Morrell Monthly: May 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015


Dear Friends,

This month, we take time to honor the men and women of our Armed Forces as part of National Military Appreciation Month. I recently had the opportunity to recognize many of our American heroes at the annual Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future event at Cable Airport in Upland. Thank you to everyone who made it out to support our military and the members of the community who serve them. Be sure to check out the video highlights on our website.

Things continue to move along at the Capitol. Bills that have made it through committee now head to full votes of both the Senate and Assembly. Measures must pass out of their respective houses of origin (e.g. Senate Bills must pass out of the Senate and vice versa) by June 5. My measure, SB 418, which would extend readmission rights for active duty California State University students from two to five years, is now pending in the Assembly.

The Governor also released the revised version of his proposed state budget. The Legislature has until June 15 to pass its own to his desk for consideration. You can read the full Senate Republican analysis here. I also authored an op-ed on the topic that you can read here.

In this newsletter, you will find information about upcoming events including an opportunity for small businesses to engage with experts from Facebook and our office’s annual Women of Distinction ceremony. I also share some thoughts about transportation funding and highlight the accomplishments of an intern in our office, Matthew Moran, who was recently awarded a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholars Scholarship.

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


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Photo collage of Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future Highlights
Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future Highlights. Clockwise beginning at top left:

Photo 1: With the attendees from Lake Arrowhead: Rick Gavigan and son Liam (Patriot of the Future Finalist), Lake Arrowhead Communities Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Polly Sauer, Gary Condurachi and Patrick Graham of American Legion Post 360 (Patriot of the Present Finalist (Community Service Category)), and Donald Nagy (Patriot of the Past Finalist (Community Service Category)).

Photo 2: With Patriot of the Future winner Jason Madaloni of Rancho Cucamonga.

Photo 3: With Patriot of the Past Finalist (Public Safety Category) Melvin West of Rancho Cucamonga.

Photo 4: With the Chaffey High School Navy Junior ROTC, who served as the honorary color guard.

Photo 5: With Patriot of the Present Finalists (Business Category), including winner Darci Castillejos of Menifee.

Read more about that evening here.

Photo of Del Rosa Christian school group at the Capitol
Del Rosa Christian. It is always good to spend time with school groups from the district on field trips to the Capitol, like these 6th graders from Del Rosa Christian School of San Bernardino. They’re a knowledgeable group of students eager to learn about our state!

Image of University of Redlands students
University of Redlands. I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with University of Redlands students taking Dr. Renée Van Vechten’s California Politics May Term class. Great questions and discussion with some of California’s up-and-coming young leaders!

Photo of Senator Morrell speaking with veterans.
American Heroes at the Capitol. I was honored to speak with veterans from across California during the annual California State Commanders Veterans Council legislative day in Sacramento. I shared with them about our Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future event and thanked them for instilling a spirit of patriotism in future generations.

Photo of RCHS student leaders
High School Videographers. I had the chance to meet with Healthy RC student leaders from Rancho Cucamonga during their trip to the Capitol. They were in Sacramento to compete in the Directing Change Program and Film Contest, after having won first place in the regional contest. Those pictured, from left to right, include: Vanessa Echevarria (City Manager’s Office-Rancho Cucamonga), high school student Jason Liggins, high school student Kaylene Lozada, high school student Gia Chinchilla, Mike Parmer (City Manager’s Office-Rancho Cucamonga), and high school student Linghua Li. Congratulations on your accomplishment!

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Fire Tax Telephone Town Hall Recap

Photo of Senator Morrell and Assemblyman Jay Obernolte
From left to right: Myself, Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner, Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey, and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Jon Coupal.

On May 13, I joined Board of Equalization Members Diane Harkey and George Runner and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Jon Coupal for a telephone town hall on the status of the fire tax. We discussed pending legislation on the topic, including my effort to repeal the tax (SB 198) and the progress of the lawsuit contesting its legality. Thanks to everyone who participated - over 2,000 of you registered to listen in! You can read more about it in this Victor Valley Daily Press story.

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Op-Ed: Spending transportation funds honestly

If you are a driver in California, you know our roads and highways need work. Even though we pay more in gas taxes than residents in nearly every other state, our roads are in some of the poorest condition. In fact, a recent study found that our broken roads cost motorists as much as an extra $2,500 every year.

Legislative Democrats have suggested that the solution is to increase transportation taxes and fees. Their all-too-familiar argument: If we are short on money, it must mean it is time to ask taxpayers for more. The problem is that the money is already there; it is just not being spent the way voters want.

That is why my Republican colleagues and I have introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 7 to “lock in” transportation dollars for transportation projects. It would put an end to the current practices of routing taxpayers’ transportation dollars to the general fund for other purposes. To read more, click here.

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COMING UP: Women of Distinction 2015 - Nominations Now Due June 29!

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 at the Edwards Mansion in Redlands on August 7 (please note the date change). Our office is currently accepting nominations for potential honorees. We are looking for names of amazing women you feel have made a difference through their service and dedication to our community and region.

