The Morrell Report: October 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019

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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.


Dear Friend,

As California goes through another fire season, we have seen our community experience a number of events reminding each of us of the importance of being ready when disaster strikes. Our hearts go out to those who have experienced loss or have been impacted by the recent and ongoing fires in our region.

We are also grateful to the firefighters and all emergency responders for their efforts in keeping us safe.

A number of local resources are available during response and recovery.

My office has compiled many of these links on our website that you can access here.

The state Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) has also launched a new website at

On the legislative front, the Senate and Assembly finished out its 2019 session in Sacramento, processing more than one thousand bills – some making it to the governor’s desk for consideration and others stalling for the year. I have included some highlights in this newsletter. You can also read my article in the Redlands Community News, highlighting some of the most concerning, including legislation that would allow felons to serve as jurors, worsen the housing shortage by imposing statewide rent control (against voters’ wishes), and make it more difficult for charter schools to form and serve their communities.

For a list recapping my 2019 legislation, you can visit my website at this link.


Democratic Leaders Risk Independent Contractor Jobs

Truck Owners Will Go Bankrupt signageTwo million Californians choose to work as independent contractors, valuing the flexibility. Professions range from Uber and Lyft drivers to landscape architects to physical therapists, among many more.

Those jobs are now in jeopardy, thanks to the passage and signing of Assembly Bill 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego), which limits the ability of Californians to work independently by enshrining in state law the California Supreme Court’s 2018 Dynamex decision. The case set new restrictions on who is considered an employee versus a contractor.

In the spring, Republicans proposed Senate Bill 238 to treat all industries equally in applying the law regarding independent contracting. Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (Bakersfield) offered that policy as an amendment to AB 5 on the Senate Floor, but Democrats voted it down.

Aside from the merits of the law itself, the process of choosing industries to exempt from AB 5 was arbitrary and unfair. Single-truck owner-operators called out the detrimental impacts of the bill by protesting at the Capitol (see photo). To read my op-ed in the Redlands Community News, you can click here.

For more information on AB 5 and Republican efforts, you can click here.

Signed! Disaster Victim Relief Bill

SB 601 A pathway to recovery. Smiling shop owner standing in front of open business.Senate Bill 601 has now been signed into law with the aim of providing small business owners recovering after disaster with financial relief from government licensing fees.

As communities rebuild following major emergencies, key to full recovery is getting local economies back up and running.

For those businesses or entrepreneurs needing state licensure, the state should do all it can to streamline the process for replacing documents, including waiving fees.

Read more about SB 601 in the Record Gazette here.

Remembering Firefighter Brent Witham

This session, I had the privilege of asking the legislature to honor the life of fallen U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Brent Michael Witham of Mentone, by renaming part of State Route 38 in San Bernardino County in his memory.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 32 now designates the portion of State Route 38 between Mill Creek Bridge and Mt. Home Creek Bridge near Mentone as the “United States Forest Service Firefighter Brent Michael Witham Memorial Highway.”

On August 2, 2017, while working on the Lolo Peak Fire in western Montana, Witham lost his life at the age of 29. He had been a team member of the Vista Grande Hotshots based in the San Bernardino National Forest.

You can read more in the Redlands Daily Facts here.

Emergency Preparedness

Audience at the 2018 Ark of Safety Forum

Local nonprofit Building Resilient Communities and my office had the opportunity to partner on the seventh annual Ark of Safety Forum on emergency preparedness at Ecclesia Christian Fellowship in San Bernardino.

Speakers touched on a number of resources including from the following:


Sen. Morrell with Mayor Rhodes Rigsby at the Loma Linda Chamber of Commerce.Sen. Morrell speaks at the Loma Linda Chamber of Commerce.

Loma Linda State of the City. Appreciated the opportunity to share remarks at Loma Linda’s State of the City and hear updates about what’s happening in the city from Mayor Rhodes Rigsby and others. Thanks to the Loma Linda Chamber of Commerce for hosting!

Sen. Morrell speaking at Fascination Ranch.The crowd at the Calimesa State of the City event.

Calimesa State of the City. Great day in Calimesa for their State of the City at Fascination Ranch! Honored to provide some brief thoughts on the legislative year. Thanks to the Calimesa Chamber of Commerce for organizing the event!

Sen. Morrell with Mayor Bill Zimmerman and Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt.

Menifee State of the City. Menifee held its annual State of the City Address with updates and remarks from Mayor Bill Zimmerman (right). Also had an opportunity to catch up with community members and other elected officials, including Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt (left). Thanks to the Menifee Valley Chamber for hosting this event!

Sen. Morrell with Joann Hameister, founder of VIP Tots.

Hemet Celebrates VIP Tots. In the fall of 1979, Joann Hameister began looking for a childcare center for her two twin boys, one of which had special needs. Not finding a suitable option for her family, she started VIP Tots, which has now served thousands of families in Hemet and the San Jacinto Valley. Congratulations on 40 years!

Sen. Morrell meeting with Pacific Region Deputy Chief of Staff Dave Goude and California Wing Vice Commander Greg Chase.Sen. Morrell, Pacific Region Deputy Chief of Staff Dave Goude, and California Wing Vice Commander Greg Chase.

Civil Air Patrol at the Capitol. Pacific Region Deputy Chief of Staff Dave Goude and California Wing Vice Commander Greg Chase shared about their work on their recent visit to Sacramento, including working with youth to encourage careers in flight.

Sen. Morrell with staff at the Beaumont Cherry Valley Water District.

Beaumont Cherry Valley Water District. Thanks to the staff and officials at the Beaumont Cherry Valley Water District for the informative briefing and tour at their facilities!

For more photos, follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department Welcomes 9 Babies

Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department babiesThe Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department made national headlines this month as it shared pictures from a photo shoot of nine firefighters and the babies their families welcomed over the past several months.

To see more photos, you can visit the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department Instagram page here.

To read more about the story and how it came together, click here.

Photo source: Rancho Cucamonga Fire District Instagram

The Federalist Papers

A portrait of James Madison.Our nation recently commemorated the 232nd anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

In leading up to its passage, founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison (at right), and John Jay, using the pseudonym “Publius,” wrote a series of essays promoting its approval now known collectively as the Federalist Papers.

Hamilton set the stage for these arguments and debate in Federalist No. 1 saying, “It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.”

Each letter is worth a read - you can access all of them online here.