senate.ca.gov.

CA Budget: State Predicts Extra Tax Revenue - But Will It Last?

According to the newly-released budget estimates from the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the state’s 2013-14 budget may have $6.4 billion in additional revenue over two fiscal years (2012-13 and 13-14). General Fund spending is also up by $5 billion, mainly because of the Proposition 98 guarantee of funding for Kindergarten through Community College education. These factors all add up to a projected 2014-15 reserve of about $5.6 billion.  However, there are significant reasons to doubt whether the state will ever realize this surplus:

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Intern Spotlight: Tyler Wolfe

 Tyler Wolfe is a political science major at California State University, San Bernardino.  In his second year of college, he plans to attend law school and then become a lobbyist.  He is involved in campus organizations such as the Residential Housing Association and Associated Students Incorporated, which is what ultimately drove him to pursue an internship this year.  He knew it was time to gain experience outside of school, and believed interning at a legislative office would be the best opinion.

He was surprised to see how involved and hands-on everyone is, including the Assemblyman himself.  Coming into the internship Tyler did not expect to see the Assemblyman very often, but now feels as if he has had the chance to know him on a personal level as well.

The amount of experience Tyler has gained since starting his internship has been incredible.  Every day, he feels as if he learns something new that pertains directly to his major and the career path.  He is thankful for being given this opportunity, and I cannot wait to continue his internship for the rest of this quarter. 

Community Hero Spotlight: John Nowa

John Nowa was born in Pasadena at Huntington Hospital as part of the 1st set of triplets born in the hospital.  At 19, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, John was preparing to go on his mission. He hoped to be sent to New Zealand or Australia; however there was a glitch in his paperwork and he ended up being drafted into the Army, 1st Cavalry.  He took it as a sign that he was meant to serve his country and spent most of his two years in the Army.  While in Vietnam, he was hit with shrapnel near his spine; doctors said it was astonishing that he was not paralyzed.  John earned a Purple Heart for his actions in Vietnam.

 After the war, he graduated from Brigham Young University and became a teacher at Arcadia High School, where he taught for 36 years.  He taught a wide range of subjects such as government, history, and child development as well as coaching nearly every sport (softball, track, basketball, volleyball, etc.) except football.

John has been active in the community; he shares his experience in Vietnam with local schools.  John uses pictures and personal stories to bring their studies of Vietnam to life.  He also is active in support groups for Vietnam vets, as well as, attending the reunions for the 1st Cavalry around the country.

He has been married for 42 years and has 3 children.

Thank you to John for sharing his story and serving our great nation.

Community Event: Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future: Honoring our military and those that serve them

 Please save the date for my first annual Patriots of the Past, Present and Future Recognition Ceremony and Dinner.  This event will honor military personnel and those who serve them.  The event will take place March 14, 2014 at Cable Airport in Upland and will feature food, an awards ceremony, and live entertainment.

My aim is to honor veterans, as well as the individuals, non-profits, and businesses that serve them.  I will also be honoring the youth of the next generation who are carrying the torch of patriotism and service for our country.  We are currently accepting nominations for those deserving recognition, so if you know of someone you would like to honor please contact my office at 909-466-9096.

In addition, please mark your calendars to join us March 13th to recognize those who serve others.  For additional information or questions please contact my office at 909-466-9096.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Honoring a Civil Rights Pioneer

On January 20th, America remembered and celebrated the lasting legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His tireless efforts to fight for racial equality and a just society will forever shape our national heritage and civil rights.

 For much of our nation’s past, the stain of racism and segregation permeated throughout communities, depriving too many of the basic rights guaranteed under our Constitution, such as the right to vote without fear of intimidation. Things that we take for granted like staying at a hotel or eating in restaurants were off limits for African-Americans in some parts of the country.

Dr. King dreamed that one day every citizen, regardless of creed or race, would be able to live out the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

His determination and vision of an America where everyone would be judged by the content of their character provided the moral inspiration for the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King never lived to see his dream come true, but his legacy lives on as we strive to teach our youth about his purpose and determination to obtain a better future for them.

Making our nation a better place will not happen overnight, but we can continue to make tremendous strides by teaching our youth that every person has equal rights and opportunities that Dr. King strived so hard to attain for all. The closer we get to this reality, the stronger our nation will be.

Is Your Business being Harassed? Regulatory Relief Hotline

Has your business been the victim of a predatory and overzealous regulatory agency? Are state bureaucrats threatening to shut your doors or levy fines for minor code violations?

If so, I have set up the California Regulatory Watch to offer help.

I have received numerous disturbing reports of businesses being subjected to regulatory abuse. This is particularly damaging in a time of economic recession.

Just the other month a furniture store in northern California reported that a state agency entered their store and confiscated a $1,300 chair for "testing purposes." At the time, the owner was not compensated or even given an adequate explanation for the seizure.

The examples are numerous: a restaurant being forced to pay taxes on "projected" profits it had not yet made; a small business owner fined $100,000 for a minor technical infraction; truckers forced to overhaul their equipment to meet East Coast air standards; and the list goes on...

In many cases, the outcome was a huge victory for the business owner. But there are many other small businesses out there still struggling to stay afloat.

It is my hope that they use my hotline to speak out against the excessive regulatory burdens that have made it so difficult for them to do business and provide job opportunities here in California.

To report regulatory abuse, please call my hotline at (909) 524-1661 or email me at Senator.Morrell@assembly.ca.gov.

By exposing strong-arm tactics of rogue agencies, we can better achieve regulatory relief so that business can once again thrive and create jobs.

Keeping our Families Safe: Rethink state's prison crowding 'solution'

BY: Mike Morrell

 For more than two years now, California’s criminal justice system has operated under the governor’s public safety realignment law. Thousands of felons have shifted from state prisons to overcrowded county jails. With no room to handle the influx, local law enforcement has been forced to release many of these felons before they have finished their sentences.

From the outset, I have joined my Republican colleagues in opposing this dangerously flawed plan, fearing that changes on such a scale would further put our communities at risk. Unfortunately, our fears have come true.

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