Morrell Monthly: May 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

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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.

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Learn more about what I’m working on in Sacramento and what’s happening around the district!

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Mobile Office Hours

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.

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Message

Dear Friend,

The year is quickly passing - it’s hard to believe we are already in May!

Things are busy at the Capitol. Bills had until May 31st to pass out of their original house. Included below, you can read more about my legislation as well as bills of which to be aware.

In early May, the governor released a revised version of his proposed January budget - you can read my statement here. The legislature has until June 15th to pass a final state budget to the governor for his signature. I remain concerned with many of its provisions, including the governor’s call to force Californians to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty as well as a legislative proposal that would tax individuals and families participating in health care-sharing ministries (read more here).

That brings you up to speed on what’s happening in Sacramento - I’ll keep you posted as the legislative session continues forward.

Whether you stay close to home or go elsewhere this summer, I wish you safe travels in the months ahead.

Best regards,

Mike

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Providing Relief to Businesses After Disaster

Aftermath of kitchen fire with a business owner in front of reopened establishment.After events like wildfires, floods, and earthquakes, victims face many challenges including increasing expenses. For small businesses, recovery can also include having to replace paperwork such as state licenses needed to operate in California.

According to the Institute for Justce, California is among the most onerously regulated economies in the nation. The average amount spent here on licensing fees is $486.

SB 601 would allow state agencies and departments to waive or reduce fees for businesses or entrepreneurs having to replace licenses within a year following displacement after a federal or state-declared disaster.

Read more here.

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Making California More Affordable for Disabled Veterans

J.R. Wilson of Delta Veterans Group, Cornelious Ronald Aarts of DAV California, and Sen. Morrell.
J.R. Wilson, President of Delta Veterans Group (left); and Cornelious Ronald Aarts of Disabled American Veterans of California (right).

I am proud to report that two bills I have authored to provide financial relief to California’s disabled veterans are both moving through the legislature, passing the Senate this month. Read more here.

SB 500 would increase higher education opportunities for this community by creating a program through the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) that extends housing and tuition assistance to disabled veterans pursuing graduate-level college degrees.

SB 562 would help disabled veterans keep up with California’s high cost of living by increasing the current basic property tax exemption for this group.

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Transparency in Sex Education

Teacher’s desk with notebook and hand writing with penEarlier this year, a parent approached me regarding her concerns about the sex education curriculum adopted for elementary school students in her child’s school district. Due to district resistance, she had a difficult time seeing the materials before classroom instruction began.

When it comes to sex education, parents should have access to information their children are learning, in full transparency and disclosure. Many parents have expressed concern that much of the material is unsuitable for young students, and in some cases even indecent.

SB 673 would amend state law to require school districts to make elementary-age sex education materials available online and restore the right of parents of elementary-age students (TK-6th grade) to opt their children into this instruction. Over 35,000 people have signed a petition in support of SB 673. You can read more here.

You can see a full list of my 2019 legislation here

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Concerning Bills to Watch

As the legislature reaches the midpoint of the session, a number of bills are making their way through the process that would hurt our state and the ability of all Californians to prosper. I have highlighted five below. Each measure has passed out of its original house, largely along party lines, and will now be considered in the opposite house. I did not support them.

SB 136 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) - Giving Criminals a Pass - Over the last decade, California has passed laws forcing sheriffs to release jail inmates early and minimized penalties for certain crimes. SB 136 would add another layer by eliminating one-year sentence enhancements imposed for prior felony convictions. Enhancements are critical tools that hold habitual and violent offenders accountable while reinforcing the serious nature of their crimes. This bill is dangerous for our communities.

SB 1 (Atkins, D-San Diego) - Further Empowers Unelected Bureaucracy, Bigger Government Now - Unelected government entities such as the Air Resources Board already exercise undue control and influence over California and its economy. SB 1 would expand that power for purely political reasons and make it more difficult for residents and businesses to comply with overreaching regulations.

AB 362 (Eggman, D-Stockton) - Government-Run Drug Clinics - This bill would allow San Francisco to establish government-sanctioned clinics where drug users can continue to inject themselves without getting help to fight their addiction. The state should not be enabling this self-destructive behavior.

