Morrell Monthly: September 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Big wins for taxpayers this legislative session

“When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” - Ronald Reagan

During the final weeks of the recent legislative session, proposals put forth by members of the majority party remained on the table that would have raised billions of dollars in new taxes and made it more expensive to live in California.

However, thanks to the many of you who made your voice heard, the efforts of my Republican colleagues and I to stop these taxes were successful. Among the proposals we blocked:

  • A 12-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax
  • A 22-cent per gallon increase in the diesel tax
  • A $65 annual road usage charge

We were also able to halt provisions of Senate Bill 350, also called the Gas Restriction Act of 2015, which would have restricted gas use by 50 percent by 2030 and given unelected regulators on the Air Resources Board expanded authority to meet this objective. Everyone wants a cleaner future for our state, but this was a step too far. While there are still harmful provisions of SB 350 that will increase energy prices, we soundly defeated this part of the proposal that would have made it more expensive to drive.

With some of the steepest taxes in the country and state revenues at all-time highs, Californians should rightly expect that our state live within its means. Drivers should not have to pay more in taxes than they already do. Individuals and families should not have to pay more of their hard-earned income to cover government obligations.

As we head into the next half of the legislative session, Republicans remain strongly committed to finding solutions that use existing funds to meet our state’s needs.

Thank you to everyone who was engaged and vocal on these issues. You’ve proven once again that the officials elected to represent you only do so at your consent, as intended by our nation’s Founders.


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What's Going On Around District 23

Ark of Safety Forum 2015
Ark of Safety Forum 2015. Thanks to everyone who made it to the 2015 Ark of Safety Forum today to learn how to prepare and serve during a disaster! We had great discussions on how faith-based organizations can help the Inland Empire get ready for a crisis.

Special thanks to our partner, Building Resilient Communities (President Debra Williams, center lower left), our guest speaker Pastor Lee Neish of First United Methodist Church in Napa (center upper left) who shared his church’s and community’s experience during and after the 2014 Napa earthquake; and the Beyond the Cross Ensemble of Upland Christian Academy (lower right) for their rendition of “God Bless America.”

Photo of Sentor Morrell at the AT&T Investing in California Awards
AT&T Investing in California Awards. Congratulations to the nonprofits in our area who received grants from AT&T in recognition of their work in the community! From left to right: Smiles for Seniors; Jim Lineberger of Community Pantry of Hemet; Josiah Bruny of Music Changing Lives; Sherry Edwards and Jeanette Wilson of Building a Generation; representatives from the Yucaipa Animal Placement Society (Y.A.P.S.); and Julio Figueroa, AT&T Director of External Affairs for Riverside/San Bernardino Counties.

Photos of Senator Morrell recognizing the students of Arrowhead Tang Soo Do
Martial arts students win awards. I had the honor of recognizing the students of Arrowhead Tang Soo Do in Highland for their recent tournament victories. The team of 28 brought home 31 medals representing the U.S.! In the bottom corner is Master Stephanie Argentine.

Photos of Senator Morrell at the San Jacinto and Menifee Valley campuses
Mt. San Jacinto College. This month I visited the San Jacinto and Menifee Valley campuses of Mt. San Jacinto College. I appreciated the opportunity to talk with students and professors during the tour. Thanks to President Roger Schultz for taking the time to show me around!

Photos of Senator Morrell with the Rancho Cucamonga Knights of Columbus
Rancho Cucamonga Knights of Columbus. It was a pleasure to speak with the Rancho Cucamonga Knights of Columbus about the legislative year. Thanks to member Nick Ewell for inviting me!

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Op-Ed: Taxpayers, GOP Hold Off Tax Increases

Throughout this legislative season, taxpayers proved once again that the officials elected to represent you only do so at your consent, as intended by our nation’s Founders. With billions of dollars in new taxes proposed by the majority party, it took a united front to send Sacramento the message that Californians do not believe higher taxes are the answer to the challenges facing our state. Read more about the end of the legislative session here.

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Majority Party Ignores “Kate’s Law” Resolution

Earlier this month, the state legislature adjourned for the year without taking any action to address sanctuary city policies that facilitate the illegal harboring of convicted criminals. In particular, the majority party failed to advance Senate Joint Resolution 17, which I authored to urge Congress to pass “Kate’s Law.”

SJR 17 should be supportable across party lines. One of our primary responsibilities as elected officials is keeping our communities safe. We swear an oath to uphold our laws and the Constitution to protect the citizens of our state. Yet, in the name of procedure, debate on the dangers posed by sanctuary city policies was shelved.

I am committed to seeing that SJR 17 has a proper hearing in Sacramento and that this issue remains at the forefront of the legislature’s business.

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SB 647 Signed Into Law

This month, the Governor signed SB 647, a measure I authored to make regulatory improvements to provisions put in place by consumer protection legislation approved in 2012. Small businesses face many regulatory and tax hurdles in California. Any time we can simplify this process, while not reducing consumer protection, it is a win for our state. I’m pleased that it was signed into law and am grateful to my colleagues for their unanimous support. You can read more about the bill here.

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11th Annual Women of Distinction - October 16

Photo of Senator Morrell at the 2014 Women of Distinction awards
2014 Women of Distinction from Menifee. Senator Mike Morrell (center) and Menifee City Council Member John Denver (far right) with the Menifee honorees (from left to right): Joan Wakeland, Ivette Barnett, Nicole Farrell, Claudia Fihe, Leslie Gugliemetti, Sue Lopez, Debbie McClure, Robbie Motter, Cynthia Nemelka, Jean Olexa, and Dorothy Wolons.

