Morrell Monthly: May 2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Memorial Day

Image of flag at gravesites

150 years ago, in May 1868, our nation observed the first Decoration Day - a time for communities to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers, particularly those who had lost their lives during the Civil War.

At a ceremony in Arlington Cemetery that year, Union General and Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield (later the 20th President of the United States) made the following remarks that still resonate today about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice:

“…they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”

This holiday is one of our nation’s most important, as we honor the men and women who put everything on the line to uphold the freedoms and liberties that we too often take for granted. We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude that can never fully be repaid.

As we go about our busy days, let’s pause to remember the millions of Americans who gave the last full measure of devotion in loyalty to our country. May we never forget them.

Read more about the history of Memorial Day here.

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SB 999 - Taking on Burdensome Occupational Licensing

image of bottlesIn the 1950s, 1 in 20 jobs in America required licensing by state governments. Today, that figure is 1 in 4.

Here in California, our state is ranked as the “most broadly and onerously licensed” in the country. Would you believe, for example, that you need to take 1,500 training hours, pay $125 in annual fees, and pay as much as $7,500 in school tuition just to shampoo hair? It’s true.

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. It’s government exercising too much control over livelihoods, picking winners and losers, and resulting in fewer job opportunities.

SB 999, draws attention to this important issue. The bill would take a first step by repealing the license requirement for shampooing and various other hairstyling services.

SB 999 has earned broad bipartisan support and passed its first committee test. Learn more about SB 999 by checking out this article by R St. Institute Western Region Director Steven Greenhut - “Burdensome Licensing Law Turns Shampooers into Criminals.”

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SB 1456 - Keeping Students Safe

Image of Chelsea Burkett, a victim of sex abuse who testified in support of SB 1456, sharing her story with the mediaAnyone who has contact with our children should be held to the strictest vetting standards. While the vast majority of school employees are upstanding individuals who care deeply for our students, at the same time, we have a duty to ensure that no sex predator can fly under the radar and put our children’s safety at risk.

SB 1456 aimed to protect K-12 students by preventing educators and staff who have committed acts of sex abuse from being able to jump from school to school without facing consequences for their misconduct.

Read more about the bill in The Desert Sun and The San Jose Mercury News.

Unfortunately, amendments taken in committee significantly watered down the bill. As a result, I am no longer pursuing SB 1456 this year, but I am committed to pursuing the issue during the next legislative session.

(Pictured - Chelsea Burkett, a victim of sex abuse who testified in support of SB 1456, shares her story with the media. See her profile on ABC Nightline here.)

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SB 924 - National Guard Tax Exemptions

Photo of wildfireNearly 40 million Californians rely on just 23,000 members of the California National Guard to be ready in emergency situations.

When the governor calls up Guard Members to respond to disasters like last year’s devastating wildfires, these men and women leave fulltime day jobs and place their lives in danger to provide aid.

SB 924 would exempt income from state income tax when that income is derived from this emergency activation. Read more here.

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SB 1485 - Money for Charities, Not More Government

Photo of a checkbookPolling indicates that 74 percent of voters would prefer to see their money go to charities they trust rather than to government.

Government can’t do everything and it shouldn’t. Taxpayers, however, should be able to give more of their hard-earned money to organizations they see doing good for the most vulnerable in our communities.

SB 1485 would accomplish this goal by creating a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, allowing Californians taxpayers to direct more of what they would pay in state income taxes to nonprofits that provide public services.

Read more here.

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Governor Releases Revised State Budget

On May 10, the governor kicked off the final month of state budget negotiations when he announced his revisions to the draft budget he released in January.

To see highlights and analysis of the budget you can click here.

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Photo with Shauntice Penn
May is Foster Care Awareness Month. Each year, California Youth Connection (CYC) brings students who have been in foster care to the Capitol to shadow legislators and staff for a day. Our office had the pleasure of hosting Shauntice Penn. She is a high school senior who has plans to study math and psychology after graduation and is passionate about dance. We know she has a bright future ahead!

Photo from Clean Up Day Photo 2 from Clean Up Day
Team Up to Clean Up Day - Highland. Our office joined the Highlanders Boxing Club and the Urban Conservation Corps for Team Up to Clean Up Day in Highland. A lot of good work got done - thanks for all the helping hands!

Photo of Representatives from various Special Education Local Plan Areas.
Riverside Special Education. Representatives from various Special Education Local Plan Areas were recently in Sacramento, including the Riverside County SELPA. From left: Kristin Enriquez (son Sevi in green), Royce Felten (mom Jess Nerren at far right), and Executive Director Leah Davis. Thanks for the work you do on behalf of our students!

Photos of Local WWII Vets Honored with France’s Legion of Honor.
Local WWII Vets Honored with France’s Legion of Honor. France recently awarded The National Order of The Legion of Honor to Larry Thorp of Upland and Richard Buxton of Hemet for their service during WWII. Our office was honored to be on hand for the ceremony. Read more about these two men’s stories in the Press-Enterprise here.

Photos from Heritage Day
Heritage Day. 2018 marks the 167th anniversary of arrival of Mormon and Black Pioneers who founded the San Bernardino Colony. A special event marking this anniversary was held at Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Farm in Yucaipa.

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Occupational Licensing Across America

Over the past six decades, occupational licensing has expanded rapidly.

Since 2012, states have increased the burden of licensing by about 4% on average. California has decreased the burden of occupational licensing by 0% since 2012.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University recently released a report detailing the burden of licensure throughout the United States. You can see a visual impact of licensing in the chart below.

To read the full report click here.

Image of Occupational licensing by state

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Thatcher on Taxpayer Dollars

Image of Margaret ThatcherIn October 1983, Thatcher addressed a conference of the Conservative Party. She succinctly lays out one of the core principles of their view of government saying, “There is no such thing as public money, there is only taxpayers’ money.”

She further emphasized that “No nation ever grew more prosperous by taxing its citizens more than their capacity to pay.”

Watch the whole 2 ½ minute video at this link.

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