Morrell Monthly: April 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

We’re here to help

Our office is here to serve you. If you’re having difficulties with a state agency, need a question answered about pending legislation, or want to know more about upcoming events, please give us a call at (909) 919-7731. You can also email me at

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Mobile Office Hours

Members of my staff hold regular monthly office hours across the 23rd Senate District. If you have an issue or concern that you would like to share in person but can’t make it to our main office, please plan to stop by. You can view the entire schedule here.

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Message from Mike

Dear Friends,

Can you believe it’s already April? It seems like the year just started. Now we’re preparing for the warm summer months ahead.

As I shared in my previous email, this month was full of committee hearings in Sacramento. Up for consideration in the Senate are nearly 800 bills that have until the end of summer to make their way to the Governor’s desk.

A few of my bills have also made it through the process so far. Here are some updates:

  • Senate Bill 318 - Passed out of the Senate Education Committee by unanimous vote. It will create a pilot program to help students and teachers adapt to the new online testing assessments.
  • Senate Bill 418 - Passed out of the Senate Education Committee by unanimous vote. It will help active duty California State University students finish their college degrees. Read more about it here.
  • Senate Bill 728 - Passed out of the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee. It will require the Public Utilities Commission to evaluate the economic impact on California families of any decision to increase renewable energy mandates, which are already some of the highest in the nation. Read more about it here.

When not at the Capitol, I’ve appreciated opportunities to make my way around the 23rd district and enjoyed being able to meet many of you at outdoor events. I’m looking forward to more in the near future!

As always, it is a privilege to represent you in the State Legislature. I’ll keep you posted.


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Photo of Senator Morrell presenting a Resolution to Hardy Brown
Military Family Pancake Breakfast. This month, my staff and I, along with volunteers from Valley Wide Recreation, hosted a pancake breakfast at Discovery Park in Menifee to thank veterans, active duty personnel, and their families for their service to our country. It was a great morning for pancakes in the park!

Senator Morrell's staff
Meet the Staff. After the breakfast, my staff and I took a quick photo. Back (from left to right): Field Representative (and Banning Mayor Pro Tem) Art Welch, Field Representative David Matza, District Director Nick Calero, Field Representative Shane Massoud. Front (from left to right): Field Representative Raquel Torres, Field Representative Melissa Boyd, and myself.

Image of Ramona Pageant
Ramona Pageant. This year marks the 92nd season of the California’s official outdoor play Ramona in Hemet. I joined other community leaders - including (from left to right) Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley), Hemet Mayor Pro Tem Bonnie Wright, and Hemet Mayor Linda Krupa - in kicking things off and recognizing the work of the organizers. Also pictured is Linda Grelich from Golden Era in costume.

Photo of Supervisor Ramos in Sacramento.
Supervisor Ramos in Sacramento. San Bernardino County Supervisor (and current Board Chair) James Ramos (center) visited the Capitol to discuss the county’s priorities for the year. Always nice to see a familiar face in Sacramento!

Photo of groundbreaking of Yucaipa BMX Sports Complex
Walk for Kids. Field Representative David Matza represented our office at the 2015 Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House Walk for Kids. It’s a great community event to raise awareness of the services and programs they provide families in our region - congratulations to this year’s organizers! For more information, you can visit

Photos of start off the season with Yucaipa National and American Little League.
Play Ball! March 28th was a perfect day for baseball in Yucaipa! I was honored to help start off the season with Yucaipa National and American Little League. Great to see so many families come out and support America’s pastime.

Photo of Senator Morrell thanking volunteers
Thanking Volunteers. I attended the annual awards ceremony put on by the Rancho Cucamonga Service Council honoring community volunteers. I also enjoyed performances by students from Chaffey High School. Congratulations to all the award recipients including (on the left side from top to bottom) Phillip Andrews, Augustina Gonzalez, and Kristin Ledesma. Thank you for your service!

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Op-Ed: Drought legislation is ‘emergency’ expansion of government power

At the end of March, the legislature passed and the governor signed into law legislation that its supporters argued was necessary to address the challenges posed to our state by this historic drought. In this op-ed, I share my thoughts about the legislation and how it is an example of the majority party using an emergency situation to further increase the power and reach of government. To read more, click here.