Each year, the Women of Distinction Ceremony showcases the service of women from throughout our region. Awardees are nominated by members of the public from business leaders to colleagues and friends. Finalists are selected by a panel of previous Women of Distinction honorees.

This year’s ceremony will highlight the work of two “Women of the Year” - Sally Myers of Riverside County and Maribel Brown of San Bernardino County. A full list of honorees - 44 altogether - can be found here. Congratulations to all!

Please join me on Friday, October 16, as we honor these outstanding women who give back so much to our communities.

WHEN: Friday, October 16, 2015 (doors open at 5:00 p.m.)

WHERE: Orton Center on the University of Redlands Campus

For more information, click here.

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Top Chamber Business Awards - October 22

Photo of Senator Morrell at the Top Chamber Business Awards
2014 Top Chamber Business Owners Larry and Cheri McRae (to the left of me in the photo) and the Poison Spyder Customs team of Banning.

Each year, I partner with our local chambers of commerce to honor businesses from across our district that have added jobs to our local economy and shown strong a strong commitment to our community. Since it started, we’ve had the privilege of recognizing over 120 businesses.

I invite you to join me for a luncheon this October as we continue to highlight the work of businesses that keep our region competitive and on the leading edge of our state’s economic future.

A list of this year’s finalists can be found here.

WHEN: Thursday, October 22, 2015 (check-in begins at 11 a.m.)

WHERE: Orton Center on the University of Redlands Campus

For more information, contact Melissa Boyd at (909) 581-9473

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 Patriot Spotlight: Wayland Reynolds

Photo of Wayland Reynolds    Photo of Wayland Reynolds

During National Military Appreciation Month, I had the privilege of recognizing Redlands resident Wayland Reynolds as a Patriot of the Past in the Education category at the 2nd Annual Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future.

A naval munitions officer during World War II, Wayland piloted an amphibious lander in the assault on Red Beach in Iwo Jima as part of the 1945 offensive in the Pacific Theater. Upon discharge, Wayland earned his college degree from the University of Redlands in 1947. As a science teacher, swimming coach, assistant principal, and the Director of Personnel Services with Palm Springs Unified School District, Wayland’s career in education has spanned over 50 years. He believes that his generation was the “greatest generation,” but the true heroes were those that did not return home.

You can read more about him in this story from The Redlands Daily Facts.

We’re truly grateful for your service, Wayland. Thank you!

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 The Next Generation: Jennifer Iniguez

Image of Jennifer Iniguez, Intern Spencer Street Jennifer Iniguez recently began working in our Rancho Cucamonga office. She applied to become an intern after being chosen as Chaffey High School’s California Girls State Delegate where she learned about the statewide functions of government during the program’s weeklong sessions. She served as an Assemblywoman and as the Chairman of the Government and Infrastructure Committee where she discovered the impact her service could have on her community, state, and nation.

In pursuit of a way to serve our country, Jennifer aspires to become a Naval Officer. Originally, Jennifer’s desire to serve stemmed from the death of her grandfather. Both her parents and grandparents were immigrants from Mexico, and this life event caused her to reflect on how important this country, its values, its freedoms, and its opportunities are to her since her own family struggled to enter this country and worked most of their lives to barely subsist just for the opportunity to build a new life.

Jennifer selected the Navy after being inspired by her Marine Corps pilot cousin. She has since joined Chaffey High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Jennifer’s experience in NJROTC has enabled her to accomplish more than the ordinary high school student, becoming Vice President of the Science Olympiad Club, President of the Statistics Club, and founder of the National Honor Society at her school.

Within her first year as a cadet, she quickly advanced through the ranks and chain of command to become the Operations Officer which oversees all of the internal and external functions of the unit as the third highest ranking officer in the command. As a part of this unit, Jennifer also serves on the color guard team. I had the pleasure of meeting her and her fellow cadets when they presented the colors at this past spring’s Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future event.

After serving as an intern and graduating Chaffey High School, Jennifer hopes to receive a nomination and appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy to further her progress in achieving her goal of becoming a Naval Officer.

Welcome aboard, Jennifer! Thanks for your interest in serving our state and nation!

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Recommended Listening: Washington’s First Inaugural Address

Image of President George Washington In 1789, George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States. His address to the nation is considered one of his greatest and set the standard for every presidential inauguration speech that would follow in his legacy.

Washington’s remarks are also among my favorites. I frequently read over his words and ask myself how I can apply them to the work that I’m privileged to do in the Legislature.

Whether you have read it before or this is the first you have heard of it, I encourage you to take a look at his address and reflect on its impact in our nation today. You can read his speech here.

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California’s Business Tax Climate Ranks #48

Graphic showing 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation ranks states based on their individual tax rates each year, including sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, and collectively, as featured above, the business tax climate.

When it comes to this measure, California ranks near the bottom of the states at #48. If you are not a business owner, you may not think this affects you much.

However, how businesses and entrepreneurs view our state’s tax system has an impact on our overall economy and whether or not they choose to invest, expand, or create jobs here.

As much as the amount of taxes is a factor, it also comes down to predictability. Every time new taxes are proposed or considered, like the majority party has continued to do this year, it creates enough uncertainty to deter growth.

These facts cannot be ignored by legislators and others who believe taxes are the answer to all of our state’s problems.

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