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 Senator.Morrell@sen.ca.gov.
Learn more about what I’m working on in Sacramento and what’s happening around the district!
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.
The New Year has begun in earnest. I hope that you and your family had a wonderful holiday season.
At the State Capitol, the governor delivered his final State of the State Address and also released his proposed state budget. As has been the case the last several years, it ramps up spending to record levels - a pattern that will be unsustainable in the long run. While there may be a “surplus” on paper, it is money that belongs to the taxpayers and should be returned to them. You can read more about the budget below as well as my thoughts on the governor’s speech.
Also included in this edition of the newsletter is information about nominations for the upcoming Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future event, links to useful resources, photos from Sacramento and around the district, as well as an excerpt from a speech made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose legacy we remembered this month.
It is an honor to represent you in the State Senate. I’ll keep you posted.
On March 9, 2018, I will be hosting the 5th annual Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future ceremony and policy forum at March Field Air Museum in Riverside to honor individuals and organizations for their commitment to our nation.
Nominations are now being accepted for “Patriots of the Past” and “Patriots of the Present.” To be considered, individuals and organizations must be based in the 23rd Senate District. A selection committee will choose three finalists for each era in the following categories: Business, Education, Health Care, Public Safety, Civic Service, and Community Service.
Additionally, nominations are being accepted for “Patriots of the Greatest Generation,” those who served in the military during World War II.
Entries are also being accepted for the “Patriots of the Future” category. This year, we are asking young people under the age of 21 to share what patriotism means to them by submitting an online questionnaire as well as a photo taken with a veteran in the community.
For questions, please contact Aryn Luna at Aryn.Luna@sen.ca.gov or (909) 919-7731.
Space is limited and the event will fill up fast!
On January 10, Governor Brown introduced his draft state budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year - a record $135 billion.
In previous years, the governor and the Democrat majority have been tempted to increase ongoing spending on programs that will create more government debt down the road. That is a real possibility again this year as budget negotiations get underway.
However, the state needs to proceed with caution. We know all too well that an economic downturn can happen at any point. While there is a projected surplus now, if current spending trends continue, that surplus will swiftly become a deficit (see chart above).
The budget is also available at ebudget.ca.gov.
The governor delivered his final State of the State Address to a joint session of the Assembly and Senate on January 25.
At the core of his remarks, the governor set out a vision for the state that focuses on growing government and spending on projects like the misguided and over-budget high-speed rail.
Rather than watch state government grow, Californians should see their government working efficiently and responsibly with the money it already has.
We do have challenges that have to be addressed. There are ongoing funding problems with public retirement pensions both at the state and local levels. Local public safety officers continue to be concerned with more instances of crime, in light of policy changes that have resulted in the release of more than 40,000 prisoners. We must also ensure, that unlike in past years, taxpayers’ money will actually go to badly needed infrastructure like they expect.
Inland Leaders Charter School. 7th and 8th graders on the Inland Leaders Charter School student council in Yucaipa made their annual leadership trip to the Capitol this week. Great questions and discussion! Thanks to chaperones (far left) parent Krista Woodgrift, teacher Jacqui Reseigh, and (far right) school secretary Ronica Hochreiter for bringing the students up to Sacramento!
Fellow Sergeants-at-Arms. Student Council Sergeant-at-Arms Mallory Miller met the Senate Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Jodie Barnett during their tour. He brought her to his office and introduced her to his staff too!
Sheriff’s Deputies Retire. I had the opportunity to honor Rancho Cucamonga Police Chief Danielle Boldt (center) and San Bernardino Sheriff’s Captain Leland Boldt (commander for the Specialized Investigations Division, left)) on their retirements. This husband and wife have dedicated much of their lives to protecting our communities. They’ll be greatly missed, but we wish them well. Congratulations!
Boxing Program for At-Risk Youth. I want to congratulate nonprofit Boxing for Christ in San Jacinto on its 6th anniversary! Founder Sonia Ramos, her family, and staff provide a safe and structured program for kids and young people in the region. It was an honor to join with the community in recognizing the good work they do. Learn more about their story by clicking here.
Habitat for Humanity. Representatives from our local Habitat for Humanity programs visited the Capitol this month. From left: Jody Gmeiner - President/CEO of Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity, myself, Tammy Marine - Executive Director of Inland Valley Habitat for Humanity, and Mary Stein - Programs/Accounting Manager Habitat for Humanity
California State PTA. Representatives from California State PTA 23rd District came to Sacramento for their legislative day. From left to right: Kathleen Camarillo, Johanna Lunn (Murrieta), myself, Cherie Potter, and Jennafer Griswold (Menifee).
California Contract Cities Association. Local officials from various cities met with staff at our Capitol Office. From left to right: Ryan Smoot (City Manager - Lomita), Oley Olsen (Mayor Pro Tem - Avalon), Mark Waronek (Mayor - Lomita), Deputy Chief of Staff Jessica Emigh, Senate Fellow Tess Scherkenback, Rick Mullen (Mayor Pro Tem - Malibu), and Steve Hofbauer (Mayor Pro Tem - Palmdale).
Tax Help Day is a FREE public service event sponsored by the California Society of Enrolled Agents (CSEA). Local enrolled agents will be available at locations throughout the state to answer your questions on a wide variety of tax topics like running your own business, buying a home, getting married, and much more.
More information, including a list of locations, is available at this link. You can also call the CSEA office at (916) 366-6646.
Every Kid in a Park is a federal program that allows fourth graders, nationwide, free entry to more than 2,000 federally-managed lands and waters nationwide for an entire year - September 1 through August 31.
It’s not too late for current fourth graders to get their pass! Printable vouchers are available online and will allow free entry for the student and three accompanying adults to National Parks.
There are more than 400 national parks and millions of acres of federal lands and waters to explore in the United States; 28 of those National Parks are in California.
Visit everykidinapark.gov to find educational activities, the voucher, and more information on the program.
While a high school diploma is one milestone on the path to a rewarding career, many jobs of the future will require training beyond high school.
Career Education programs are a smart, affordable and accessible way to get the practical skills needed to land a good-paying job and a meaningful career.
With 114 campuses throughout the state, California Community Colleges offer more than 200 career training programs in new and growing fields.
They offer practical, hands-on training in various fields, including: Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Biotechnology, Clean Energy, Cybersecurity, Construction, Global Trade, Health, and many more! California Community Colleges have instructors with real-world experience in these industries.
Visit CaliforniaCareerEducation.com to learn more.
This month, our nation paused to mark the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1965, two years after he made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., he delivered a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta entitled “The American Dream.”
He expanded on his 1963 remarks, explaining his vision of the American dream as encompassed in the Declaration of Independence. Here’s just one part:
”…that dream goes on to say another thing that ultimately distinguishes our nation and our form of government from any totalitarian system in the world. It says that each of us has certain basic rights that are neither derived from or conferred by the state. In order to discover where they came from, it is necessary to move back behind the dim mist of eternity. They are God-given, gifts from His hands. Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent, and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality. The American dream reminds us, and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day, that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.”