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Marie Waldron points to many legislative achievements


Rep. Marie Waldron with Rincon Fire Chief Ed Hadfield to honor him for receiving the State Fire Chief Certification and Designation Award.

Marie Waldron, Minority Floor Leader, and second ranking Republican in the Assembly, is running for reelection in the 75th Assembly District.
Despite being in a minority party that sometimes looks like it is going under for the third time, Waldron has been effective in forging bipartisan cooperation with the majority party—such that she can point to a list of solid legislative accomplishments.
For her the biggest issues are public safety, transportation, and the high cost of living.
Waldron is in her sixth year representing the 75th and she is proud of bills she shepherded through the lower chamber, saw adopted by the Senate, and signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
Waldron is working on AB 2087: State Government Operations: Technology Modernization. It would, she says, “modernize state government, which includes the legislature. Efficiencies are lacking. We need to increase access for the disabled and increase transparency for the public as well as save the taxpayers.”
AB 2087 requires each state department to modernize; including saving emissions, making for family-friendly work places and increasing public access.
Waldron was inspired to author this bill when she took her son to the DMV. “My son just got his driver’s license. He is 17. To get that license you have to have a DL 44 form, which is not at the DMV and you can’t download it. The ONLY way to get it is to call them on a computerized system.” She was forced to call her own district office and ask aide Tom Stinson to call to get the document, just like he would do for any constituent. “How inefficient is that!”
Changing your mailing address on your driver’s license it’s also a major hassle, she says. “The family friendly issue is big,” she says.
Waldron is on the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. “The caucus is looking at why so few women are running for office. It’s the calendar, the rigid schedule, there is no flexibility for families. You can’t telecommute.” AB 2087 would address these issues by bringing the legislature into the 21st century, she says.
It would address the legislature’s technological backwardness: “If you want to look at certain bill analyses you need to be in the building to download it,” she says. “You can’t get it from your laptop. In the Senate you have to send them ten original copies of an amendment and then they cut and paste it on the bill. You can’t email it over. They literally cut with scissors, in this day and age. How does the public get immediate access? They don’t.”
Waldron serves on the Assembly’s Health Committee. “I have become a go to member on health issues,” she says. She has authored a bipartisan bill on opioid addition.
“We came up with a bipartisan package of nine bills,” she says. “My bill AB 1963 increases medical provider reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal providers who use medication assisted treatment for Opioid addiction. Less than two percent of providers in the state treat opioid addiction. To incentivize more we are asking more reimbursement.”
Asked if the Assembly is looking at “single payer” health insurance this year, Waldron said, “There’s not so much talk about single payer. Universal care is a goal we would like to get to, but our current cover does not get us there. We need to make sure we are affordable and accessible because the coverage doesn’t do that.”
Three million are not insured. “More than half of those make just above the amount that would get a subsidy. So many have chosen not to get coverage and the other half are undocumented adults. I served on the Universal Care and Health Care Select Committee which is working through the issues of single payer and universal care and how to come up with best options for affordable care package. We realize health care is extremely expensive and we are not getting the best benefits out of it. We are trying to increase access without increasing cost.”
Last year’s Lilac Fire burned 75 manufactured homes at Rancho Monserate, in Fallbrook. “There’s a dilemma in the codes regarding how some of these manufactured home communities were set up years ago that prevent people from rebuilding,” says Waldron. “We went to the first meeting after the Lilac fire when people were still evacuated. We heard about that issue, so we were able to hit the ground running and get started right away.”
She worked with the Governor’s Office to craft a bill with an urgency clause, “so if it gets passed it will become law as soon as signed.” AB 1943: Manufactured Housing: Foundation Systems: Installation: Common Interest, specifies that written evidence that the manufactured home, mobile home or commercial modular owner owns a separate interest in common interest development would be deemed to comply with this requirement.” This bill passed the Housing & Community Development Committee unanimously.
Welk Resorts along I-15, has a similar problem. The way such parks are set up lots are not designated as lots, but as a percentage of the total. This makes it hard to get loans because banks want land as collateral. “We want a uniform way of looking at this cost,” says Waldron.
