And as always, you can contact me at Senator.Morrell@sen.ca.gov.
“The foundation of every government is some principle or passion in the minds of the people. The noblest principles and most generous affections in our nature then, have the fairest chance to support the noblest and most generous models of government.”
- John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
The man who would become our nation’s second president played a crucial role not only in securing the freedoms we enjoy today, but also in shaping our system of government. In the letter mentioned above, John Adams outlines his vision for a legislative branch - elected by the people - to make the decisions necessary to implement the system outlined by the Founding Fathers.
Here in California, as with elsewhere around the country, lawmakers do not always agree with one another. World views collide and personal philosophies clash. But through it all, our time-tested system of government tends to work.
This ideal is important to keep in mind in August. It is one of the busiest months of the year for the Legislature as we approach the state constitution’s deadline to finish legislative business by midnight on August 31. At this point, the Senate and Assembly must have acted on all proposals. Those that pass go to the Governor, who has until September 30 to either sign or veto them.
A number of significant issues are still being discussed ranging from the state’s water situation to proposed changes in taxpayer protections. Additionally, two of my bills, SB 960 (regarding the State Board of Pharmacy and letters of reprimand) and SB 997 (regarding the California Senior Legislature) are now before the Assembly. If all goes well, they will be on the Governor’s desk before month’s end.
I’ll look forward to sharing with you my thoughts and perspective on what’s happening in Sacramento as this session comes to a close. Stay tuned!
One of the best parts of representing our region is the chance to visit and meet with the good folks of the 23rd Senate District. Below are a few of the highlights from the last couple of months. You can visit the photo gallery on my website to see more.
What’s the 4th of July without a parade? This year, I had the opportunity
to participate in Redlands’ annual celebration.
I was proud to stand with other leaders and public officials
as we cut the ribbon on the new Yucaipa police station.
With Yucaipa Mayor Denise Hoyt at the ribbon cutting of the city’s police station.
Presenting certificates to owners Tammy Stokes and Maria A. King at the opening
of their new business, Birth Your Way Birth Center in Yucaipa.
In cases of severe natural disasters, it can be as long as 72 hours before federal, state, or local government responders are able to reach those who need help. To ensure a strong safety net during these times, it is important to bring government, non-profits, and faith-based organizations together so that they can develop and coordinate disaster preparedness efforts in advance.
Last year, my Assembly office partnered with Building Resilient Communities to host the Ark of Safety Forum. Over 150 faith leaders from around the Inland Empire helped make our inaugural event a huge success, as they learned about regional resources and ways they can be prepared to help their congregants and neighbors.
This year’s event will take place on Friday, August 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It will be held at the San Jacinto Assembly of God, located at 300 W. First Street in San Jacinto.
For more information and to register, you can visit my website.
It was an honor to present a resolution to Colonel Paul Green, pictured here with his wife Angel, recognizing him for his service. This picture was taken this past March at the Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future event.
This past March, I had the privilege of recognizing Highland resident and World War II Tuskegee Airmen Colonel Paul Green for his life’s accomplishments at our Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future event.
Colonel Green spent his childhood in Xenia, Ohio, growing up in the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home.
In 1943, he was drafted into the Army Quartermasters Corp. He completed his Flying Training School at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and promptly joined the 99th Fighter Squadron. As a member of this group, he flew combat missions to Italy, all while realizing his dream of flying.
Colonel Green would eventually become a Command Pilot and accumulate over 5,000 flying hours.
Over the course of his career, Colonel Green received numerous military awards, honors and decorations including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Bronze Star, and the Presidential Unit Citation, all with Oak Leaf Clusters.
He went on to serve as Base Commander for Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino from 1974 to 1976. He has been married to his wife Angel for over 60 years and serves on the boards of several community organizations.
Colonel Green has a great love of God and country and is an inspiring example of those who aren’t afraid to dream big dreams and make them come true. Please join me in recognizing Colonel Green for his service to our country.
Gas and diesel fuel prices are expected to rise beginning January 1, 2015, because of new regulations under California’s climate change law, AB 32. They are part of the state’s Cap and Trade program and were created by unelected officials on the California Air Resources Board. The cost of these changes will amount to what I believe is a “hidden” gas tax.
Working with business leaders and elected officials from both parties, I have tried to draw attention to this issue. We are concerned that this tax could hurt our fragile economy and discourage hiring, expansion, and investment. This tax must be stopped.
To learn more about my thoughts on this issue, you can click here.
Under the recently enacted state budget, General Fund spending in 2013-14 grows by $4.4 billion (4.6 percent) over 2013 levels and by $26 billion (27 percent) from what it was just five years ago. This significant increase in spending is inconsistent with the Governor’s public calls for austerity. Given this growth, it is highly unlikely that the state can sustain this level of spending without extending the “temporary” taxes raised via Proposition 30. This is why some legislative Democrats are already calling for those taxes to be extended, which is not what the voters intended. You can read more about the current state budget here.
Left to right clockwise: Intern Bianca Cockrell, district staff member Christian Zaragoza, district staff member David Matza, and intern Kristina Ibrahim preparing for Senator Mike Morrell’s annual Women of Distinction event.
Kristina has been an intern in our district office since April 2014 and has found her time here to be well spent. During her internship, she has learned the importance of completing tasks in a timely manner, especially in a high-paced governmental setting. She has also become familiar with numerous public policy issues and has seen the impact that state government has on the community at large.
Kristina recently graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a degree in public policy. She plans to apply to graduate programs within the health sciences. In her spare time she enjoys reading as well as hiking.
It’s been a pleasure having her on board these last few months. We’ve really appreciated her hard work around the office.
Over the last month, earthquakes have rocked our region, reminding all of us of the need to be prepared for the next big one. Several online resources are available to help you and your family as you gather supplies and put together emergency plans. Here are a few sites you can visit:
- California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) - Includes checklists, tips for mapping out escape routes, and information on California’s annual earthquake drill (the Great ShakeOut).
- www.quake.ca.gov - The website of the California Geological Society. This online tool includes data on the latest earthquakes and links to important tips.
- American Red Cross - Learn about responses during an earthquake and how best to begin the recovery process after one strikes.
In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation granting the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove (known as the Yosemite Grant) to the state of California “upon the express condition that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation, and shall be inalienable for all time.”
Since then, the California State Parks system has grown to become the largest in the United States, with 280 park units and almost 70 million visitors annually. The system contains the finest and most diverse collection of natural, cultural and recreational resources found anywhere, including many here in and around the Inland Empire.