We’re in the last month of a two-year legislative session. During August, we’ll be voting on approximately 1,200 bills, over 500 in the Assembly and about 700 in the Senate.
These include my AB 2768, which addresses the critical shortage of psychiatric beds by leading to the development of a real-time, internet-based app providing information on available beds/facilities to serve mentally ill patients in emergency rooms and in ambulance transport. With 31 counties reporting a shortage of behavioral healthcare workers, I joined Senator Scott Weiner as co-author of SB 964 to deal with the shortage through increased funding and enhanced UC degree programs.
Other bills I support include AB 2617 that encourages more dual enrollment programs for high school students, increasing graduation rates and reducing costs for students. I also support AB 2705 requiring more robust wildfire protection for future master planned communities without undermining current projects or housing construction. Another bill, SB 717 will identify hurdles to broadband access, and reduce regulatory and permitting barriers preventing wireless services from expansion or upgrades.
Problematic bills include SB 1105 establishing a San Diego County housing agency which would be able to raise taxes/fees without voter approval. And SB 1044 identified as a “Job Killer” by CalChamber, allows employees to walk off their jobs simply by alleging they feel unsafe. The bill overrides multiple state and federal laws/protections that already mandate safe workplaces, and subjects employers to lawsuits if they replace absent workers.
Finally, despite bi-partisan efforts by the Problem Solvers Caucus, there will be no suspension of the gas tax and don’t expect any rebate for California seniors who rely solely on their Social Security benefits to survive these out-of-control inflationary times.
Critical issues like these often fly under the public’s radar. For better or worse, there is much more work to do before session ends August 31.
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R – Valley Center, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.