Morrell Monthly: February 2019

Thursday, February 28, 2019



Dear Friend,

I hope you had a wonderful start to 2019. With a new legislative session underway, things have begun to pick up quickly at the State Capitol.

At the beginning of January, the new governor was sworn into office. Soon thereafter, he put forward his state budget proposal for the 2019-20 fiscal year, setting off negotiations for the next five months. You can read more about the budget and my thoughts on it below.

Following up on his inaugural remarks, the governor also delivered his first State of the State Address. To read my response, you can click here.

Additionally, February 22 marked the deadline to introduce legislation for the year. You can read on in the newsletter to learn about bills I will be working on.

It is an honor to represent you in the State Senate. I’ll keep you posted.



Governor Proposes Record-Setting Budget

In early January, soon after taking office, Governor Newsom introduced his draft state budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Considering total state funds, it sets a record for proposed spending at $209 billion.

State and local debt is still pegged to be at least $1.5 trillion and unfunded public pension liabilities at more than $180 billion.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office also urges caution, warning that if state spending ramps up, even a moderate recession would devastate any reserves.

For more of my take on the initial state budget, you can click here.

For full highlights and analysis of the budget, click here. The budget is also available at

New Committee Assignments

Heading into the 2019/20 legislative session, I have received new committee assignments. To learn more about the committees on which I’ll be serving, you can click the links in the list below:

Legislative Highlights

February 22 was the final legislative deadline to introduce bills for consideration this year.

To see the entire universe of legislation, you can visit the Legislative Information website at

Among the bills I’m working on:

  • SB 341 - Pension Reform. Taking steps to reduce debt for future generations while ensuring that promises are kept to employees.
  • SB 384 - Alleviating California’s housing crisis. The bill takes a serious look at local development fees, ways to increase tax credits to help first-time homebuyers, and streamlining environmental regulations on housing construction, similar to what’s been done for sports arenas.
  • SB 562 - Tax Relief for Disabled Veterans. This bill would increase property tax exemptions for disabled veterans, in order to keep up with the rising cost of housing in California.
  • SB 709 - The Sexual Abuse Free Education Act (SAFE Act). This bill is a reintroduction of last year’s SB 1456 which would have taken needed steps to standardize screening and hiring practices in schools to ensure that predators with a history of child sex abuse cannot game the system, jumping from job to job without consequences or accountability for their actions.


8th Annual Unforgettable Hearts Awards - Redlands

Each year, local nonprofit The Unforgettables Foundation honors some of the “Biggest Hearts of the Inland Empire” at the annual Unforgettable Hearts Awards.

I’ve had the privilege of partnering with organization founder Tim Evans on this event. We are grateful for the work of so many individuals and charities in our region dedicated to serving others.

To learn more about The Unforgettables Foundation, you can click here.

Highlights from the Unforgettable Hearts Awards

Chamber Installation & Community Awards - Yucaipa

Peace Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year

I had the honor of being keynote speaker at the Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce’s annual Installation of Officers and Community Awards Banquet.

Thank you to the past officers for their service and to those who are incoming! And congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!

Among the individuals recognized were Peace Officer of the Year Chris Coillot (in photo, far left) and Firefighter of the Year AJ Ponce (in photo, far right).

Dorothy Inghram Learning Center Grand Opening - San Bernardino

Joshua Monzon congratulates dignitaries at opening of Dorothy Ingraham Learning Center Local leaders celebrate the opening of the Dorothy Ingraham Learning Center

In early February, San Bernardino marked the grand opening of the Dorothy Inghram Learning Center, home to the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Regional Occupational Program, which prepares high school students and adults to be career-ready.

Field Representative Joshua Monzon joined with Superintendent Ted Alejandre, Board of Education President Hardy Brown II, and other local leaders to celebrate the occasion.

The center is named for the county’s first African-American teacher and the state’s first African-American district superintendent, making the center’s opening during Black History Month especially poignant. Read more in the San Bernardino Sun here.


CHP Senior Safety Driving Courses

Over the next couple of months, I will be partnering with the California Highway Patrol and other local leaders to host free “Age Well, Drive Smart” senior driver safety courses throughout our area.

Photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some insurance companies offer discounted premiums with a certificate of course completion. Prospective participants are encouraged to check with their insurance provider to confirm this program meets its criteria for a policy discount.

Course content presented by the CHP includes classroom instruction and refreshers on driving safety, basic road courtesy, the impact visual or hearing impairments have on driving ability, and tips on avoiding or offsetting hazardous road conditions.

The 2-hour course is designed primarily for drivers age 65 and older. If you or someone you know would benefit from this free course, please click one of the following links below to register. Seating is limited and RSVP is recommended.


Senator Morrell speaks with student leaders from Inland Leaders Charter School

Inland Leaders Charter School student council group photo on Senate Floor

Inland Leaders Charter School. 7th and 8th grade student council leaders from Yucaipa’s Inland Leaders Charter School made their annual trip to Sacramento in January. We had a great discussion on the floor of the Senate! Thanks to teacher Jacqui Reseigh (far left) for leading this visit!

You can learn more about their trip on their Instagram account here.

Sen. Morrell on stage with CHP Officer Ivan Sandoval CHP Officer Ivan Sandoval presents to the audience

Inland Leaders Charter School student council group photo on Senate Floor

San Bernardino CHP Seminar. Thank you to Elks Lodge #836 (bottom photo), CHP San Bernardino Public Information Officer Ivan Sandoval for conducting the workshop (top photos), and San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia’s office for their partnership on our recent “Age Well, Drive Smart” workshop!

Representatives from the School2Home program on the senate floor with Sen. Morrell

School2Home Program. Representatives from San Bernardino City Unified School District came to the Capitol to discuss the School2Home program.

Senator Morrell with representatives from Redlands Community Hospital

Redlands Community Hospital. Glad to have a chance to meet with Cherie Towers, Wendy Brady-Posjena, and Julie Ellis or Redlands Community Hospital during their visit to Sacramento!

Morrell staff meet with representatives from the UC Student Association

UC Riverside Students at Capitol. UCR students representing the University of California Students Association met with our office to discuss their organization’s priorities for the year ahead.


Local Emergency Links

As a reminder, especially during these winter months, there are a number of local and state resources available during emergency situations or weather events:

Road conditions:


Lincoln: Letter to Sen. Lyman Trumbull

An iconic photograph of a bearded Abraham Lincoln showing his head and shoulders. (Wikipedia)

On February 12, we observed the 210th birthday of our country’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

In considering the wisdom and guidance of our past leaders, we can learn much from reading correspondence with their contemporaries.

A month after his election in 1860, the president-elect sent a letter to U.S. Senator re-affirming his opposition to slavery. His brief words sum up his strong belief that it was long past time to resolve the issue:

“My dear Sir: Let there be no compromise on the question of extending slavery. If there be, all our labor is lost, and, ere long, must be done again. The dangerous ground---that into which some of our friends have a hankering to run---is Pop. Sov. Have none of it. Stand firm. The tug has to come, & better now, than any time hereafter.”

You can find that letter and other documents of his here.

Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

In January, our nation marked the 90th year since the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we continue to reflect on the contributions of African-Americans during Black History Month, it is timely to look back at Dr. King’s most famous address - his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Near the beginning of his remarks, he speaks to the promise of this country: “In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

Photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

While many of us have heard and read his speech before, it is one worth re-reading from time to time and perhaps most appropriately when we mark his birthday. You can find the full address on the National Archives website at this link.