AB 1505 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) - Limiting Charter Schools and Choice in Education - California schools frequently rank in the bottom ten states for academic performance. Families should have as much choice as possible in pursuing educational opportunities for their children. This bill would limit that choice by restricting the ability of communities to create charter schools.

SB 468 (Jackson, D-Santa Barbara) - Uncertainty for California Businesses - This bill would create a new board and bureaucracy to review and recommend whether the state should increase taxes. SB 468 is unnecessary as entities such as the Department of Finance and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office already have similar authority. It also creates tax uncertainty for businesses looking to invest and create jobs here.

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CHP Senior Safety Driving Courses

Audience at the Redlands “Age Well, Drive Smart” class presented by the California Highway Patrol.Over the last several months, my office has had the opportunity to partner with the California Highway Patrol and other local leaders to host free “Age Well, Drive Smart” senior driver safety courses throughout our area.

See VIDEO highlights from the recent class in Crestline here.

Two more classes are scheduled in June. :

Some insurance companies offer discounted premiums with a certificate of course completion. Prospective participants are encouraged to check with their insurance provider to confirm this program meets its criteria for a policy discount.

The 2-hour course is designed primarily for drivers age 65 and older. If you or someone you know would benefit from this free course, please click one of the following links below to register.

Seating is limited - please RSVP.

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Photos

Sen. Morrell with students and advisors from Yucaipa Youth Advisory Committee.Sen. Morrell speaks with members of the Yucaipa Youth Advisory Committee.

Yucaipa Youth Advisory Committee. I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with high school students on the Yucaipa Youth Advisory Committee during their trip to the capitol. They had great questions!

Sen. Morrell with local real estate agents in his Capitol office.

Local Realtors in Sacramento. Realtors from around the state came to the Capitol for their annual advocacy day. Good to meet with representatives from Inland Valley Association of Realtors, East Valley Association of Realtors, and Citrus Valley Association of Realtors.

Sen. Morrell with Supervisor Janice Rutherford and Assemblymember Jay Obernolted at the Lake Gregory Dam dedication plaque.Local officials on stage marking the completion of the Lake Gregory Dam.

Lake Gregory Dam Completion. The Crestline community recently marked the completion of seismic upgrades to Lake Gregory’s dam. Glad to be able to join in recognizing this milestone - including RockForce Construction, the Lake Gregory Improvement Committee, and my colleagues Supervisor Janice Rutherford and Assemblyman Jay Obernolte. Read more here.

Senator Morrell with Dr. Renee Van Vechten and her University of Redlands Political Science students.

University of Redlands Students. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting with University of Redlands students from Dr. Renée Van Vechten’s political science classes on their trips to the capitol. It’s a busy week in Sacramento - glad to get time to speak with these young leaders!

Representatives from the School2Home program on the senate floor with Sen. Morrell

Menifee Action Group. The Menifee Action Group hosting its “Meet the Leaders” event in April. Grateful to have an opportunity to attend along with (pictured left to right) Chief Deputy Matthew Aveling, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, Assistant Sheriff Dennis Vrooman, and others.

To see more photos, you can visit my Facebook page here.

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Cal Fire - Is your home ready for wildfire?

Preparing for Wildfire

Wildfire season has already begun in earnest here in California, including in the Inland Empire.

While these disasters are unpredictable, there are steps each of us can take to prepare for a wildfire, protecting ourselves, families, property, and neighborhoods.

Thank you to CAL FIRE for providing much of the helpful information so that we can be “Ready-Set-Go.”

For statewide as well as local resources, you can click here to visit the Wildfire Information page on my website.

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Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer

An iconic photograph of a bearded Abraham Lincoln showing his head and shoulders. (Wikipedia)June 6, 2019 marks 75 years since 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany. D-Day (also known as Operation Overlord) saw the loss of more than 9,000 Allied soldiers’ lives in what became one of the most important events in world history.

In addressing the country on D-Day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on Americans to come alongside him in prayer. Here is an excerpt:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

“They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons.”

You can find that letter and other documents of his here.

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