Morrell Monthly: June 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

Independence Day

The Founding Fathers knew when they constructed the Declaration of Independence that they were not establishing new rights, but recognizing those that are intrinsically God-given and reserved for all humanity.

Thomas Jefferson, in an 1825 letter to Henry Lee put it this way:

Declaration of Independence document“This was the object of the Declaration of Independence.

Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.”

242 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we continue to recommit ourselves to the preservation of the same principles of liberty and freedom, celebrating with friends and family.

For a list of Independence Day events happening in and around the 23rd Senate District, click here. Additionally, information on the Mountain Jamboree in Forest Falls (not listed) can be found here.

I wish you a safe and Happy Fourth of July!


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SB 924 - National Guard Tax Exemptions

Forest fireWhen the governor calls up the National Guard to respond to disasters like last year’s devastating wildfires, these men and women often leave full-time day jobs and place their lives in danger to provide aid.

SB 924 would exempt the pay earned by National Guard Members from state income taxes when activated during state emergencies or disasters.

The bill has earned bipartisan support throughout the legislative process, passing the full Senate as well as two committees in the Assembly. It will next be considered by the full Assembly in August.

Read more about SB 924 in this story on here.

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SB 999 - Assembly Misses Opportunity, Fails to Pass Bipartisan Measure Increasing Economic Opportunity

filesSB 999 sought to draw attention to the issue of occupational licensing and the point at which the system puts too many government regulations in the way of those starting out their careers.

Although it can be important to require licenses to ensure safety and proficiency in some occupations, in many job fields, licensing acts more as a barrier to entry into the workforce.

SB 999 would have taken a first step towards reform by repealing the license requirement for shampooing and certain other hairstyling services (not including cutting). Currently, a license for these services takes 1,500 training hours, $125 in annual fees, and as much as $19,000 in school tuition.

Rather than join the State Senate to increase career pathways for job-seekers entering the field of cosmetology, I was disappointed that the Assembly Business and Professions Committee voted to keep in place these licensing laws.

The bill earned broad bipartisan support in the Senate. I was disappointed that the Assembly Business and Professions Committee ultimately voted to reject the bill.

SB 999 was also supported by groups like think tank R Street Institute and TechNet, both emphasizing the need to reexamine licensing in the light of California’s expanding innovation economy. Additionally, the bill was endorsed by the editorial board of the Press-Enterprise, Daily Bulletin, and other papers.

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State Budget Finalized

In mid-June, the legislature approved its version of the state budget and sent it to Governor Brown for his final signature. However, as has become typical of the budget process, most of its provisions were decided behind closed doors with Republicans locked out of the discussions.

My colleague Senator John Moorlach of Orange County, who represented our caucus on the budget conference committee, said it well during the floor debate on the budget process: “The real work is supposedly done by the Governor, by the Speaker of the Assembly, and the President pro Tem…it appears that the budget conference committee is almost virtually unnecessary…we ought to take a hard look at this process…I’m just advising you colleagues that we either follow the rules or we dissolve the conference committee.”

The results of these negotiations? You can read my assessment here.

To learn more about the 2018-19 state budget, you can go to or

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Teaching Computer Code in All Grades

Student learning computer code

Our office had the privilege of recognizing Alta Loma Christian School for its innovative program to teach computer coding skills to every student from preschool through 8th Grade. They have the distinction of being one of the first schools in California - public or private - to endeavor on this goal. Congratulations!

Read more on their initiative here.

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September 22 • First Responder Day

Photo collage from First Resonder Day 2017Last fall, I had the opportunity to work with the Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council based out of the Lake Arrowhead area to host our region’s inaugural First Responder Day at Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs.

This year, First Responder Day will be held down the hill at the home of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Minor League baseball team - LoanMart Field.

The event will be an opportunity to thank the men and women who keep us safe as well as learn more about the hard work they do.

You can read more about the 2017 First Responder Day in this story from the Alpenhorn News.

First Responder Day 2018 was designated through the Senate’s passage of SR 75.