Nominations are due by June 29. A form can be found here.

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COMING UP: Facebook and Your Small Business

From business to politics, social media has changed how our entire world operates. At no other point in history have so many people been able to connect and exchange information at such a rapid and instant pace. Over 1.44 billion people are currently on Facebook.

To help you tap into this network, Facebook and the Redlands Chamber of Commerce are inviting local businesses to join experts from Facebook’s Small Business Team as they share best practices, success stories, and strategies for how to grow, manage, and understand your presence on the site. I’ll be joining the event as a special guest and hope to see you there!

WHAT: Facebook’s Small Business Boost

WHEN: Friday, June 26, 2015
            Check-in • 8:00 AM
            Training/Presentation • 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

WHERE: Krikorian Redlands Cinema 14
              340 North Eureka St.
              Redlands, CA 92374

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PATRIOT SPOTLIGHT: Herbert “Bill” Harrison

Photo of Senator Morrell with Bill Harrison

At this year’s Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future, I had the distinct privilege of recognizing Navy veteran Herbert “Bill” Harrison as Patriot of the Year.

Bill served our country during World War II. After his minesweeping ship, the USS YMS-472 was sunk off the north shore of Okinawa near Japan, he and his fellow sailors survived six days at sea. It is a story of survival and faith and one that will soon be made into a feature film. More information can be found at

Once leaving the military, Bill dedicated his life to serving others and formed a construction company that built over 50 churches up and down the West Coast. For his work, Bill was nominated as a Patriot of the Past in the Business category and was selected by last year’s awardees as Patriot of the Year. He is an inspiration not only to those in our local community, but to all Americans.

Please join me in thanking him for his heroic service.

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INTERN PROFILE: Matthew Morans

Image of Intern Matthew Moran Matthew Moran started as an intern in our office earlier this school year. He is a graduating senior at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga. As a freshman, Matthew joined the wrestling team, during which, he played three years on varsity and was a team captain his senior year. He was also involved in a campus club called The Giving Spirt, which recruits members to spend a weekend assembling street survival kits and distribute them to L.A.’s homeless men, women, and children. Although Matthew will not be attending Los Osos anymore he plans to continue his involvement with The Giving Spirit.

Outside of school, Matthew was active in the Boy Scouts of America, eventually making the rank of Eagle Scout in 2014. During his five years in the program, Matthew demonstrated leadership to others in his troop and a commitment to God, Country, and Community. He has truly been an example for others to follow.

Matthew was also recently awarded a Gates Millennium Scholars Scholarship, an accomplishment of which both his family and my staff and I are deeply proud. This year, over 57,000 students applied nationwide, making it was one of the most competitive candidate groups in the program’s history. In applying for this scholarship, he had to complete a detailed application, compose nine separate essays (that were each very different), and compile several letters of recommendation and nomination. Matthew was one of a thousand recipients of this distinguished scholarship, recognizing his academic achievement, leadership, and community service.

Next year, Matthew plans on attending Pepperdine University in Malibu to major in political science with a minor in international business. He intends to use the Gates Scholarship to continue his education to earn a Master’s Degree.

Matthew says that what he enjoyed most about interning with our office is that it gave him the opportunity to work in a field he loves, and one in which he plans to pursue a career, and apply what he has learned to his own career. He says he feels very blessed for everything he has accomplished thus far and will continue to work hard, stay dedicated, and focused on his goals and dreams to have a career in politics.

Congratulations, Matthew! We look forward to seeing where your bright future takes you!

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Reagan on Patriotism

Image of Ronald Reagan

In his Farewell Address to the nation, President Reagan took time to speak with Americans about the importance of patriotism and kindling a love for our country in future generations. He emphasized that “freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.” Reagan also reminded parents of their duty in this task saying, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” To watch his entire address, click here.

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Governor’s Proposed Budget Priorities

Chart showing Governor's Proposed Budget Priorities

On May 14, the Governor released a revised version of his proposed State Budget. The table above illustrates how funding for various programs has grown since 2008-09, and in particular Health and Human Services (HHS) and K-12 education.

The chart reflects spending from all state fund sources (i.e., General Fund, Special Funds, and Bond Funds) as it demonstrates that HHS program spending increased by $17.5 billion and K-12 spending grew by $11.6 billion. Combined they account for over $29 billion (66 percent) of the $44 billion in new spending.

In contrast, transportation program funding has fared the worst with an increase of just over $2 billion, which is less than 5 percent of the spending growth. This is particularly notable in light of the recent discussions regarding the state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure and legislative Democrats’ proposals to raise car and gas taxes by several billion dollars to address transportation funding shortfalls.

Budgets are always a reflection of priorities, but despite all the recent attention, transportation programs have not received a share of the revenue windfall.

One possible option that would generate $1 billion for transportation projects is Senate Constitutional Amendment 7, proposed by Senate Republicans. It would ensure truck weight fees are used on our aging roads and highways, instead of on other budget expenditures. Transportation funding should be used to directly improve our transportation network.

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