“Even though we are in the minority we can be effective. Bills have been signed into law. We work on a lot of different things. Legal issues. Issues of water,” she says.
The legislature will adjourn July 6 and go back into session August 6. “We’re in for four weeks for continuous floor sessions that must get out by August 30,” she says.
As minority floor leader, Waldron is the second ranked Republican assembly member. There are 25 Republicans out of 80 members. The Democrats are missing three vacancies with one on leave. Since a two-thirds majority is needed to pass finance measures, they need one Republican vote to pass taxes.
Waldron’s constituents tell her they are concerned about the high cost of living. “Lots are leaving because of regulations and taxes. We are always ranked as one of the highest cost states if not the highest to live in and do business in.” She voted against the car tax increase and anticipates seeing the repeal on the November ballot.
“Our hard-working families are the ones suffering the most,” she says. “While the state boasts the fifth largest economy in the world, we have some of the highest poverty levels. Ordinary Californians can’t afford California. We have a sky-high cost of living, a housing crisis and the highest poverty rate in the nation,” she says.
A bill she has vowed to oppose would tax vehicles for how many miles they travel. “Rural areas will be charged more because they have to drive more,” she says.
Her bill AB 1983: School Safety, “requires school districts to consult with law enforcement when they renew safety plans,” she says. “We are asking they bring in police to do a perimeter check, and an active campus map, so that they know where the gym is, where the office is, etc.”
This bill has passed the Education Committee. “It asks law enforcement to do a threat assessment. See if it’s secure or can someone walk onto a campus? Look at students coming and going. Look at visibility. Do they have cameras? What technology is available for schools? Let law enforcement create a relationship with schools to prevent threats,” she says.
She adds, “We’re always working to make California more affordable, so our working families can actually achieve the American dream, by cutting regulations, cutting costs, creating opportunities for young people to get involved with career tech education. That has gone by the wayside, but a lot of kids are interested in things besides college education. We have had bipartisan bills to access funding for career technology. That’s something we are always advocating.”
AB 1111, which she co-wrote with Democrat Eduardo Garcia, and which has been signed in law, created a grant program to help persons with multiple employment barriers get remedial education. “We are advocating $25 million to kick that off so we can offer career tech opportunities,” she says. “It’s great having bipartisan work. I’ve developed positive relationships with members on both sides of the aisles and that gets things done. We do joint press conferences and joint hearings. It’s all part of working together on issues.”
As second ranking GOP member she has a strong voice in messaging and how the party leverages its votes on the floor. She works with the Democratic floor team to facilitate that agenda on behalf of her caucus. But she also stands to object to motions her caucus opposes. She feels that by working with the majority floor team, “we are able to work much more efficiently than in the past.”
She serves on six standing committees, such as health, governmental organization, local government, and about 20 select committees on subjects such as sexual harassment and universal health care. “The governmental organization committee is very important for our district because it deals with tribal government and compacts, alcohol, tobacco , horse racing and emergency services,” she says.
She is vice chairman of the local government committee. “Which is great because it’s like being on the city council again,” she says.
She sits on the rules committee that refers all the bills to standing committees. “As floor leader it’s important to see these things well before they come to the floor.
In short, she is a busy legislator. “I like to be busy. I love to read the bills, understand the issues and be part of the negotiations and the decisions.”
Another Waldron bill that has become law is AB 1447, Traffic Synchronization, that would allow some funds in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to be used for traffic light synchronization. When people don’t have to stop so much at intersections they use less fuel and get to work faster, she says.
Other issues she feels are important and will be working on bills to address include traffic congestion, economy and housing, water, including the proposed water tax and the proposed tax on services.
When she is back at home she still works with her husband, Steve in their business. “Which keeps me sane and in touch with my district and what people have to go through in business and to balance home life and work life.”
Just a couple more issues that Assemblywoman Waldron feels are important going forward. Some of these may have been covered during the interview.
Waldron and her Democratic challenger Alan Geraci are the only ones on the ballot, which means that both are assured of surviving the primary to face each other in November.

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