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Fire Tax Town Hall Re-Cap

Photo of Senator Morrell and Assemblyman Jay Obernolte

At the beginning of the month, Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) and I hosted a joint town hall on the fire tax in Lake Arrowhead. I want to thank the Assemblyman for doing an excellent job in clearly communicating the problem with the fire tax and where the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association lawsuit is headed. Those that were able to attend asked a lot of questions about the status of pending legislation, including Democrats’ decision to kill my measure, SB 198, which would have repealed it. To read more about the event in the Mountain News, you can click here.

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COMING UP: Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future

Image of Patriotsof the Past, Present, and Future Flyer

On Friday, May 15, 2015, I will be hosting the second annual Patriots of the Past, Present and Future Recognition Ceremony and Dinner at Cable Airport in Upland from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. We will honor veterans, active duty military personnel, reservists, members of the National Guard, and the businesses and organizations that have supported them. This event will also be an opportunity to discuss public policy issues affecting veterans, including SB 418.

RSVPs are required. For more information, call (909) 919-7731.

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Women of Distinction 2015 - Nominations Needed!

Each year, the legislature honors remarkable women for their contributions to our state and region. Celebrations include weekly recognitions of women’s accomplishments in both houses and the passage of a resolution commemorating Women’s History Month (this year’s is Senate Resolution 13).

The local event I host is called the Women of Distinction and this year it will be held on Friday, June 19, at the historic Edwards Mansion in Redlands. Our office is currently accepting nominations for potential honorees. We are looking for names of amazing women who you feel have made a difference through their service and dedication to our community and region.

Nominations are due by May 8. A form can be downloaded here.

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Fire Tax Town Hall - Big Bear

On Saturday, May 16, Assemblyman Jay Obernolte and I will be hosting another town hall to share news and updates about the fire tax. Hope to see you there!

WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2015 • 9 - 10 am
WHERE: Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency • 121 Palomino Drive in Big Bear City
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the District Office at (909) 919-7731 or visit

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President Lincoln - Remembered in Redlands

Photo of Lincoln's Coffin

This month marked the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln after the conclusion of the Civil War. His death was a significant event in American history that had a lasting impact in the years and decades that followed. He is rightly revered as one of our nation’s most important and heroic leaders, holding the United States together during one of its darkest hours.

In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln reminded those in attendance of the gravity of the Civil War and the enormity of the soldiers’ sacrifices saying, “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

To mark this occasion, the Lincoln Shrine Memorial at the A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands has on display a replica of his casket until May 21 (pictured above). The museum is the only museum dedicated solely to Lincoln and the Civil War west of the Mississippi River.

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INTERN PROFILE: Katie Lagomarsino

Image of Intern Katie Lagomarsino Each fall and spring, legislative offices in the Capitol are eligible to host student interns through California State University Sacramento’s Sacramento Semester Program. It places CSU students into political offices around the State Capitol and provides many opportunities to meet and learn from key political figures.

This January, Katie Lagomarsino joined our team and has been helping the office staff with many different aspects of the legislative process. She says the experience has been a great one for her; she particularly enjoys the fast pace of the Capitol and the variety of events that she can attend. When the internship first began, she said it was a pleasant surprise to see how kind and helpful the Capitol community is towards interns, since so many others began in the same position.

Born and raised in Sacramento, Katie will be graduating with honors from CSU Sacramento this May. Upon graduation, she hopes to make a meaningful impact on others throughout her career, whether it is in the public, private or nonprofit sector. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, line dancing, and exploring the city.

We know she’s going to do awesome after college. Thanks for all your hard work, Katie!

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Tax Freedom Day 2015

Image of a map of the U.S.A with statistics

On May 3, working Californians can start earning money for themselves instead of giving it to the government. Known as Tax Freedom Day, taxpayers will have worked 123 days this year earning just enough to pay off their federal, state and local taxes.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation calculates Tax Freedom Day each year for the nation and each state. According to the Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is a “calendar-based illustration of government’s cost, and it gives Americans an easy way to gauge the overall tax take.”

It assumes that the nation starts working on January 1, earning the same amount each day and spending nothing other than paying taxes. Tax Freedom Day “arrives” when citizens have earned enough to pay all of their taxes.

Just two years ago, California’s Tax Freedom Day arrived almost two weeks earlier on April 20. It is a further indication of how fast government has grown and continues to increase in size.

Californians also pay more taxes than the average American, given that our state Tax Freedom Day comes nine days later than the national day of April 24.

It is amazing to think that some people in Sacramento still believe that California’s taxes are too low. Californians should not have to work harder for a government that always asks for more. That is why I will continue to defend taxpayers and vote against measures that hike taxes even higher.

For information on Tax Freedom Day, you can visit

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