Morrell Monthly: October 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

We’re here to help

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

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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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State Watchdog: Occupational Licensing Creates Barriers for Veterans

The Little Hoover Commission is an independent state oversight agency. It was created in 1962 to investigate state government operations and - through reports, recommendations and legislative proposals - promote efficiency, economy and improved service.

In October, the commission issued its latest report detailing how California’s occupational licensing requirements have been proven to be a burden on many Californians, including veterans and their spouses. It concludes that there is a serious need to reform the system and return it to its original purpose of protecting consumers.

The current state of licensing requirements in California is one reason I introduced SB 1155 this past year, which would have waived initial application fees for veterans seeking occupational licenses in California. In doing so, we would follow the lead of several other states that have enacted similar policies. It is a net benefit not only to veterans and their families, but also to our state, as it would be one more way to attract these highly skilled individuals to call California their home. To read an op-ed I wrote on the topic in The Daily Bulletin, you can click here.

For an overview of occupational licensing systems, see the chart below, which was included in the commission’s report:

Chart Spectrum of Occupational Regulation

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Is the State holding your money or property?

Women's Business Conference FlyerDid you know the State currently holds over $8 billion in unclaimed property belonging to more than 32 million individuals and organizations throughout California?

The Unclaimed Property Program was enacted to reunite lost and abandoned private property with the rightful owner or heirs. The law prevents businesses from keeping your money or using it as business income.

Businesses are required to turn private property over to the State Controller’s Office if there has been no contact from the property owner for three years.

Over the past month, our staff has held office hours throughout the 23rd Senate District to help answer questions and navigate the process. One individual found $900!

To find out more about this program and to see if the state is holding your money, you can visit our website for more information by clicking here.

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Around The 23rd District

Picture of San Bernardino County Teachers of the Year

San Bernardino County Teachers of the Year. This past month, I joined San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre and other local leaders to recognize the 2016 San Bernardino County Teachers of the Year. Honorees from left to right in the first row: Los Osos HS English teacher Jennifer Nicastro; Heather Lewis, specialized academic instructor for the Academy of Careers and Exploration and Riverview Middle School; Chapman Heights Elementary School Kindergarten teacher Kenneth Hall; and Ayala HS English teacher Alexis King. Congratulations!

Collage of photos from North Park Elementary School

North Park Elementary School. Thanks to the teachers and students of North Park Elementary in San Bernardino for the warm welcome! I was glad to be able to share about the role of the legislature and answer the great questions that were asked. Special thank you also to Principal Yadira Downing, School Counselor Victoria Reza, and Dr. Dale Marsden, Superintendent of San Bernardino City USD.

Photo from Banning Grandparents of the Year

Banning Grandparents of the Year. As part of the kickoff to this year’s Stagecoach Days, Banning named its Grandma and Grandpa of the Year - Geraldine and Robert Hill! Their granddaughter Cyncere wrote a letter nominating them for this honor. Grandsons Zylon and Terrell were also on hand for the presentation.

Photo Collage from San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce

San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to the San Bernardino Area Chamber for the opportunity to speak at their morning breakfast. Top photo: Claudia Lopez, IE Job Corps; Mike Gallo, San Bernardino City School Board; myself; Margaret Hill, San Bernardino City School Board. Bottom photo: Speaking with Kimberly Foglio-Walden.

Picture from High Desert Town Hall

High Desert Town Hall. It was good to meet with the residents of Phelan and Piñon Hills at our recent community town hall with Assemblymembers Tom Lackey and Jay Obernolte. We appreciated the discussion and questions!

Picture from Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce

Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce. I had the pleasure of speaking at the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber’s recent lunch meeting. Pictured here: Ernie Braunwalder, President-Chair; Ruby Huey, President-Chair Elect; myself; Maribel Brown, Immediate Past President-Chair; and Jason VanNoy, Vice-Chair of Investments, Events and Special Programs.

Picture from High Desert Town Hall

Manufacturing in California. I recently visited the Skyline Homes facility in San Jacinto, an important employer here in the 23rd Senate District that manufactures mobile homes and RVs. We also honored employees who participated in a nationwide company safety program. Pictured here: Division Manager Dan Stark; Sales Manager Deneen Duke Gansert; and sales secretary Lori Dominguez.

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Patriot Spotlight: Chris Williams

Image of Teresa Bullock At the third annual Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future event held at the March Field Air Museum, Chris Williams was named as a Patriot of the Present in the Civic Engagement category. He served in the Navy from 1980 to 1984.

Since his time in the Armed Forces, Chris continues to serve his community in many different ways. He is a Veteran Outreach Coordinator and founder of Vets on Deck 4 Vets. He is also a veteran peer support specialist, Jr. Vice Commander.

Chris serves on the mental health advisory council at the VA and sits on the San Bernardino County Veterans subcommittee. He is known as a leader in the Inland Empire community, also serving as an advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and as a trainer for trauma and community resiliency.

Please join me in thanking Chris for all the work he does on behalf of his fellow veterans and their families.

Photo credit: Images by J.Dixx Photography (

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Gas Taxes State-by-State

Map of Gas Taxes state by state
Source: Tax Foundation

The map above shows how much drivers pay in statewide gas taxes throughout the nation. While California may come in at #5 in this chart, it is important to note that if cap-and-trade taxes were included, which the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst estimates is at least 11 cents per gallon, California would have the highest gas tax in the nation.

This past legislative session, my Republican colleagues and I worked against attempts to increase the gas tax even higher, the latest of which proposed to hike it by 17 cents per gallon, indexed to inflation. Such a move would have a trickle-down effect on our overall cost of living, with the price of other necessities going up that all rely on ground transportation to get to stores and vendors.

There are other ways to fix our roads and highways, without asking taxpayers for more. You can read about our plan here.

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