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September 27 • Ark of Safety Emergency Preparedness Forum

Ark of Safety Forum logoThis September, my office will again partner with Building Resilient Communities to host the annual Ark of Safety Forum on emergency preparedness.

The free event is an opportunity for business, education, government, and faith-based leaders across the Inland Empire to join in discussions on how to best prepare for a crisis.

Planned presentations include:

  • How to identify potential security threats
  • Vital updated earthquake preparedness information
  • Available resources and training through the Department of Homeland Security

Last year’s event had a waiting list - be sure to reserve your spot soon!


Thursday, September 27, 2018
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM


Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino
1201 East Highland Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92404

TO RSVP OR FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the Eventbrite website here.

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Ready for Wildfire App

CalFire AppLast summer, we highlighted a new app developed by CAL FIRE to help the public prepare and stay informed as wildfire season approaches.

As we head into the summer months, we thought it would be good to include the link again. Users can set the app to alert them of a wildfire within 30 miles of the device. The app is free and available in the App Store or Google Play for mobile devices.

For more information visit:

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Intern Bradley Vargas at Sen. Morrell’s desk
Mr. Vargas Goes to Sacramento. Each June, the American Legion hosts the annual Boys State education program for teenage boys entering their senior year of high school. Hosted at California State University, Sacramento, the weeklong event also includes a visit to the State Capitol. Read more about Boys State here.

For the second time in recent years, one of our former district office interns was selected by his high school to attend the 2018 convention and stopped by our capitol office on his visit! Bradley Vargas of Western Christian High School interned with us in the fall of 2017. We are excited to see what his future has in store for him. Congratulations, Bradley!

Photo collage - Menifee Memorial Day Ceremony
Remembering our nation’s fallen heroes. This Memorial Day, I was invited to keynote the ceremony hosted by the VFW Post 1956 and the City of Menifee. It was a moving event that included an opportunity to lay a wreath and flowers at the community veterans memorial alongside members of the City Council.

Meeting with engineers
Engineers at the Capitol. One recent meeting we had at our capitol office as with representatives from the American Society of Engineers. We discussed the importance of shoring up our infrastructure, in particular when it comes to flood control. Pictured here from left: Julianna Adams of the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, myself, Phillip Donovan of Dynatest North America and Hank Fung with the Los Angeles County Public Works Department.

Meeting with health underwriters from district
Inland Empire Association of Health Underwriters Representatives. I recently met with members of the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU). The Association of Health Underwriters represents about 200,000 members nationally made up of primarily of health insurance agents, brokers and consultants providing consumers and businesses affordable health insurance options. Pictured here, from left: Wayne Guzman of Rancho Cucamonga, Former Upland Mayor Ray Musser, and Joe Henehan of Redlands.

Staffer Joshua Monzon addresses crowd
National Orange Show Ribbon Cutting. At last month’s Citrus Fair at the National Orange Show, Field Representative Joshua Monzon joined the San Bernardino community to kick off the festivities. Special thanks to Judi Penman and the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce for their role highlighting this event!

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License to Work

California licensing rankingsAt its most basic, an occupational license is a government permission slip to work.

While there may be merit to some licenses, the current system has grown out-of-control.

Consider: In the 1950s, 1 in 20 jobs required a government license. Today, that figure is 1 in 3.


Here in California, more than 300 different jobs require licensure by the state.

In fact, the Institute for Justice ranks California the “most broadly and onerously licensed” state in the country.

To learn more about the state of occupational licensing in California and nationwide, you can browse the Institute for Justice “License to Work” research website here.

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IN MEMORIAM - Menifee Mayor Neil Winter

Menifee Mayor Neil WinterIn late May, the City of Menifee marked the unexpected passing of Mayor Neil Winter.

Elected in 2016, Mayor Winter worked hard for his city and was known to many around town by the nickname the “people’s mayor.”

During his short time in office, I had the opportunity to meet with him and found he had a strong desire to serve the community he loved.

Our prayers continue to be with his family and the City of Menifee.

For more information on Mayor Winter from the publication Menifee 24/7, click here.

You can also see remarks I made on the Senate Floor as we adjourned session in his memory.

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